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I believe too many times in church media world, those who serve in production (whether audio, video, lighting, or stage design) have a stigma of being ‘behind the scenes introverted nerds’. And sometimes, I think we, as creatives, fuel that. Yes, it’s great to have people on our teams that are knowledgable about the technical aspects of executing a Sunday service. However, as leaders, we need to create opportunities for anyone to join our teams.
Let me give you three filters to think through when creating opportunities for people to serve.
1. Break Through the Stereotype
There is a stereotype of those who serve in production. People that are introverted, quiet, smart, engineer-type. Let me challenge you – if you are a staff member at a church, you as the leader of your team can change that culture and that stereotype. Change the way you address potential volunteers. Do you quickly look around to see if someone has experience in media world? Or do you cast vision and create opportunities for anyone to join your team? It’s only a stereotype if you let be one. Change the culture in your church. Cast vision where anyone would not be scared or intimidated to join your team.
At a church I served on staff at, we had ‘Opportunities Tours’ nearly every Sunday. Out of our Church Membership or “Ownership” Class, as we called it, we encouraged everyone at that class to attend an Opportunities Tour. This tour was scheduled for Sunday mornings and would tour nearly every ministry to see which area a volunteer would like to serve.
When the tour would come by our control room, I would talk to the group for about 2 minutes and cast vision as to the opportunities we provided on our Media Production Team. I would ask them, “raise your hand if you have accepted Christ at one of our services”. Then I would ask, “raise your hand if you’ve grown and been challenged in your walk with Christ at one of our services”. Then I would say, “That’s what we do in production – through God working in us, we create experiences where life change happens. We have all kinds of opportunities to serve – from working on gear to helping us schedule our teams, to cooking, to events, to helping us create our culture. If you want to be a part of directly seeing life change happen at our church, this is a great place to serve”. We would then give them small cards that said “Your next step is Production First Look” and listed the times and dates of our First Look sessions, with contact information on the card if they had any questions. We also gave each person that came by on the tour candy to take with them. Sometimes we had chocolate or seasonal candy, but most of the time, we purchased boxes of “Nerds” candy and jokingly told them that they didn’t have to be a ‘nerd’ to serve in Production. Cheesy, but memorable.
Break the stereotype that only nerdy or ‘behind the scenes’ people serve in production.
2. Break the Mold
Even before you invite people from all walks of life and all skill sets to join your team, work to create opportunities or other positions for them to serve. Think outside the box here. Some positions will need to be firmly established as to what you’re after. You may want to even create an Organizational Chart of your team to let volunteers know where your leaders are located in your structure. Outside of your structure, you may even create new opportunities for people based on their unique skill sets. Do you have an older lady that may not have the capacity to operate gear but could ‘mother’ your team? Do you have a good administrative person that could help you schedule volunteers or send weekly e-mails to your team? Do you have an event planner that could help you organize monthly and quarterly events for your team?
Think outside the mold of just the positions you need to execute a worship service. Think bigger than that. Because it is bigger than a service. You’re creating a culture. You’re creating a “mini-church” within your church. I believe that any ministry area can use spiritual gifts and talents of all kinds. Could you create a volunteer pastor position where its the role of the volunteer to help you minister to your team members? Do you have a prayer warrior that could help you pray for the needs of your team members?
Break the mold that there should only be certain positions or certain tasks on your team.
3. Break It Up
I believe that every position on your team should be ran and led by a volunteer. Every position. I believe that you need to work yourself out of as many jobs as you possibly can. Your role should consistently be to take on a job and give it away. It should be a revolving door – constantly taking something new and finding the best person to raise up to take it.
Also, if you break your positions up into bit-size roles, you not only lessen the load on one person, but you create more opportunities for people to serve. Think of the tasks that need to be done on Sunday in your position. Think of everything you do to prepare for a Sunday. Write it down. Now think of everything you do to execute a service. Take this list and mold positions out of it. Can you have a willing teenager replace batteries in your microphones? Can you have one person mix the rehearsal while another person is prepping something else?
