Last fall I, somewhat reluctantly, attended the first ever That Church Conference. I am willing to humbly admit that I walked into the conference room with a not-so-good attitude. I know a lot of stuff and I was almost challenging those in the room to teach me something.
Now to put a few things in perspective, I walked in with this attitude because just a few months before the September conference, I had graduated with my Doctor of Ministry where I concentrated all my research and study to the use of digital and social media in the church. So maybe a little of my attitude was warranted, maybe….The lesson learned though was I left the September conference enlightened and definitely humbled.
That was such a good conference when I heard that there would be a workshop in Chicago I knew I had to attend.
So here are just a few thoughts that came out of the Workshop – one in which you should totally attend if you get the opportunity.
Listening – Van Baird
I heard Van speak at the conference in September and figured he would do something similar, which he did. However, just like any good book and scripture, the more you read it and hear it the better it gets, and the more you get out of it. This session was good the first time, but I think I got more out the second time. Here are a few keys from his session on listening and using social media to build relational equity.
- If you aren’t listening, you’re not ministering.
- In an effort to find community our culture posts their lives online for all to see. Because of this the church needs to listen to the small data that the people are sharing. They share their lives, we need to listen and be there to engage with them.
- We need to be willing to take the time to listen. It is time consuming, but it is well worth the effort. For those of us in the church, if we take the time to visit with people in the 3d world, we need to also take the time to engage with them in the 2d world. We cannot be effective if we do not do both of those well – in our culture they go hand-in-hand.
The more you listen the more you have the right to be heard.
The Church should be using Social Media to point people to Jesus. Period.
- We have the greatest message out there – and we are not doing the best job at communicating that.
- Acts 2:43 – Everyone was filled with Awe and Wonder. Society doesn’t always see the church and what we tell with awe and wonder.
- We have never been more resourced in all of history to communicate the gospel to all people.
- Traditionally church marketing has said “come to us.” Jesus said we should “go to them.”
- God’s invitation is to everyone, everywhere and we need to extend it wherever we go.
- The most effective means of marketing your church is in your seats every single weekend.
(Tim offered up some crazy practical insights about posting stuff, I will have another piece on this through my blog at Churchm.ag. Be on the lookout.)
Email – Josh Burns
All I have to say was that Josh sold me on Email. I have read countless articles that go back and forth about email. However, after hearing Josh’s session I am sold 100% on the use of effective emails and the need for them to be as good as any other digital content sent out. Here are a few thoughts I took away from Josh’s session.
- If you church doesn’t have a website, it basically doesn’t exist.
- The ROI of Digital Communication for your church is building RELATIONSHIPS.
- The goal of the email subject line is to get people to open the email. The first line of the email is to get people to read the second line, so on and so forth.
- Email is 6x more effective at engaging people than social media.
- Email is an essential piece of the church’s digital communication piece
- Email cannot stand on it’s own. It has to be worked into the digital strategy of the church as a whole.
- Email has 2.6 Billion active monthly users (this was a conservative number as well)
- Everything in – in the email has to be strategic. This strategy includes: what is the content, where will it be posted, how will it be worded? What is the goal with the email? Who is it – new people, engagement of current members, volunteers, families, etc.? What stories will be told through the email allowing it to communicate the why behind the what?
Josh gave a brief tutorial of mail chimp, but here are a few other email marketing services:
The gospel is very personal.
We cannot persuade someone unless we know what is important to them. This was such a great thought. We try and try to persuade people on what we are passionate about, but we must relate it to their own experiences and life. If we cannot help them see the “why” and how it impacts them, we will never persuade them.
Three Mistakes we Make when we Pitch for Social Media:
- Paranoid Skitzoid – we make assumptions people are into technology as much as we are, or are we are paranoid they are out to get us which causes us to get defensive and scared with our approach.
- Everyone is not a hater.
- Slow Your Role.
- Platitude Attitude – don’t be lazy. Don’t just throw around phrases because we think it will justify what we are doing. We need to work harder to say – this is our vision and the problem we are trying to solve is this, and here are a few of the ways we are going to solve it.
- We overthink our own technology or brilliance. Don’t fix what isn’t broken.
- Give people options
- Embrace the tension
- Run clinical trials
- Find gold in each fail
- do the right research
- Adjust your dial
Crisis Plan – Justin Dean
The main take-away here was having certain things in place in a preventative way, or in a preparedness way. There is a necessity for a PR Emergency Crisis Plan that has all the pertinent information. The reality is something will happen eventually in our church or community, the question is how will the church respond. Here are a few thoughts from the Q & A with Justin.
- Plan ahead and think through the possible scenarios.
- Who is in charge?
- Who is the spokesperson?
- What will we tell people? What will the people on Social Media communicate? What will the Press Release say?
- When and where will the communication take place?
- How will the communication be done? Social Media? Pulpit Sunday morning? Newspaper? TV News? Weekly Email? Key Leader?
- Prepare and resource people in the midst.
- Give pieces of information for people to respond with – appropriate tweets, responses, etc.
- If we don’t respond to people – and give them our story, they will make one up. Let them hear a story that is true, not one that they will create themselves or hear from third party sources.
- Respond. Reply. Engage. Regardless of the depth of the question and response. The culture is waiting on us to respond and when we are silent we send an equally hurtful message.
It was a great workshop and I highly encourage anyone doing social media, inside the church and outside the church, to attend one of the That Church Conference events. You can still sign-up for the one in September down in Atlanta. It is worth the time and money. Also, check out the new That Church Community online. Great resources.