by Aaron Earls
Churches can encourage parents and families during Sunday services, but church leaders should also look to meet parents where they are. Today, that’s on social media.
According to new research from Pew, 75 percent of parents use social media and most turn to it for parenting information and support.
Whether it’s a mom celebrating with friends who just found out they are pregnant or a dad looking for ways to connect with his teenage son, a parent’s time spent on social media is often related to parenting.
Parents use social media networks to respond to good news (81 percent), get useful information (79 percent), and get support from friends (74 percent).
Mothers dominate Facebook. A full 81 percent of mothers use the social media network, compared to 66 percent of fathers. Moms are also more frequent users of Pinterest (40 percent) and Instagram (30 percent).
Dads are more likely to be on LinkedIn (32 percent) and Twitter (27 percent).
Parents are more likely than non-parents to check Facebook daily—75 to 67 percent. They also regularly check LinkedIn and Pinterest more. Non-parents are much more likely to check Instagram daily.
Less than half (42 percent) say they have received social or emotional support from their online networks about a parenting issue in the same time period.
How can churches encourage parents as they scan their Facebook feeds and Twitter timelines?
Be on social media.
You won’t influence them if you aren’t there. Your church needs to have social media accounts where you share information about the church, but also encourage continued community.
Make your Facebook page a place where parents can come and ask questions. Retweet parenting successes of your members.
Write parenting posts.
Whether it’s the children’s pastor or lead pastor, someone on your church staff can write blog posts or Facebook updates on Christian parenting.
Even simple tips about teaching kids theology or ways to reinforce the sermon at home could be beneficial to those wanting to be a godly parent.
Share what others are saying.
Even if none of the staff members at your church feel comfortable writing about parenting, you can always share what encourages you.
If you see a helpful post from another pastor or ministry, tweet out a link or share it on your Facebook page. Not only does that help parents directly, it demonstrates the kingdom of God is larger than just one church body.
Recommend helpful resources.
Use the church’s social media account to point out materials that can help parents make the best choices in raising their children.
How does your church connect with parents online? What have you found that works well in encouraging parents through social media?
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.