Your church and community live busy lives, with limited time and attention spans.
It isn’t that they don’t want to care about what the church has planned, they are too busy to know they need to.
So it’s our responsibility to let them know what is important in the life of our church and why.
The challenge of course is doing it in a way that isn’t annoying.
Here are 3 steps to communicating with your church without being annoying
1) Say less
I’m not talking about saying less about the gospel. I’m talking about the volume of information we throw at people each week.
We spend all week thinking about our ministry plans, but our congregation and guest haven’t. Sunday morning is often the only time they hear about what we offer.
When we throw everything at them at once, nothing sticks. A typical listener can only take in so much information before they shut down and stop listening.
Be intentional about what we share.
Pick the top 3-4 things in the life of your church and share about them well. This is best done with a calendar so you aren’t caught off guard as events approach.
A good rule is… a ministry opportunity needs to relate to 50% of those in attendance for you to share about it. If it doesn’t, you should find ways to share with just the people who need to hear it.
Women’s Retreat – relates to 50%+ of Sunday morning attenders = Share
Men’s Woodworking Class – doesn’t relate to 50%+ of Sunday morning attenders = Find other ways to share with interested people
2) Use language they understand
I’ve been going to a local hamburger place for 20+ years, but I recently learned they have a “secret menu.”
It includes creative ways you can customize your meal to meet your tastes.
Why didn’t I know about it?
Because they haven’t printed the information on the menu board. You have to know what to ask for or they will serve it like they always have.
Unfortunately, we treat our church guests much the same. Assuming they have context and understanding about our church that they don’t have.
We announce events in ways insiders understand but guests don’t…
Join us for Bible Study on Wednesday in the MPR.
Guests need to know more.
Answer the questions guests would be asking
Who is this event for for?
What time is it occuring?
What is the full name of the location?
Where would I find this room on campus?
Can my kids come too?
Life can be confusing! Join our adult Bible study as we talk through practical ways to gain wisdom and understanding. Wednesdays, 7pm, Main Office Lobby. Child-care is available by reservation.
3) Share details with heart
Each week, guests come to church and we fill them in on all the “exciting ways to get involved.”
We do it, because we know the difference it will make in their lives. We understand the power of the Gospel to change a life.
But our listeners don’t understand it. They approach every opportunity, subconsciously or not, with a mental question…
“What’s in it for me?”
Our guests are hungry for the solutions God offers. But unless we show, and tell, them why a ministry or event is important they won’t even consider it.
Highlight the benefit of attending and participating.
Go beyond the details, presenting examples of life change in your ministry. Tell stories from previous attenders, congregation members, your community. Share the way God has used the ministry in the past and the difference it can make for those in similar situations.
These 3 steps come down to one thing that will make the difference between communications that annoy or connect.
Say Less + With Greater Clarity + In Ways That Connect With People
Do it consistently and you will see growth in your congregation.
Neglect it and you will struggle to connect and retain new people.
Have a Church Communication Question You Would Like Answered?
You have a church event to promote, and you’re stuck. The leader wants a graphic for Sunday Slideshow, Facebook image, Sunday program and you’re just trying to get through the day.
You didn’t go to school for design, but the responsibility is on your shoulders. What can you do?
In this week’s #AskRADIdeas Debi asks the question plaguing so many church staff members.
How do I create graphics when I’m not a graphic artist?
Thankfully, there are several options for your church.
4 Ways for Non Designers to Create Church Graphics
1) Hire a designer
A graphic designer will be able to take your project and create something uniquely tailored to your church.
You can expect the process to include a project overview where you share your topic, goals and details. The designer will then get back to you with design options. When you’ve settled on a design they will deliver the finished graphics to you.
If you are looking for custom visuals this is a great way to go. You get the experience and knowledge of a designer, without the expense of another employee.
2) Library of designs
Several companies have created “done-for-you” design libraries that your church can use.
Pick a design, download the visuals and start using them immediately. You get the quality of a professionally designed graphic, in the time it takes to download the files.
The cost for download access depends on the company. Look for monthly, yearly or life-time access plans when determining the best fit for your church.
Using templates will take away the frustration of staring at a blank screen and creating a design from scratch. They give you the flexibility of customizing your promotion, while speeding up the design process.
The process is simple:
Download a Word, Publisher, InDesign or Photoshop template
Add your unique information into the editable regions
A number of online tools are available to help you create designs without needing Photoshop. You can pick a design size, add your elements (text, images, etc.) and save the file for use.
The trade off is your time. You should expect to spend time learning the tools and then creating the graphics themselves. If you need different versions of a design (Sunday Slideshow, Facebook image, Bulletin announcement) you will need to recreate it in each format.
Today I’d like to introduce you to Matthew Fridg. I first was introduced to Matthew in 2015 after finding his information online.
