Elsewhere in this issue of UPDATE, mention has been made about the request for someone to take over as Church Secretary and for someone to take over responsibility for the Church Website. Both of these areas have developed over the years. When I arrived here in 1989, the newsletter was printed on a Gestetner – remember them? The Church roll was updated manually using index cards. Websites were not very common and certainly not to the extent they are now.
Nowadays, the church roll is updated fairly easily using Excel software and the Church website, developed by Allan Gibson with help from Richard Lee-Smith, is now accessible to members and people across the world. Members can now access the Newsletter through the website and the newsletter is sent out to a number of people via email. Over 95% of the members of the Board and Session receive the Minutes of meetings by email, cutting down the cost of paper.
Friends who know me well, are very aware that I cannot be called a technological wizard – in fact it takes our grandson to set up the X-Box for Grandpa when he (Alexander!) wants to watch a DVD of Fireman Sam on Monday afternoons! However, at the present time, the Church Facebook page is updated regularly by me (which will come as a BIG surprise to my friends!).
Although I am still on a learning curve, I can now upload photos and publish information on upcoming events on the Facebook page. Each week, Facebook send me an email telling me how the Facebook page has performed in the previous week. Some of these make for interesting reading. There are a few surprises, too.
During one week in July, the “total reach” was 639 people – an increase of 1,083% on the previous week. The number of “people engaged” was 50, an increase of 733.3% on the previous week. The total “page likes” remains at 73.
To me, these first two figures are quite spectacular. However, who these 639 people who were “reached” and who these 50 people “engaged” are, and where they are, I have no idea! Certainly some of the notifications which come through the Facebook pages indicate that some of these are overseas, and some of the names which appear are names I do not recognise, but are people who have “liked” our page.
There is obviously great interest out there. I was reflecting on what Sundays would be like if these figures were replicated – even a 733% increase would mean an overflowing church on a Sunday morning – a 1,083% would mean overflowing and standing room only inside and outside the church! OK, let’s get realistic! But reflect on this – even a 50% increase on a Sunday would make a great difference – and 100% (which means everyone who comes to worship bringing just one friend) would result in the church being almost full, and maybe even standing room only.
Realistic? I would like to think so.