10 Influential Church Leaders To Follow on Social Media

Let’s take a brief look at a few of the most influential platforms and the leaders who are using them.

Written by Justin Heap /
August 27, 2016

Social Media —in all it’s forms— continues to be a prolific part of our digitally connected lives. For Church Leaders, the ever growing stream that is social media continues to inform, inspire, and connect us all. However, finding the most influential voices within the vast array of updates, tweets, and snaps can be a challenge!

Indeed, the platforms we use to read and send information and media are often changing as quickly as technology itself. On top of this, not all leaders use each app equally. Let’s take a brief look at a few of the most influential platforms and the leaders who are using them.

A Quick Look At Our Social Media Platforms

Now, I’m choosing to not use Facebook links below, since every Leader or Church will be using Facebook, already, but it’s safe to say that we all understand the power of Facebook. It is still an integral part of the Social Media landscape —with 1.65 billion monthly active users.  Likewise, most of us have accepted Instagram’s place on our home screens. Consider that IG had 30 million users at the time of purchase by Facebook in 2012 and today, you and I help make up the now 400 million+ active users! It is estimated that a full third of all Internet users are active on Instagram.* My conversations with many church leaders causes me to believe that not everyone is as convinced about Twitter. However, with more than 500 million tweets sent each day and Twitter’s brand new Moments feature continuing to gain momentum, Twitter is an established vehicle of real-time news and information —and it’s not going away anytime soon.
Bonus. Snapchat is the (not-so)new kid on the scene. It is likely that you are not snapping…yet. Because if the church continues to invest in “Stories,” (one of Snapchat’s only “experiences” is a feature called Stories) and have dialog with Millennials, Snapchat should be on your radar (more than a third of US Millennials are snapping on a regular basis).
To clarify, we’re not looking at “ten influential leaders, period,” but instead I want to share ten influential folks who are using Social Media in an influential way. Let’s jump in!

10. Check out Vous Church & Hillsong NYC on Snapchat

Find them by searching @vouschurch and @hillsongnyc
I am including a couple of church-snapping pioneers because they are a great example of how to use Snapchat within the wider context of church ministry. So hey, if you’re feeling energetic —download the app and add these folks straight away!

9. Brenda Salter McNeil, Twitter

Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil lives in Seattle and is quickly becoming a sought-after voice at conferences and engagements as she gives voice to the truth of reconciliation. Her Twitter account is updated often and tied to both her Facebook and Buffer accounts. This means you can count on her feed providing solid content with great links. Though you may not see a ton of replies, it is evident she’s using her feed as an outlet for movement and great dialog. Follow along and join her this Fall at Catalyst Atlanta!

8. Carl Lentz, Instagram

Hillsong NYC is making more than a few waves out east, and their lead Pastor Carl Lentz is very much a part of it. His Instagram account has 319k followers with more 1,300 posts —with many pictures offering a heartwarming, personal, and fun journey around NYC. What I love about Carl’s IG feed is that it is not overloaded with quotes or marketing-based asks. Instead, he is a leader, and he’s sharing observations about life, love, church, and city.

7. Jo Saxton, Twitter

I once had the privilege of hosting Jo on a Weekend where I served as the Creative Director —she introduced herself by laughing at how she had parked: I knew it was going to be a great weekend. Saxton is a straight-forward, big story sort of communicator; she has travelled the conference circuit and is currently doing a phenomenal job with a new podcast, “Lead Stories: tales of leadership and life,” which she co-hosts with her friend, Steph Williams. You will want to tune in to her podcast and check out her Twitter feed for the same reason: she holds nothing back! She’s as honest as she is motivational —having an uncanny ability to recognize and draw out the purpose within a community or a person, she has stories for days that you’ll just want to eat up.

6. John Mark Comer, Instagram

John Mark Comer, Pastor of Bridgetown in Portland is a powerful communicator and, apparently, has an eye for great photography. His Instagram feed is a balanced approach of fantastic Bridgetown-related media and micro-blog style posts. Youll quickly fall in love with most everything that Comer decides to share via Instagram because it challenges us to either think better (information) or live better (inspiration). He doesn’t post every single day, so you won’t be inundated with content, but you will likely find yourself double tapping most every update.

5. Alan Hirsch, Twitter

If you’ve had the joy of interacting with or hearing Alan Hirsch speak, then you know his mind operates on a whole other level! He’s not a rookie to creative thought, difficult questions, or imaginative strategery —yes, strategery. As an author and speaker, his influence may precede him, but it never seems to stop him from capturing an audience with new language such as, “Apostolic Genius,” or a new telling of an old story. Hirsch’s updates online are rich, intriguing, and engaging.

4. Jen Hatmaker, Instagram

Yes, that Jen Hatmaker. Well clear of 200k followers, Jen’s Instagram account is all about that behind-the-scenes, “ordinary” vibe —and this is exactly what is so often underrated in the world of local church ministry. Jen Hatmaker puts that “we could all be super great friends” filter on every photo; her vulnerability to share life with others is what makes her an influential speaker as well as a great Insta-Follow. For example, how else would you know that she absolutely cannot deal with David Sedaris’ talent:

3. Louie Giglio, Twitter

He could very well be the voice of Millennials across our nation —at least any one of the thousands upon thousands who have attended a Passion Conference at least once in their life. Giglio is a Pastor, Speaker, and Author who has been relentless about his desire to make God famous among young adults in our country and world. Now, with more than 550k followers on Twitter, you may not get a reply, but you will very much get some incredible content a few times a week. Louie is great at providing the occasional sneak peek into all things Passion City, Music, or Conference. Louie’s steady rise into a place of humble leadership is such a joy to watch —or at least follow along at a digital distance.

2. Christine Caine, Instagram

A leader in many current conversations today, Caine is the dynamic voice behind her 2016 book “Unashamed: Drop the Baggage, Pick up Your Freedom, Fulfill Your Destiny” as well as the organization Propel Women. Her influence extends into the evangelical, academic, and broader international worlds. Quite simply, you will want to stay tuned to her Instagram Feed to be encouraged by her words and drawn into her shared life. Like her teachings, her posts are charismatic but not sensationalistic —they are meaningful, truthful, and timely.

1. Erwin McManus, Twitter

A futurist, artist, speaker, and author —but you get the impression that Erwin McManus may very well be at the beginning of his best days, yet. His speaking schedule alone has landed him in more than 60 countries. I, personally have seen him at nearly a dozen conferences I’ve attended in the last decade. He’s authored ten books, planted a church, and tweets often about his family —it is clear that his influence is finding favor with God and his neighbors both near and far. And yes, his Twitter updates cover just as many topics and interests as you’d imagine for such a diverse and artisan soul as McManus.

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