Yukon Pastor Turns To Social Media To Reach Congregation

Sunday, November 3rd 2013, 6:56 pm
By: News 9

For most of us, social media has grown to become a part of our daily lives; posting here and tweeting there. It's even become an important business tool. But now, there's a growing trend of folks using it for a higher purpose.

Pastor Bob Younts of the First United Methodist Church in Yukon has a lot of friends inside the walls of his church on Sundays. Those friendships follow him long after the service is over, on Facebook.

"Who liked that?" he asked, looking down at his newsfeed on his phone. "Oh, look two people liked it."

Younts said he's just changing with the times. 

"They've been changing a long time," he said. "It just seemed like a natural progression for me to start using social media more."

According to a Barna study, Bob isn't alone in his holy quest online. The study found a spike over the past two years in the number of pastors and churches who say they are using social media sites. In fact, of the churches surveyed, 70 percent said they use Facebook, compared with 57 percent in 2011.

Read more about the Barna Study.

The study showed the number of churches using twitter also increased from 14 percent in 2011 to 21 percent today.

"You can say short things that are helpful to people and meaningful to their day," he said. "I think it's a good tool for the church."

And the majority of his congregation, both young and old, has accepted his requests.

"It's good," said Rayanna Strong, a young church member. "I can see what event at church we're doing."

"Bob has a kind of energy and so when he puts things on Facebook, it's usually something that passes on that energy to people and it's just really inspirational and good," said Betty Corn, another church member.

And while nothing quite compares to those one on one status updates, Younts knows the power of prayer is felt best when shared beyond the pews on Sunday morning.

"It's contemporary. It's fresh. It's changing. It's fast," Younts said. "If people will, they can take a message I send out to now over 600 friends and they can share it with their 500 or 600 friends and it just multiplies and grows faster than any other media I know."

Younts said he is careful when it comes to children in his church and only accepts friendships if they request it.