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The 2018 announcement by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg that the giant social network wanted to put more focus on “meaningful interactions” has implications for churches that rely on their page for digital evangelism. In this article, we explore what the Facebook News Feed changes mean for your church – and what your church can do to adjust to these changes.

While this post focuses on Facebook, the same implications hold true for Instagram. Meta is the parent company of both Instagram and Facebook.

On January 11, 2018, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook was making some changes to the algorithms that determine what shows up on your News Feed. According to the company, the changes are designed to reduce the amount of “noise” on your News Feed.

Facebook News Feed Changes - image of the announcement from Mark Zuckerberg about changes to Facebook News Feed

What all this means is that Facebook will now prioritize posts from friends and family on your News Feed. You’ll see fewer posts from businesses, publications or even pages that you  have “liked” or follow. Posts from your church fall into this category, too.

If you are like many churches, you have come to use Facebook as a primary communications tool. Now, fewer people will see your posts organically unless you make changes in your strategy and approach to Facebook.

Meaningful Interactions

Let’s revisit what Zuckerberg said was the reason for these changes. Facebook is trying to help people have authentic interactions with others when they visit the site. That’s not a bad goal.

Your church can, and should, adopt the same tone. Facebook will now place a priority on posts that have engagement – measured by comments – over posts that simply gain a lot of “likes.” Your church needs to post content on Facebook that encourages dialogue and discussion. Ask your congregation to do more than click the “like” button. They need to respond with a meaningful comment.

Here’s an example of what that type of post might look like:

Facebook News Feed Changes - An example of what Facebook means by a post with "meaningful interactions"

Again, the goal here is to get folks talking. Note that Facebook will also give priority to posts that feature rich dialogue. If people are commenting with short statements like “Great!” or “Wow!” – that’s not enough. Facebook is looking for complete sentences and developed thoughts. Your church probably is, too.

Go Live

Another strategy you can use is to try the Facebook Live feature. In the announcement of the changes, Facebook stated that live stream posts will continue to get priority. Facebook also shared some insights about live stream posts. Their data shows that live streaming videos get nearly 6 times the number of viewer interactions compared to a regular video post. Revisit Facebook’s intent for all of these changes – to encourage interaction. Live streaming videos do that organically.

This doesn’t mean your church needs to start live streaming your worship services. There are lots of simple ways you can weave live stream video into your Facebook posts:

  • The pastor can live stream a brief sermon preview an hour or so before service. These can be short and designed to encourage people to attend to hear “the rest of the story.”
  • The music minister can stream a portion of a choir rehearsal, giving your audience a preview of the anthem or call to worship for Sunday.
  • The youth minister can stream a brief idea or conversation starter families can use to discuss a Bible verse or spiritual concept during the week.

These can be short and periodic live streams you provide to keep your community engaged.

Using these strategies will not only ensure that your church Facebook page continues to have an audience, but also can lead to more vibrant and enriching dialogue to support your ministry goals.


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