O relatório chamado de ‘The Rise of the Pastor’ foi divulgado pelo Grupo Barna recentemente. Foi revelado que 23% dos pastores são usuários do Twitter, um aumento de 77% quando comparado a 2011. Já com o Facebook, são 66% frente aos 59% dos dados anteriores coletados.

A pesquisa também mostrou que muitos líderes religiosos e igrejas são resistentes aos meios de comunicação social ou os utilizam de maneira que não seja perceptível o seu potencial. O Twitter muitas vezes é utilizado apenas para transmitir anúncios. Apenas 6% dos pastores usaram as ferramentas de mídia social para que seus membros contribuíssem com perguntas sobre as pregações.

Uma em cada cinco igrejas utiliza o Twitter, o que representa 21%, e 70% usam o Facebook. As igrejas superiores a 250 membros são mais propensas a terem o seu perfil no Twitter, enquanto no Facebook essa estatística chega a 83%.

Os pastores jovens são predominantes na lista de líderes evangélicos nas plataformas de mídia social. Trinta e nove por cento dos pastores tem a faixa etária de 29 a 47 anos, enquanto apenas 6% tem idade superior a 67 anos. No Facebook, o número de pastores mais novos conectados chega a 86% nas idades de 27 a 47.

No Brasil ainda não foi realizada nenhuma pesquisa nesse segmento, embora possa se observar o crescimento nas mídias sociais. O pastor de jovens da Igreja Batista da Lagoinha (IBL), Lucinho Barreto, possui atualmente 230 mil seguidores. A IBL, no entanto, não possui conta na rede social, apenas no Twitter, onde suas atualizações são acompanhadas por 126 mil pessoas.

Fonte: The ChristianPost

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A new Barna study shows that, in the last two years, there has been a significant leap in the number of pastors and churches engaging social media. More than one in five American pastors (21%) say their churches use Twitter, up from only 14% in 2011. Facebook usage in churches has likewise jumped from just over half (57%) to a full seven in 10. Pastors themselves are also engaged in online communication, with nearly one-quarter (23%) who use Twitter, well over six in 10 (66%) who are on Facebook, and over one in five (22%) who have a personal blog.

Tweets Everywhere
Twitter is becoming more pervasive. Tweeters use it to follow news, stay connected with friends and followers, react to live events, keep tabs on celebrities and participate in national conversations. Church leaders are no exception, and are using Twitter increasingly as a ministry tool. While both Twitter and Facebook gained church-based users in the last 24 months, Twitter’s growth has been more impressive: Facebook increased penetration among pastors 12% in the last year, while Twitter jumped by 77%.

About one-quarter of pastors are now on Twitter. Pastors of larger, more economically well-off churches are among the highest-using segments. More than one-third of pastors of churches with more than 250 people in attendance on average (34%) say they use Twitter, and a similar number of pastors in churches with an annual budget of more than $500,000 (35%) say they use Twitter. Age is also a major factor in Twitter usage among pastors. Nearly two in five pastors aged 29-47 (39%) say they use Twitter, compared to just 6% of pastors 67 or older.

Overall, just over one in five churches (21%) use Twitter. Larger churches—those with an average attendance of more than 250 people—use Twitter the most; nearly one half of those churches (44%) report using Twitter. And churches that have an annual budget of over $500,000 are even more likely to tweet—nearly half of them (46%) have Twitter accounts.

Those numbers are significant jumps over the results of a 2011 survey, when only 14% of churches and 13% of pastors say they used Twitter. The only group that hasn’t changed much in the last few years is churches with budgets over $500,000. In 2011, nearly two in five churches (39%) reported using Twitter, compared to 46% two years later. Apparently, large churches were well ahead of their peers in terms of using the micro-blogging service. Looking at the overall pattern, in only two years Twitter has gone from a narrowly used resource among faith leaders to a key communication tool for many churches and pastors.

The Social Network Meets Church Ministry
Facebook has become so ubiquitous there’s even been a movie (The Social Network) made about its origins. Facebook boasts more than one billion worldwide users, with nearly 170 million members in the United States alone. And the number of church leaders among these members is rising.

In 2013, 70% of churches report they use Facebook, compared with 57% in 2011. Over four out of five mainline churches use Facebook, compared with two-thirds of non-mainline churches. Larger churches tend to use Facebook heavily (83% of churches with more than 250 people in average attendance said they use Facebook) along with wealthier churches (86%). Comparatively, just over half of churches with fewer than 100 people in average attendance (56%) say they use Facebook, and only half of black Protestant churches use Facebook.

About two-thirds of pastors (66%) say they use Facebook in their role as a pastor. Among pastors, the most striking difference in Facebook usage is by age group: Nearly nine out of 10 of Buster (ages 27-47) pastors (86%) say they use Facebook, compared to just over one-third of pastors over the age of 65 (37%). Again, pastors of wealthier, larger churches tended to use Facebook more, though with less significant of a divide than exists among the same groups’ Twitter usage.

Future Impact of Social Media
Beyond the adoption rates of these technologies, what is the mindset of today’s pastors regarding use of social media? Their rise is compelling many churches to incorporate these digital platforms into their ministry strategy for the future. In fact, more than two-thirds of pastors (65%) say they think social media will be a significant part of their ministry over the next two years alone. Comparatively, about one-third of Protestant pastors say they think social media is overrated and not necessary to their ministry.

Attitudes toward social media’s importance correlate to age. While more than seven in 10 of pastors ages 28-47 (72%) say they believe social media will be a significant component of their church’s ministry, just four in 10 pastors over the age of 66 think the same. In fact, a majority of pastors over the age of 66 (52%) believe social media is mostly overrated and won’t be that important to their churches over the next few years.

More than three-quarters of pastors of large churches (77%) say they think social media will comprise a significant part of their ministry over the next two years, and about that percentage of pastors of churches with annual budgets over $500,000 (79%) say the same. Among pastors who are currently serving in a part-time or volunteer basis, on the other hand, only 41% say they believe social media will be a major ministry priority.

This attitude has shifted over the last two years. In 2011, only about half of pastors (51%) said social media would be a major part of their church’s ministry. That means there has been a 27% increase in the percentage of pastors who believe social media tools are important to leverage for the sake of ministry.

Still, despite more openness, many pastors seem to be missing some of the most powerful ways in which digital tools can be deployed. The vast majority of pastors (94%) say they have not asked church attenders to tweet, text or email questions for answering during a live service.

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