Matthew comes from a ministry and video background and runs Church Video Coach, working with churches to increase their effectiveness through video communication. He contacted me recently about the topics I’ve been discussing and ways churches could apply similar principles to video communications.
Since we have similar goals of helping the local church in communications I asked him to share about some practical ways to use video in our churches.
3 Ways Video Can Help Attract And Retain Guests
by Matthew Fridg
I am an introvert. There, I said it. So, going over to dinner at someone’s house, whom I have never met before, ranks right up there with a root canal or standardize testing. C’mon my fellow introverts, you know exactly what I mean. You have to smile constantly for 2+ hours, keep up some semblance of conversation, and maybe even play charades. Somebody push the eject button, please.
On the other hand, we have no problem spending hours over at a good friend’s house. We can be the best refrigerator friends money can buy. The million-dollar question is, “What is the difference?” The answer: familiarity.
Familiarity Opens The Door
Our level of familiarity and comfort can determine a great deal about our actions. The more familiar we are with something, the more comfortable we can feel. When we feel comfortable, we can truly be ourselves. It’s a truly great place to be, especially when a guest can feel this way about our church. When people begin to feel comfortable they can let their guard down and, consequently, they can make a better connection with the pastor, message, congregants, and especially the Gospel.
Video Facilitates Connection
One pastor I was consulting told me about a man who came up to him after the service. This man excitedly announced, “I really feel like I know you.” The pastor replied, “Really, how long have you been attending.” To which the man answered, “Oh, this is my first time, but I have seen all your videos on your website and now I feel like I am at home.”
A video ministry is more than just some funny videos we show before the sermon or some reminders about the church picnic. Video is a powerful tool to connect people to the heart, culture, and mission of your church.
Maximize The Opportunity
Could video really help attract and retain guests? The following are a few areas you can use video to help break down barriers and build familiarity before someone even visits your church.
The Pastor – According to Thom Rainer (Surprising Insights of the Unchurched, p. 18), 90% of unchurched people choose a church based on the primary communicator and his preaching. What if you could create a highlight reel of your pastor and some of his best one liners that people could watch before they even walked in the door? Maybe even a catalog of sermons on YouTube?
Worship Style – The style of music is one reason many churchgoers decide where they will attend church. Imagine someone just moved into the community and they are seeking a church with a rockin’ band. They come across your website and see your team worshiping their hearts out. They connect with the music style right away.
Children’s/Kids Ministry – When I visit a church, I want to know that my kids are going to be safe, have fun and learn about Jesus. Why not post a video on your facebook page that shows the caring faces of your children’s workers, the kids’ huge smiles as they sing a worship song, and a shot of the teacher sharing the Bible lesson (make sure you have permission from anyone appearing on camera or their parents)?
So, what do you need to begin creating video that does more than just replace the guy who used to do announcement?
Your Gear List
Camera – You can start with your iPhone to get great HD video, but you may want to increase quality and usability with a camcorder.
Canon VIXIA HF R52 – $399
Canon VIXIA HF G30 – $1,199
Sony NEX-EA50M – $2,499
Tripod – Get nice, steady shots by using your camera on a tripod.
$50-150 for a starter tripod
Audio – You can plug your house mixer into the camera or use the internal or an external microphone.
Wired Lapel – Sony ECM-44B – $159, great for interviews
Shotgun – RODE VideoMic GO – $85
Editing Software – After you capture your footage, assemble it in your non-linear editing software.
iMovie – $14.99
Final Cut X – $299
Adobe Premier – $19.99-$49.99/month
With some simple tools and a plan, you can leverage the power of video to help people get to know you and feel familiar with your church before they even step in the door.
Matthew Fridg is the founder of Church Video Coach, national conference speaker, filmmaker, father and has been shooting video since he was only 4 feet tall. Since then he has grown another foot and ten inches and won several advertising and cinematography awards for his more recent video work. He graduated from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2006 with a Bachelor’s in Communications Media and went on to do lighting for several motion pictures filmed in the Pittsburgh area. Later, working as a full-time director with a large video production firm, he directed and produced documentaries, online ads, promos, narratives, and TV commercials.
Matthew has led worship for nearly 15 years, at one point overseeing three growing campus worship teams in the Pittsburgh area. He responded to the pastoral call and worked as an Executive Pastor and Worship Pastor since 2012 and is currently finishing his Master’s in Pastoral Counseling from Liberty University.
Matthew started Church Video Coach which is company devoted to helping churches increase their effectiveness through video communication. His heart is to serve the church through all things video.
We live in an age of story telling. From books and movies to television and magazines, stories are all around us. Some connect and move us emotionally, while others leave us unmoved.
Think of the emotions you felt during Carl’s life story montage in UP!