Break your ministry tasks up into smaller chunks to relieve potential burnout and to create more opportunities for volunteers.
Our role as leaders should be to create culture, multiply ourselves by raising up leaders, and create opportunities for people in our church to serve.
The more they serve and the more opportunities you give them, the more ownership they feel will feel in the experience you are creating together.
It’s always about people. Love them well. Serve them well. They will see Jesus in your service to them.
In order to see growth in your ministry, you have to raise up leaders. The days of you being flying solo have to be long gone. You must work yourself out of as many jobs as you possibly can.
One major step in doing this is developing a core group of volunteer leaders that are responsible for bit-sized pieces of your ministry.
At Newspring, we formed a core group of 10 leaders that led teams that had ownership and responsibility in regard to new volunteers, the execution of a Sunday and building our volunteer culture. One of these leaders, as a joke, even gave this core team the nickname the “G10”, after the “G8” world leader summits. The name stuck and we even made a “G10” logo and had T-Shirts made.
So where do you start?
Here is a 9-step strategy for creating a dynamic Core Volunteer Team:
1. Create a Team Org Chart first.
You want to establish the structure of your team before you have names attached. This allows for you to build your ministry around a solid structure and not around people (that could move or leave your ministry unexpectedly).
2. Create Job Descriptions for each Team Leader.
Have clear expectations and goals for each leadership position. Don’t make it seem like a 40 hour per week job, but do give clear direction as to the vision behind this role. It doesn’t even have to be long. The simpler and more practical you can make these, the better. Also, leave a lot to their freedom and creativity. For example, for an Events Team Leader my only major expectations was to have one small monthly event and one large quarterly event. That was about it. It didn’t really matter to me what we did or when, I just wanted to see people on our team hang out together.
3. Pray and seek advice about who should fill each leadership role.
This is important. Once you have your structure in place, ask your staff co-workers who they think, from your Production team, might be good for the roles you want to fill. Chances are, you’re probably going to come up with some of the same names. Also, spend some time praying about these names. Ask God if they are right to take on a leadership role on your team. Think through it. Ask yourself, will this person help us multiply and grow? Would they also help develop leaders? Can I trust them to get stuff done or will I have to spend time hand-holding?
4. Meet with each leader one-on-one to pitch the role to them.
Plan a lunch or a meeting with each potential leader to cast vision and pitch to them taking a core position on your team. This is a great opportunity to take an intern or other young leader with you to watch you as you do this. Be sure to cast vision as to what the role is. Go through your job description and expectations for what you’re asking of them. Ask them to pray about serving in the role. Give them a time you’d like to know their answer by. Be faithful to follow up with them.
5. Meet with your core leaders regularly.
Once you have all your leaders in their roles, bring them together to meet on a regular basis. I suggest about once a month at first and then move to once every two months or once a quarter. Let these meetings be a time where you cast vision and be there only to help. Let them come up with ideas, let them lead the meetings, let them lead their teams how they want. You just steer the ship. This group should be self sufficient. Don’t let them be dependent on you or your missing the point of raising up leaders.
6. Show them how you do it.
Have them observe you in action doing the part of your ministry that you are passing off to them. During this time, tell them why you do certain things. Tell them why you say certain things. Cast vision as to the meaning behind why this part of the team exists and why it’s important. Be careful not to give them a list of rules or make it where it has to be done how you do it. Give them freedom to make it their own. Your passing the baton to them, don’t have such a firm grasp that they can’t run with it. Give it up. Let them flourish in their role and you be there to support and help them.
7. Be with them the first few times on a task.
When passing pieces of your ministry off to your leaders, be present the first few times you let them do it. Be there as a coach and as a massive encouragement for them. Give them pointers and specific things they can do better.
8. Empower them.
After you’re with them the first few times on a task, let them do it! Leave them alone! If you’re there every time, they will use you as a crutch and won’t feel the weight of their role. Also, with just your presence, people look to you as their leader. Get out of the room! Leave.
