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By Rev. Marty Levesque

Building your church's social media channels is vitally important for maintaining connections with current parishioners and helps to attract new ones.

This year-long activity can pay dividends at various times of the year. Especially when sharing special services at Christmas and Easter and other big parish events.  

Here are a few simple strategies to help build your online presence.

1) Send direct invitations from your social media channels to parishioners. Don’t wait for them to join your church’s Facebook page or group, be proactive and invite them.

2) Advertise which channels your church uses in the bulletin, on welcome screens and announcements before and after the service.

3) Make sure your website has social media links to all your channels, so it is easy to find you.

By tending to social media channels throughout the year you will be able to increase your reach to possible new parishioners. Also, it's not uncommon for church members to become inactive over time due to life circumstances such as work, school, or family commitments.

But, with social media, you can easily reach out to these individuals and invite them back to church for events or special services. By staying in touch with inactive members, you can help them feel like they're still a part of the church community and make it easier for them to return when they have more time.

Rev. Marty Levesque is the rector of All Saints’ in Waterloo. He served as diocesan social media officer.