Geraint Harries, a technology specialist, for St John the Evangelist in Lancashire, admits that when his parish first started using social media, it didn’t get it quite right.
“At first we didn’t really know what social media meant for the church and fell into the trap of simply chasing the number of likes and followers on our Facebook page,” he says.
But when a parishioner credited the Facebook page for her decision to return to the church, then he felt the strategy had started to work.
Weekly posts on the social media page of the church which simply asked “How can we pray for you today?” resonated with the woman going through a divorce last Christmas.
“Sometimes it can be daunting to turn up in person to a service so connecting online, more anonymously, can make it easier to take that first step into the building which happened here,” he adds.
Getting more people through the door is a challenge for the Church of England. Its own figures show that attendance at services has gradually fallen by between 10% and 20% from 2007 and 2017.
However, while physical attendance has been in decline, digital efforts appear to be gaining traction.