Another note here is once you delegate, give your leader the authority and don’t undermine it. Meaning, if you have a leader in place, and someone comes and asks you a question that pertains to that area, most of the time, you need to divert their attention to your leader. For example, if someone were to ask me, “Carl, how are we executing this piece of the service today?” I could answer them, but it’s more powerful for the team if I diverted that question to our Video Producer. So my response would be, “Matthew is the Video Producer today, that’s a great question to ask him.” You can even give a wink. It’s okay if they know what you’re doing.
9. Challenge them to multiply themselves.
From the initial pitch for taking a leadership role on your team, you should challenge your leaders to multiply themselves. I would even consider keeping your core team fairly small. I had 10. My plan was to keep this number at 10 and rotate people in and out every six months or so. This kept my sphere of influence small enough that I could spend more time with less people. This also allows volunteer leaders to not get to a place of entitlement. Cast the vision early that you want them to raise up someone to take their place. Keep after them- if you’re not seeing someone under their wing that they are pouring into, you need to challenge and give them goals to do so.
So a couple of themes in this strategy that I want to make sure you see:
1. The point of raising up leaders and forming your Core Team is to give away pieces of your ministry. Give them authority, empower them, and let them go. You can always come in and steer the team a different direction if you see something going off-course. After all, it’s not really your ministry, it’s God’s. He has entrusted you with this team. You should constantly be working yourself out of a job. You must leave a legacy where the ministry is not dependent on you. It grows and flourishes without you.
2. Create a culture of multiplication. Train your team to pour into each other, to teach each other, to raise up young leaders, to multiply themselves. If each of your leaders know that it’s not about them, it’s about creating opportunities for other people, you’re going to see massive growth on your team.
This strategy works. I’ve seen volunteer numbers double and triple at the churches I’ve served by using these simple techniques. You can do this!
If you’re unfamiliar with what SEO is, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. The goal of SEO is to increase both the quality and quantity of your website traffic through organic searches. Most searches are done via websites like Google (75% of market share is held by Google) or Bing. (Anyone remember Ask Jeeves?)
Of all the Google searches, only ~2.8% of clicks are paid advertisements. Which means organic search results are incredibly important, and we need to pay attention that we’re not only showing up, but that what’s being pulled is up to date and relevant.
So, here are 5 simple tips to improve your SEO.
Create great content
Putting useful content on your page, and going in depth on one topic vs a myriad of subjects will help you rank higher in search results.
Make your page fast to load, and mobile-friendly
Google rewards mobile friendly sites. Over half of searches are done via mobile devices. So having a mobile friendly site not only helps your SEO but improves your end user experience which is super important.
Keep your plugins to a minimum
DO NOT go plugin crazy. One plugin I would highly recommend though is YOAST. Yoast will allow you to change your headlines, and manually update the metadata on your web page.
Use software like Screaming Frog to crawl your website and find broken links, discover duplicate pages, analyze page titles and meta data to help you optimize content, which are all really important when it comes to SEO.
Submit a sitemap for Google to crawl.
This is you basically telling Google, Hey! I’m here..and here are my pages. You don’t HAVE to do this. But by creating your own sitemap, you take the reigns and make sure that Google’s results are up to date in real time. This is a really helpful article from Neil Patel on how to do this.
Optimize your images
Make sure you use proper formats like JPGs or PNGs. You don’t need to be super technical to do this, there’s plenty of free software like PicResize to do this for you.
Hopefully you can take advantage of some of the free tools and resources out there! Comment below if you have any questions, I’d love to chat.
Do you ever have a volunteer that is not a great fit for your team or the position they are in on your team?
Do you worry about dealing with the situation because they are a volunteer?
I’ve been there.
You want to be gracious, but they feel entitled to their position or they have had a certain role or the same responsibilities for the last 50 years.
Or you may be in a situation where you don’t have enough people to remove any one on your volunteer team. You have a bad apple but are dependent on them or your services will not happen.
I’ve been there too.
Let me offer you several ideas for how to “fire” a volunteer. Before I do, let me mention a few things to keep in mind:
You’re their pastor first. It’s your job to help them find a place where they feel fulfilled. Be incredibly gracious and loving when you’re dealing with anyone on your team. Put on love!
