Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform, with over 1 billion users, half of them using it daily. It’s a powerful way for churches to engage with their community. Churches can share announcements, community and services updates, events, and snapshots of church life to large audiences from a single phone!
All this is great because it helps further the gospel to an audience that may not know Jesus, but there is more to Instagram than sharing excellent content and creating engaging stories. For example, churches can take prayer requests through the platform.
Here are four reasons why you should start inviting your followers to submit prayer requests on Instagram.
1. You may get requests from people from your own church who wouldn’t share them otherwise
By inviting your followers to send you prayer requests through direct messaging, for example, you make it easy for your audience to reach out to you for help and prayers on certain issues that they may otherwise feel too ashamed or self-conscious to share publicly. Be sure to make it clear that any prayer requests can remain anonymous if needed!
2. It strengthens your connection with your followers
Through Instagram posts, members of your church can get to know you and your church better, beyond the limits of your weekly services and activities. By accepting prayer requests, you make it possible for your church members to reach you even outside ‘church hours.’ It makes sure that they know they are heard. Be sure to reply and reassure the people who send in prayer requests that their concern/petition has been well received and prayed for. If you have a business Instagram account, you can even set up an automatic response, but, again, make sure to always have someone confirming receipt of the request.
3. Outsiders feel included
By sharing interactive and engaging content and by following Instagram accounts from local shops and establishments within your community, you can reach people beyond your church. This means that you can reach a number of people who may not be active church members or who haven’t even set foot inside your church. By engaging with their content and getting involved through likes and even comments, they may feel more confident to actually send a prayer request in their time of need.
4. It gets the community involved
The Instagram Stories feature is a great way to share content that will disappear after 24 hours. Pick a day each week to invite your followers to send their prayer requests and plan to engage with them through more in-depth conversations if needed. You could even use Stories to share incoming prayer requests (provided, of course, that the sender has explicitly mentioned that they agreed to their request to be made public) asking your followers to join together and pray with you too. This is putting the Word into practice by encouraging your followers to pray for one another!
Allowing your Instagram followers to submit prayer requests into your DM may be a daunting idea, but rest assured that it will mean the world to someone who may feel more comfortable reaching out to you this way. And even if you do not get much response initially, once you start using Instagram regularly for this specific purpose, you will see yourself making an impact!
© Joshua Brown 2019, all rights reserved