Imagine if you had access to the world's largest bulletin board—a place where you could exchange ideas and images from around the globe. That's one of the major benefits of the increasingly popular website, Pinterest.
Unlike sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which tend to be driven by words, Pinterest is propelled primarily through visuals. The site is the equivalent of a giant bulletin board allowing users to pin their favorite thoughts, ideas, photos, and images. Once "pinned" (the equivalent of "posted"), any user can re-pin the image, like it, or comment on the pinned item.
Pinterest is estimated to be the third most popular social network, behind only Facebook and Twitter. Though the company is hesitant to release exact numbers, the site attracted about 19 million monthly users in April, according to The New York Times. Not only is the user base growing at an exponential rate, but the length of time users remain on the site is impressive. While the average user spends less than twelve minutes on Twitter and eight minutes on LinkedIn, they spend more than sixteen minutes—or 25 percent more time—on Pinterest.
This enormous bulletin board creates an opportunity for churches to up the ante of their quality of visuals used in their congregations, as well as exchange ideas for projects such as VBS, sermon series, Sunday school classes, and more. Like many other social media sites, users can use keywords and hash tags in the descriptions and link to another webpages—including your church's.
Here are eight ways your ministry can utilize Pinterest starting today:
- Reminding your congregation of upcoming events. In addition to church bulletins, websites, and e-newsletters, churches are using Pinterest to provide visual reminders of upcoming sermon series, activities, and events in the local church. Use Pinterest to pin sermon podcasts or a pastor's latest blog entry.
- Championing stories in your community. Did your church just complete an outreach project or volunteer day? Did the youth group return from its missions trip? Has your church developed a vibrant network of small groups? Champion the stories of what God is doing in your community by sharing photos through Pinterest.
- Developing fresh themes for church events. Churches are using Pinterest to develop new themes and decoration ideas for events and activities from church wide retreats to fall festivals to VBS. Search under "DIY" and "craft" to create a board for Sunday school activities. One church outside of Denver, Colorado, is using Pinterest to design its volunteer appreciation dinner as a luau-themed barbecue.
- Fundraising. One Pinterest-inspired small group of DIY'ers in Texas created handmade items to sell at the church's annual mission fundraising event. To date, the group has created more than two dozen items, ranging from monogrammed canvas to tile drink coasters made with paint chips.
- Archiving worship songs. Worship teams are using Pinterest to pin songs and YouTube videos that they want to learn and practice.
- Recommending resources to members. Pinterest can be used by pastors and staff to "pin" recommended resources and activities for church members. Share books, music, and websites you want your church to know about, read, and explore. These pages can be used to provide a list of overall staff recommendations. Pastors and staff can set up boards for individual ministries, too, such as "Men's Ministry," "Women's Ministry," and "Small Groups Ministry."
- Sharing quotables. Inspire your congregation throughout the week with a "Notable & Quotable" board that offers reflections, quotes, and other visually inspiring images. These can be tied into the church's mission, vision, or current sermon series.
- Staying in touch. Whether your church supports a handful of organizations or dozens of missionaries, create a board to keep your people updated on what's going on in their lives. Your organizations and missionaries will appreciate the extra care and you may just find the extra awareness turns into extra prayer.
One of the greatest opportunities of Pinterest is involving men and women who naturally love the site and want to be responsible for updating and pinning on the page. Grab your church's name on Pinterest today and begin creating a board to interact with your congregation.
How does your church or ministry use Pinterest?
Editor's Note: Whether it's Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, or other social media, some basic legal and risk management practices are needed for church leaders. Check out Using Social Media Safely to get started.
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