God has put you in the position you’re in. You must be willing to step into the uncomfortable for the good of the culture of your team. Don’t be afraid to shake things up, try new strategies or do something different. God, and the church that’s paying you is holding you responsible for how you lead your team.
If you need to “fire” a volunteer, here’s how I’ve done it in the past and I pray these suggestions may help you if you’re in this very delicate situation. Sometimes you may try these in order or pick one that best meets your need:
1. Repurpose them to another position on your team
I found the best way to fire a volunteer, is not to flippantly get rid of them, but to strategically help them find a place of service that’s both a good fit for them and a good fit for your church.
The first strategy I would try would be to repurpose someone to another position on our team. Someone might not be a good fit as a camera operator but they would be a great ProPresenter Operator.
Have a one-on-one conversation with them.
Be very careful with your language in how you discuss this with this person.
Don’t say, “You’re terrible at camera, we’re going to move you to ProPresenter because I don’t think you’ll suck at that.”
Say something like, “Hey Bill, I’ve been thinking about you and praying for you lately man. I’m so grateful you’re on this team. As I was looking at our structure and how we are organizing our team, we had some openings in the ProPresenter position, and I thought of you. We have a ProPresenter training opening next Monday night. Would you be available to come to it? I think this would be such a great fit for your skill set.”
2. Create a new position that uses their skill set
I realized after years of leading teams and a major part of my job was to find ways to create as many serving opportunities on my team as I could. If someone wanted to help our team, they could – we had all ages and skill sets on our team. We had people that had no technical know-how but wanted to serve our team in some way. We built our org chart in such a way that those people had an easy on-ramp into a position. But sometimes, we even created new positions based on someone’s skill set.
When I had a volunteer I needed to “fire”, I would spend time praying about what they were really good at. I would pray for God to show me their abilities and skills. I would pray for Him to lay something on my heart that they could do for our team that would allow them to feel fulfilled and would help our team succeed.
Try creating a new position on your team – “Volunteer Headquarters Coordinator”, “Scheduling Coordinator”, have them help sign people in each Sunday morning, have them help make breakfast for your team, have them up coordinate events and have them serve as the Grill Master… try finding a spot where they can thrive and your team can thrive.
Use the same language I mentioned above. Bring this to them as a new opportunity in which God placed their name on your heart for. Bring this to them with excitement. I’m not suggesting that you deceive this person. I am suggesting that you propose the transition as just that – a transition into a new, needed position on your team.
I found that some volunteers that just weren’t cutting it in one position were a perfect fit for something else on the team. I could tap into their skills and abilities and keep their loyalty to our team.
3. Help them discover another ministry they can serve in
You may have a volunteer that may be in the wrong ministry. This person may be incredible with children but they are serving in production. Or they may just not be grasping the production experience but would be great on the parking team.
Here’s how I have handled this – I have a conversation with my staff team members in private. I explain that I think Bill isn’t cutting it in production but I think his skills would be great for their ministry. If they agree, I would have them approach Bill or us approach bill together and propose the ministry opportunity on their team.
4. Stop scheduling them
There are a few things on the teams I’ve led that I have little patience for. For instance, not showing up multiple times is something I don’t tolerate on my teams. I am gracious and make sure they knew they were scheduled and work to fix the problem. Remember to pastor first – they may be going through a life struggle that you need to help them through – and if that’s the case, sometimes a break from serving might be the best thing that needs to happen.
One way to “fire” a volunteer that’s not cutting it is to simply stop scheduling them as much. Or schedule them for a less crucial position. This may sound harsh on the outset, but think of it this way – in my case we had thousands of people gathering for a worship experience to worship and exalt the Creator of the Universe. When you don’t show up to a major position to create that experience, thousands of people suffer.
I’m not trying to lay a guilt trip down or intimidate, but I do want volunteers to realize the importance of their service. People get saved in our worship services. People are encouraged in their walk with Christ in our worship services. You not showing up is unacceptable and I once I see that happening on a constant basis, I stop scheduling you. Of course, be gracious for emergencies, sickness, and things of the like, I’m referring to this being a on-going issue with a specific volunteer.
