In the old study (now more a storage slot) in my parents house are a collection of boxes filled with our memories. Some contain old childhood toys, others well read books, some even have once important documents, but the majority contain pictures. Hundreds and thousands of pictures in albums, or some still in the packets they came after they were processed.
These photos are like hundreds of micro windows into our old lives and different moments in time. Our birthdays and celebration, our trips and expeditions and even some of our losses and sadness. Some contain so much detail that no number of words would be able to express the emotions and feelings of that time, but a photo can come close. Yet despite this catalog of memories, we now have even more held on our computers and in the cloud due to the digital camera revolution. Many of these digital photos would never have been taken if we still relied on film.
The Way We Tell Stories Has Changed
How we tell stories and remember events have been completely changed since the social media revolution and changes in photography thanks to digital photos and smartphones. We used to show a slideshow to select groups, contain only posed photos of impressive events or places, now we can grab a snapshot of day to day life and share it round the world with people we’ve never met.
Although this revolution has been incredible for the individual, who wants to show a picture of their child growing up, or the traveler who wants to show the incredible food they discovered in a small cafe in downtown Prague, it is also incredible for organisations. And Instagram is the latest tool for this purpose.
Instagram, More than Just Selfies
Instagram is a photo (and now film) focused platform, until recently it has no ads whatsoever nor did it fall prey to the typical dramatic news or arguments on other networks. Instead it was more creative, artistic and fun! This is still true today and so it can be a great tool for your church (and church members) to use to help achieve the churches goals be that:
- Growing disciples
- Deepening in our faiths
- Connecting with other local Christians
- and even evangelizing with those who don’t know Christ yet.
The nature of Instagram makes it harder than some other networks but it is still a great tool and one that your whole church can get involved with.
That’s why I wrote 30 Days of Instagram for Churches. I wanted to help churches use this platform, which is really starting to take off, more effectively to achieve their goals.
I love the creativity and community that can spring up from using this platform and also how fun it is to use and I want to share and spread that with other groups. In the book I divided it into three sections
- Beginner: The basic controls and interface within the app as well as how to set up.
- Intermediate: How to get more from the app and start building a church strategy
- Advance: Pro tips on using the app as well as strategy and activities for your church to use on Instagram.
- As well as an introduction and appendix for some extra features.
If you have never used the app before (and don’t really like smartphones) then by the end of the beginners chapter you’ll be competent and confident with the app (There may even be a few features and tips that surprise pro users here.) In the intermediate section you’ll brush up on your techniques and start preparing your strategy for your church. This will give you a goal and method to assess your use of the app as well as a few cool tricks. By the advance section you’ll have a strategy prepared for your church and a list of activities and actions you can do on not just your Instagram account but also linked in with other social networks to make the ripples of your actions spread further.
I know that this will be a great resource for some churches and I hope to continue sharing further tips and ideas that arise. I’m also sure that once your church gets active on Instagram you’ll be able to share with me some of the great ideas that you’ve put into practice too. So feel free to follow me on Instagram @chrisjwilson or Twitter @mrchrisjwilson and we’ll continue to learn together.