Catch the Current
The Most Engaged Page on Facebook: An Interview with Mark Brown
Henry Ford didn't invent all the pieces for the car. He brought them all together. Once the pieces come together, this could be something really exciting. When it happens, it will be like the Oprah effect. However, I think the local church will be really threatened by it.
How fast has this Facebook page grown? What was the growth timeline?
I founded the page in February, 2009. It took 18 months to get to 1 million members. It took another year to get to 2 million and another 6 months to get to 3 million. Today it is 8.6 million.
How many new members in the last month?
What was the initial idea? How did you get started?
I had heard the terms "grass roots" and "viral campaigns." I wondered, "How do you do it?" There was a guy who had a Facebook page with 4,000 friends, and I was amazed at how many he had. I thought, "What if I could get 10,000?" I was amazed at this possibility. I did set an audacious goal of 1 million. But, I wasn't really serious. When it hit 1 million, I still remember the day.
What was your first scripture post on the account?
John 3:16. It should've been John 1:1.
How many people does it take to run this page? How much money?
The page, just to be clear, is now run primarily by the United Bible Society, but I am still involved. It now has 22 volunteers at any point in time with one person approving comments, and it is done in multiple languages.
What are the greatest joys you experience in manning multiple ministry Facebook pages now being read by some 30 million?
Each time someone confesses Christ and every time I read about someone finding comfort or practical help for a life issue or challenge they are facing.
What would you say to someone who wants to use technology to reach people for Christ?
People need to know that anyone can do it. Give it a go. The best way to learn is to play with it or ask a teenager. Get involved. Experiment. Don't be scared. I failed a lot along the way. Just experiment.
What are the biggest challenges you face in this effort?
Challenges? I don't see any "challenges." I just see opportunities; lots of opportunities.
Editor's Note: After the interview was conducted, Mr Brown contacted us to let us know that the Bible page at Facebook now belongs to the United Bible Society. Mr Brown still operates other pages with millions of followers.
Robert Crosby is an author and Professor of Practical Theology at Southeastern University. Read his interview with Bobby Gruenewald, the Founder of YouVersion.com (the Bible App) and related articles at Christianity Today—The New Engagers and The Social Network Gospel.
Robert Crosby is the author of the new book, The Teaming Church: Ministry in the Age of Collaboration (Abingdon Press). Crosby's column, "Catch the Current," is published every other Tuesday on the Evangelical portal. Subscribe via email or RSS.