Try to coach them in this situation. Have a conversation and explain to them that you’ve seen them not be as committed lately and would love to have them be more committed to what your team is after. Lead and coach in these moments with love.
If the problem still exists after that, I would stop scheduling them as much.
When I stopped scheduling them, I’ve had one of two things happen:
1 – They get disinterested in the team and ask to leave the team. Be okay with this! If they aren’t in it to win it, let free birds fly to somewhere they can serve with passion! Be sure you aren’t losing them from the church, and work to step in to make sure they still attend and are plugged into community at your church, but be okay with people that aren’t passionate your team leaving.
2 – They would come and ask why they haven’t been on the schedule as much lately.
5. Set Standards for your whole team
My last suggestion for how to “fire” a volunteer is to set standards you want to see in your team culture.
What I mean by that is this – it’s not about an individual, it’s about a team. It’s about creating opportunities for people to serve their church and to serve other people.
Let me give you a quick story here:
I had a volunteer at one church I served that was serving as a Director for our worship services every Sunday for every service. He had been in this position for years. In fact, his family rarely took a vacation because he felt the service could not go on without him. He also never actually attended a worship service and worshipped with his wife and family. When I came on staff, I had the vision to create multiple opportunities for many people to learn that position and all other positions on our team. He did not like this approach. He got so upset that he left the team for a while.
As harsh as it may sound – this is exactly what the team needed and exactly what his family needed. He eventually came back to the team and we had him serve once a month as a Director and help train other directors. His wife later came to me and thanked me – telling me that the only way she was able to worship with her husband was to sit in the back on the control room. She told be that he was very upset, but eventually realized that it was important to actually be in a worship service with his wife and family.
You don’t want to lose people, I get it. But sometimes shaking things up a little and letting the chips fall where they fall is a good thing.
It’s not about an individual – it’s not even about you, hello.
It’s about the ministry that God has placed you in, in this season of your life. Lead well.
You may have to set standards for your team that people don’t like but you feel is for the good of growing your team.
If I had to take a guess, if you were to ask the teams that I’ve led if they knew a volunteer had been “fired”, I can with confidence say that very few people knew what actually was going on. Don’t be deceptive – but have integrity and a servant spirit. Be intentional about serving volunteers that may be in the wrong spot.
There are no bad volunteers. Every person matters.
There may be volunteers that are misplaced and it’s your job to help them discover a place of service where they feel valued and fulfilled.
More than likely, you aren’t thinking of print advertising as the most effective form of communication. After all, there are a lot of downsides. Overuse of print ads cause people to ignore them, lack of customizing audiences, lack of connection, and then there’s the cost. But whatever your opinion on print ads, most of us are figuring out how to work postcards, billboards, handouts, or local ads into our marketing strategy.
If we’re being honest, we would both probably say that we want to be on the cutting edge of technology. We would love to innovative with our digital presence and social media strategy. We would love to be industry leaders in communication, and I agree with you that as the Church, we absolutely should and could be.
But, the truth is, that you and I are not operating on our own. We work on a team, with varied ideas and interests and experiences. We often execute marketing strategies that are outside of our personal preferences. And if print isn’t one of your preferences, there are ways to connect it to a digital strategy.
Let’s pause and own up to the fact that just because print isn’t “cutting edge”, doesn’t necessarily mean it is ineffective. I often wonder, as more and more moves digital, if print will make a comeback as a novelty or a form of advertising that people will pay attention to more than digital. Maybe the fact that it’s different will make it more memorable.
In any case, there are ways to make print advertising more effective, easier to track, and unique. Here are 3 tips to take your print ads to the next level.
1. Create a unique URL for your design
Creating a unique URL will allow you to track digital traffic, based completely on who saw your print piece. This obviously won’t be 100% accurate, as not everyone will visit your website. But it will give you a picture of how much interest your piece engaged, and can also allow you to retarget your audience in the future.