Or the sense of excitement and uncertainty as Bilbo leaves the Shire to begin his adventure in The Hobbit.
The best stories all have something in common… They let us see a piece of ourselves in the struggles of the main characters. We relate to them and find ourselves hoping, even cheering, for them. Their victory becomes our victory, their loss our loss. Something about their struggle connects with our humanity.
Our church promotions hold the same potential… To let our church and community see a piece of themselves in the story we are sharing. To relate in a way that when they see life change in others they are encouraged and want the same for themselves.
This doesn’t happen by accident.
As I’ve written before, it begins with working ahead. Working ahead frees you to be intentional with your planning and and focus on the story you will tell.
As you focus on the story, you give your church a chance to see themselves in what you are sharing and connect at a deeper level.
Helping them connect in this way begins by…
Asking the Right Questions…
What do we hope to accomplish with this event or opportunity?
This brings clarity to the look, feel and vision for your event
Example: To connect & challenge men to a higher standard of living. For them to understand that life lived in community with others provides spiritual protection and opportunity for growth that living alone can’t.
What story will we share to connect with people emotionally?
This brings clarity to what you will focus on sharing and how
Example: Use a testimony from the group and a character study on the life of David. We will focus on the role of Jonathan (friend) and Nathan (spiritual leader) in his life.
What type of life transformation do we hope to bring and how will we challenge people to it?
This will help bring clarity to how you want people to respond.
Example: Men challenged to go further in their walk with God and connect to small groups for accountability and growth.
If we could write the post event “buzz” what would people be saying?
This will help bring clarity to what you hope is memorable about the event
Example: “I thought I was alone, but I found out others have these struggles too. I can make it. There is hope.”
How will we support the event and planning visually?
Graphics and design are the first hint of what to expect of an event. They set the tone and feel for your planning. It also helps the person responsible for creating the visual promotion to know what your vision is before they begin.
Example: Mountain climbing, A journey of steps, Teamwork in climbing together
Document Your Answers…
The natural tendency is to answer these questions mentally or skip over them altogether. After all, we’ve done this before. Why spend time working through something we know well?
Remember, the goal here is to help people see themselves in what is being shared, to inspire them not just inform them.
Resist the temptation to short change this step and take a few minutes to write out your answers.
When you’re done, post the paper where you can see it as you plan.
Numbers like that show incredible promise for online ministry potential. At the same time, the implications are huge because it means one thing…
Getting your message heard is a growing challenge
According to Facebook, “On average, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they log onto Facebook. For people with lots of friends and Page likes, as many as 15,000 potential stories could appear any time they log on.” statistic from https://www.facebook.com/business/news/Organic-Reach-on-Facebook
Facebook knows users would never sift through that volume of content so they rank posts based on interaction and response levels. The better the interaction the more users see the content in their feed. This results in a user seeing approximately 300 items in their News Feed instead of 1500. statistic from https://www.facebook.com/business/news/Organic-Reach-on-Facebook (include funnel graphic)
The ramifications are, most of your churches posts will only be seen by 3-6% of your followers.
This poses a significant problem when you want to build a thriving community.
While the reach percentage is better than Facebook it still isn’t great. At its heart, Twitter functions best as a real time delivery system. It has been compared to watching ‘live tv,’ versus a DVR. If a person is online at the time you post, the content is seen. Tune out and it’s easy to miss information.
So how can you use social media advertising in a budget friendly way?
The growth of Facebook and changes to their business model means going forward, most churches will need to Pay to Play. While it’s easy to complain and question why a ‘free’ service would make you ‘pay’ the reality is, Facebook is a business. For them to continue to exist they need income. With that income comes research and marketing tools. Those tools are the thing that makes our church outreach more effective than ever before.
There are 2 features to help with this…
Create posts like you normal would and watch the reach (how many people interact with it)
Chose the posts that people interacted with the most and pay to boost them
Target your post to reach your church or community
Costs as little as $1 per day
Increases the likelihood of being seen by your fans and community
Power Editor – Facebook Ad Creation Program
Pick a budget
Per day or per campaign options
Costs as little at $1–5 A Day
More effective reach for $30–40 Per Campaign
Create a delivery schedule
Length of campaign
Days of week for campaign
Time of day for campaign
Create an ad
Link to follow
Send it out
Track the results with Power Editor analytics
There is no other advertising medium that allows you to speak to your specific audience for so little money.
Because of the nature of Twitter paying isn’t the only option. You can start by making sure to…
Post multiple times a day to hit the 2-3 post minimum for 30% engagement
Use a scheduling service to free up your time
Don’t copy and paste the same tweet (retweets are allowed but duplicate posts are discouraged)
Address the same topic in multiple ways and post them throughout the day
Use hashtags for your posts
Interact with other people utilizing your hashtags
Use shortened links to send people to your website