Churches Fail the Twitter Test

Mickey Mellen, a freelance web developer who works with small businesses, churches and individuals to help them further their reach on the Internet, recently wrote about a Twitter experiment he conducted.  The article, “Churches Aren’t Paying Attention on Twitter“, appears on and should be considered a “must read” for any church already on Twitter and those considering expanding their social media strategy to include Twitter.

The Experiment

Reach out to 25 churches that seemingly want to engage via Twitter (determined by having a link to their Twitter account on their home page) on Tuesday morning with the following tweet:

@ChurchName What is the sermon going to be about this week?

and wait for responses

The Results

Only 3 churches (12%) replied

So What?

Interestingly, Mellen conducted a similar experiment a few weeks earlier in which he reached out to 11 churches that met the same criteria and received only 1 response (9%).

Evaluate Your Church

  • Does your church have a Twitter account?  If so, is it featured on your home page?
  • Who oversees the account? Does this person or team watch for mentions and reply to them in a timely manner?
  • Could having a Twitter account and using it only to pass along information (never interacting) be worse for your church’s overall image than having no account at all?


  1. David Goss says:

    A sermon is not to be compared with a lecture or teaching session that can be scheduled in advance.
    Although it will normally relate to the readings set in the lectionary, or else to the theological truth celebrated in the feast of the day, its purpose is to show how these speak to the issues of the moment and to draw all into the flow of the liturgy.
    The issues of the moment may develop considerably from Tuesday to Sunday which may explain why some churches would have difficulty on Tuesday in saying what the sermon will be about the following Sunday.

  2. David, I appreciate your response. Interestingly, his early research yielded a similar response rate despite asking something anyone should know in advance: @ChurchName What time are your services this Sunday? The 12% and 9% rates are reflective of those who responded (no matter how long they took to do so). Clearly you do understand Twitter as an interactive tool, which is why I have benefitted from the posts you have made on this topic today.

  3. David — That was certainly a concern of mine. I didn’t want to repeat the same question from the first test, but I wanted something fairly easy. In most churches that I’ve been a part of, they generally have a sermon title in place a week or so ahead of time, though it can change on Sunday morning if the need arises.

    I really just wanted something that was easy to answer in a tweet. As a parent, my REAL question to a potential church would involve nursery and/or child care, but that can get wordy to discuss in 140 characters.

    If nothing else, they should at least acknowledge a potential visitor with some kind of response.

    However, like Greg said, the numbers add up — most churches just aren’t listening on Twitter.


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