2. Create a Call To Action
Creating a unique CTA will encourage your audience to engage with you, and give you the opportunity to connect with them in a digital space that creates community. One major downside to print advertising is the lack of interaction and follow through. But if you can drive your audience to your social channels or your website, this not only allows you to capture their info, but maintain a connection with them as a result.
Have you seen this fun little graphic floating around on social media?
How many of you read that exactly how it laid out? Typically (there’s always exceptions to every rule) people don’t read left to right or top to bottom in ads, they start with the most dominant visual element in the ad.
Be strategic about what you want them to read first, second, last. Test it out on test audiences.
Ask, “does this make you want to know more?” “What did you read first?” “Was it engaging enough to make you read more?”
However your marketing strategy comes together, remember that ultimately, people are moved by the Holy Spirit. It’s our job to remind them that Jesus is the real deal, and that we (our church) is a solid and safe place you can come to find out more about Him.
So before you take any of the above steps, pause and ask God to lead you. Ask Him to spark and inspire creativity; to help you communicate Him and His message effectively. You are in your role for a purpose. You have unique gifts and talents. You are literally changing lives by communicating the message of Jesus.
If you have other ideas, please comment them below. I’d love to hear what’s working in your community!
“Do slides on Sundays”, they said. “It will be fun”, they said.
What they didn’t tell me when I first joined a church communication team was that I would have to learn a new program (the famous ProPresenter) and I would be waiting on the lead pastor to send me notes that would only arrive on Saturday night.
I joyfully served this way for many years.
Creativity is something that flows when I am under pressure (what makes me a great candidate for procrastination), however my Saturday night creations made me question one basic idea: why in the world were we waiting until the last minute?
Back then, I didn’t want to question my pastor’s ability to prepare his sermons on time because I was not a pastor. I did not know what it entailed. And for many years I would point to the Holy Spirit as the cause of last minute edits to the sermon.
I didn’t know it could have been done differently until I saw it done differently. At my current church we seem to have time to put a monthly magazine together before a new series is out. There seems to be time for walls to be painted, videos to be recorded, connection cards to be designed and printed before weeks in advance.
So, what is the difference?
Planning, you say.
In my experience, planning wasn’t the issue on church #1 but communication between leadership and the creative team.
Even if specific pieces of scripture change the night before there are many elements that are defined in advance that should allow a creative to have time to put these pieces together with enough time.
We just need to get them out of our pastors’ brains.
Very rarely will a pastor come up with an idea for a sermon series just a few days before it is to be preached. Because, guess what? They have to prepare for it!
Our pastors may not come to us with what we need, but we can go to them.
Start with a series brief questionnaire.
A series brief questionnaire will give your pastor a guideline that is easy to follow and provide you, the church communicator, information you otherwise would have to guess.
So, #churchcomm, let’s end the guessing game and get our Saturdays back.
Here are some questions to get you started:
– SERIES NAME
– START DATE
– HOW MANY WEEKS IN THE SERIES?
– MAIN CONCEPT (IN ONE SENTENCE, PLEASE)
– RELATED SCRIPTURES OR BOOK OF THE BIBLE
– WHAT LED YOU TO START THIS SERIES?
– WHAT MOOD DO YOU ENVISION FOR THE GRAPHICS?
– MAIN ACTION YOU WOULD WANT ATTENDEES TO TAKE
– ANY IMAGE OR WORD YOU HAVE IN MIND FOR THE SERIES?
Information is advancing daily on a global stage through the connectivity of the Internet. Email, blogs and social platforms contribute to the viral spread of content in real-time to shape culture, capture polarized opinions and broadcast the news of “right now” to the ends of the earth. On Facebook alone, there are 1.5 billion active users who log in monthly to read news, connect with friends, and share content. People are not only getting information online but they are living their lives there as well, and the church should be a part of the conversation.
It’s as easy as 1, 2, … 7
1. Be an active part of the conversation on social media platforms.
Before stepping foot into a building, people get their first impression of our church online. If our social media platforms are empty or haven’t posted anything new for months or days, people think the message is out of date too!
