Moments: When a Facebook Ad Connected

Moments: When a Facebook Ad Connected

December 17, 2018 by

As we approach the end of the year, a lot of communicators are tired. We’re feeling a little worn out as we get to the end of the long slog of Christmas communication, and we need a break before we dive into the new year. So we wanted to take a breather and offer something. Not more tips or ideas or downloads, but simple moments when church communication is truly about delivering the greatest story in the world.

Working With Facebook Ads

A small team at my church has been experimenting with advertising on Facebook. We aren’t just boosting an interesting post or event; we are creating ads specifically to promote our church brand. My manager’s background is in graphic design. Mine is in writing and editing. So, in addition to learning about the ins and out of Facebook and Google Analytics, we are having to learn some of the basics of the business side of marking: A/B testing, cost-per-click, campaigns, ad sets—and a whole host of other terms I never imagined I’d have to care about.

I have never felt less connected to what feels to me to be the work of the church.

It’s been an interesting but frustrating process. So frustrating that I actually have (written down in my HR files) a professional goal this this year to be able to create a Facebook ad set without swearing, crying, or flipping over my desk. On top of the intellectual frustration constantly working on the edge of my understanding, there is a—I guess spiritual is the best word for it—frustration. I have never felt less connected to what feels to me to be the work of the church. I feel like I am sending words and images (not to mention my time and the churches money) into the ether where they just add to the noise.

At least I did.

The Response

One Friday night while we were running a week-long A/B test of which image went best with the best message we had refined and tested, I got a notification on my phone. A woman had responded to our ad. She hadn’t gone to our fancy, carefully tested landing page. She’d sent a Facebook message: “I’m going in for surgery tomorrow. I’m scared.”

I was floored. It was the last thing I was expecting. I messaged back that she was not alone, and that we would prayer for her. I expected that to be the end of it. But it wasn’t. She messaged, telling me about her pain and her fear, but also her hope that maybe this would
finally fix things. We messaged back and forth a few more times. In between messages I checked out her Facebook profile, trying to see if she was local (she was) and if she was a member (not that I could tell).

I finally asked her if she wanted someone to visit her. She said yes. So I called our after-hours line and left a message for the on-call lay minister. We chatted and arranged a post-surgery visit. Last I heard, the lay ministry team had visited her a couple of times, both in the hospital and in the rehab facility, and were helping arrange for in-home care for her return home. I found out she wasn’t a member. But that didn’t change the care she received from our care team.

The Spirit Uses Us as We Are

She might become a member because of our reaction to her response to our ad. She might talk us up and get some other folks to visit us. But there is no spot to measure or record either of those in our analytics. It doesn’t matter. I now know (usually … sometimes …) the Spirit uses us as we are, where we are, with whatever tools we have. Even if those tools frustrate us.


Take a moment at the end of the year to reflect on what God is doing in your church. And if you’re still feeling overwhelmed and tired, check out You’ve Got This: A Pep Talk for Church Communicators by Kelley Hartnett.

Post By:

Beth Beaty

Beth Beaty is a communication specialist for Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, Minn. She worked in cooperate communications for nearly 20 years while being active in church leadership as a volunteer before merging her passions five years ago.
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One Response to “Moments: When a Facebook Ad Connected”

  • Paul Steinbrueck
    December 18, 2018

    Cool story, Beth! Thanks for sharing it. While not everything spiritual is measurable, maybe it would be good to have a metric for engagement, FB messages, or stories.

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