NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Churches are turning increasingly to social networking tools as ministry aids and Facebook is by far the most popular tool, according to a new study by LifeWay Research.
The survey of 1,003 Protestant congregations was conducted in September and sponsored by LifeWay's Digital Church partner, Fellowship Technologies. It found that 47 percent of churches actively use Facebook.
The second most popular way of networking is through the tools included in church management software packages, actively used by 20 percent of congregations. Three percent use MySpace, 2 percent a church-specific package like Cobblestone, Unifyer, or The City, and 1 percent use Ning.
However, a full 40 percent of churches do not use any social network
"Churches are natural places of interaction," LifeWay Research Director Scott McConnell said. "Congregations are rapidly adopting social networking, not only to speed their own communication, but also to interact with people outside their church."
Large churches use Facebook far more than small ones. Eighty-one percent of congregations with 500 or more in average worship attendance use Facebook, compared to 27 percent of churches with one to 49 attendees. Forty-three percent of churches with 50 to 99 attendees use Facebook, as do 46 percent of churches with 100 to 199 attendees and 56 percent of churches with 200 to 499 attendees.
Large-city and suburban churches are more likely than their small-city and rural counterparts to use Facebook. While 57 percent of suburban and 54 percent of large-city churches use it, only 46 percent of small-city congregations and 39 percent of rural churches are on Facebook.
Among churches that utilize social networking tools, 73 percent use them for interacting with the congregation, 70 percent ... Read More