2. Contribute content worth sharing.
We’re all strolling around the Internet asking, “What’s in it for me?” while hunting the funniest video, the latest controversial article or the cutest picture of puppies we can find. Once we do, what’s next? We share it! People share content that moves them, and creating content that stirs emotion takes effort [we have teams to help with this]. Social content is often visual so think about how you can leverage what you’re creating for Sundays or midweek opportunities that will empower and encourage your fans to continue conversations around what Jesus is doing in their social circles.
Would you really share that on your personal account?
3. Answer questions people are asking.
Everyone is asking three questions: What happened? What’s happening? What’s next? If you’re not answering one of these three basic questions about your church on a daily basis, you’re missing a great opportunity to contribute to the conversation online and in the workplace.
4. Know your audience and the platform.
All social media platforms are not created equal. Posting the same message on all the different social media outlets is like using a hammer to put screws in the wall or painting with a fork – it may get the job done, but it’s not the best way. Know who’s there and why they are there. Then, craft your message and communication specifically for them.
I’m sorry, what was that you said?
5. Listen to the conversation.
Broadcasting information but not engaging in conversation is like holding up protest signs in a public place but never speaking to the people around you…it’s foolish! Similarly, hijacking conversations instead of participating in them is rude in person and on the internet too.
6. Provide excellent customer service.
Excellent customer service lets your audience know that you’re listening. And, when they know you’re listening to them, they’ll listen to you. You are the expert. If someone asks a question on your facebook page or tweets it @you, let them know they matter by answering it in a timely manner.
“Content is king, but relationships are Beyonce.” – @vanbaird
7. Empower your staff and volunteers.
One of the greatest ways your church can reach people in your community is by empowering staff and volunteers to share their stories and connect with others. Gather your staff and volunteers and teach them to share their story. Then as they live their life and faith online it will naturally point people to Jesus and let your community know that your church is a place where people can grow in a community.
We’re equipped to reach the world and fulfill the great commision unlike any point in history. Pick one of the above opportunities and try it today, and I promise that your church will grow–eventually. You and I both know that relationships are the key to sharing the gospel. I’ll write about that later. For now, let me know how I can help you dial in one of the 7 ways mentioned above. I’m @thedunagans in all the spaces, or leave me a message here. I really believe the best is yet to come!
The man behind the screen sounds like the Wizard of Oz, am I right?
A person behind a screen is just that, behind a screen and not in front of your face. They will say whatever they want and probably do whatever they want without much regard for your feelings, let alone the reputation of your church.
Someone asked me if they should engage with a “negative” comment on their church’s Facebook page, and I said, “I would hide it.”
I feel like I should explain what “hiding” means on Facebook. When you own a Facebook page, instead of deleting a comment, you have the choice of “hiding” the comment. That means the comment will look like it’s still there to that user and their friends, but it will not be shown to anyone else. Hiding comments are a viable option on Facebook and the reason they were created.
Now, I’m sure that doesn’t seem like open and honest communication, but sometimes people just say stuff because they’re angry. Should you engage with it?
I think that’s up to you. If you think you can redeem the situation, then by all means, try to make the wrong right, but if you aren’t 100% sure, then I would hide it and go about your day. If they continually make negative comments, I would have a minister reach out to them. I would research and to see whether they have attended your church previously in the past as well.
Jesus said, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” (Matt 10:14)
I know it’s a stretch to say, “Leave that Facebook comment and dust off your feet.” But sometimes, that’s just what you have to do—not everyone is going to agree with what you or what your church is doing either on Facebook or in real life.
Or you can just agree with T.I .when he said, “Never mind what haters say, ignore them ’til they fade away.”
This all depends on the comment and the person. Does the person have a history with the church? Is there a minister already in contact with that person? Or is the person a complete stranger? Does the person sound like they are just looking to start a fight?
These things will matter when deciding what to do. But for me and my house (ha, jokes), we will probably just hide the comment.
What do you do with negative comments? Hide them? Block the person? Engage them with a positive message? Connect them with a minister?
I’ve done all the above and would love to know what your church’s plan of attack is. Let me know in the comments.
Do you cringe a little when you see the words “church” and “marketing” together? I know I can’t be the only one.
