10 ways your church can use Pinterest

In January, I shared a number of lessons I’ve learned about social media from People of the Second Chance.

Ashley Smith, the group’s social-media guru mentioned how she’s found Pinterest a great way to connect with a people – especially through visuals.

If you’re unfamiliar with the site, think of it as a giant bulletin board, where users can pin their favorite ideas, images and inspiration to their virtual bulletin boards. Each pin includes a visual (still image) and a brief description. Once items are “pinned,” other users can comment on the pin, like it, or re-pin it to their own board.

The site has continued to create waves on the web as it’s grown from 1.68 million users in September of 2011, to more than 7.21 million at the start of 2012. In January it beat YouTube, Reddit, Google+, LinkedIn and MySpace for percentage of total referral traffic.

With this kind of growth, it’s quickly becoming a great avenue to reach your community.

I would definitely encourage you to find those on your team who are already Pinterest users and get them involved in leading your organization’s presence on the site. Pinterest allows multiple people to post to the same board (or category) so organizing a team of users will help with this as well.

I would also encourage you to add the Pinterest bookmarklet to your browser. With the bookmarklet, you and your team can easily post new items to your Pinterest boards while your surfing the Interwebs — without returning to the site each time you come across something worth sharing.

With that in mind, here are 10 ways your church or non-profit can use Pinterest:

  • Weekly events. Bulletins are become a thing of the past in many communities and people can easily tune out during long winded announcements – but with a little creativity, you can easily remind your community of upcoming events or an upcoming sermon series with a great visual. And as always encourage them to share that information within their own spheres of influence.
  • Staff recommended books, music, movies, recipes and more. Find out what your staff is reading, watching and eating and then share it with your community.
  • Share behind the scenes photos. Help personalize your Pinterest boards and give props to your staff by sharing photos of your staff “behind the scenes.” Maybe it’s the band warming up on Sunday morning, or a sneak peak at the team who brews the morning coffee. Whoever it is, find unique ways to highlight their hard work.
  • Highlight the local community. Find and follow folks in your local community on Pinterest and share what they’re up to. Share local events, highlight local restaurants, show-off local art and help encourage your audience to take pride in their community.
  • User submitted artwork. Encourage your community to share their own artwork based on the weekly message or current sermon series. Repin and highlight all their great work.
  • Desktop/mobile wallpapers. Use graphics from your sermon series or other community related events and create wallpapers for both desktop and mobile devices. The wallpapers can encourage your community to continue thinking on the key ideas you’ve presented each week.
  • Share videos. While Pinterest remains predominately a still-image based website, videos are slowly making their way onto the site. You can pin videos from YouTube just like any image. Use the video option for sharing promotional videos for events, or clips from weekly sermons, or even testimonials of how God is working in the midst of your community.
  • Self-improvement. How-to articles are HUGE on Pinterest. Use Pinterest to share articles your team has written on being a better husband, wife, parent, grandparent, community group leader, community volunteer, etc., etc. (the list could go on and on). Create different boards for different areas of ministry so users have the option to follow only those areas of interest. For bonus points – don’t be afraid to share articles written by other organizations or those outside your circle.
  • Words to live by. Whether folks call it “quotes,” “deep thoughts,” “challenging ideas,” or “play on words,” visuals with inspiring quotes are pretty hot on Pinterest right now. If a picture is worth a 1000 words then a picture with words on top of it must be worth… ah, nevermind. Whether you use key points from your weekly sermon, verses or favorite quotes, you can continue spreading your message with “quotes of the week.”
  • Share stories. Stories make us tick. Stories give us a way to relate to one another. Stories matter. Whether you’re sharing a video, sharing a blog post, or sharing a link to an audio podcast, always share stories that matter to your community. Continue to tell your story and the story of those in your community (no matter what network you’re on).

For added inspiration, here are several non-profits that are already putting Pinterest to great use:

Amnesty International
People of the Second Chance
NPR News
Mars Hill Church

About Jonathan D. Blundell

Jonathan Blundell is a husband, father, blogger, podcaster, author and media geek who is hoping to live a simple life and follow The Way. You can find him and links to his numerous projects at jdblundell.com or follow him on Twitter: @jdblundell or circle him on G+.