I’m not really sure why, given that marketing for churches is what I do for a living, and what I believe the Lord has called me to do this season of my life.
Maybe we just need a new word for “marketing.”
This is not the first time I have taken a stab at creating new words. I am known for wanting to rename things often.
One time I was so convinced I was able to replace the word “website” with something like “goucot” for everyone in the whole world.
I know it sounds weird, but hear me out: websites are no longer “sites” in the “web”. A “site” implies something static, a fixed location, and nowadays what we have is closer to a “Goal Oriented User Centric Online Tool” or GOUCOT! Get it?
I was confident I could completely add a word to the dictionary. True story!
So you can see why I am searching for a word to replace “marketing” when it comes to churches.
Planning vs relying on the Holy Spirit
How much can we plan and how much should we rely on the Holy Spirit?
This question was heavy on me for a while. As I sought the Lord, it became clear to me that we need both.
I believe God is the one who grows the Church. We simply navigate the waves He sends our way, and adjust the sails accordingly. Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
Our first strategy should be prayer. Period.
We should seek the Lord and wait for His voice and act in obedience.
What about planning and strategy?
The more I search the Bible for the answer the more I am convinced that there is a space for it.
Our God is a God of order, a God of detail, and a god of numbers and measurements. In several occasions He instructed His people with something along the lines of, “This is how you are to build it.”
There was method. There was process. There was a plan, a blueprint.
When you start with prayer, and have the foundational belief that God grows the church, then you can begin to layer on process and strategy guided by the Holy Spirit.
When it comes to having a plan and marketing for churches (there’s that word again), the secret strategy is to start with people. From there, create a process of engagement and then (and only then) look for tools that allow you to execute your processes.
People over process. Process over tools.
This is key.
Starting with the tools is a recipe for failure. Twitter may be a great channel for some and a complete failure for others. Radio may be the way some churches are successful in attracting new members but that may be completely wrong for my audience. And let’s not forget Snapchat…
Church marketing should start from prayer and move on to a strategic process that starts with your audience in mind.
The question I have for you is: how much do you know about the audience you are currently serving?
…for me, I’m still thinking of an alternative name to “church marketing”…
Maximize your reach on social media this Easter. Here’s a few helpful tips!
1. Get social
Be actively posting and engaging on social media leading up to Easter. Post your service times, share sneak peeks of what people can expect, and show people what’s happening!
Use apps like Over or WordSwag or Canva if you don’t have someone that can design them for you.
2. Let people know where to find you and what #hashtag to use
In printed handouts, on screens, and anywhere else, link to your church’s social media profiles and include what #hashtag they should be using to post about your event.
3. Create photo opps
Create spaces in or around your church for people to take family photos or photos of groups of friends. Encourage people to post and share their Easter photos with their friends on social media. Or, if you have photo volunteers, take photos and post them to a Facebook album and have people tag themselves – it’s a great way to continue to
4. Follow the #hashtag and engage
Watch your social media feeds and look for people posting using your church’s @handles on social media or your #hashtag and engage! If people are taking the time to post about you and mention you, you should take the time to write back!
– “Favorite” posts on Twitter and write back
– “Like” photos on Instagram and leave a comment
– watch for people who are checking in at your church on Facebook and comment
– on Instagram, look for photos that have been tagged at your church and like those, too!
5. Share some of your favorite posts
Retweet some of your favorite tweets, use the Repost app to share some of your favorite photos from others on Instagram, or stream a feed of your #hashtag online or on screen before or after your services. ProPresenter has that feature built in or you can use a service like tagboard. Seeing other people’s posts will encourage other people to share theirs!
6. Create incentive
Encourage people to share and post on social media and give them a reason why! Consider doing a giveaway or contest for the best post.
7. Share your service and photos online.
If your church has video capabilities, post the video of your service and any creative elements on social media so people can share the service with their friends! If you don’t have video, share some great photos!
8. Keep the conversation going
Use the momentum of Easter to keep a consistent presence on social media. Connect people to what’s happening in the life of your church and let them know how they can get involved and grow in their faith!