Engaging People with FOMO *Fear of Missing Out

Supply and demand is not only a fundamental economic principle, but a cultural assumption. When the supply of a product or service becomes scarce, it becomes more valuable. If there is an unlimited availability, it simply remains worthless for people. Is it possible to leverage scarcity to drive engagement at your church?

Engagement continues to be a critical factor that many churches are looking to increase impact. We want more people to engage in our services, on our service teams and in our mid-week groups. Scarcity is a powerful tool to help drive engagement and, ultimately, growth at your church. With “Sunday always coming” we give the perception that there is no scarcity to our activities, however, here are five ways to position our ministry to drive more engagement using scarcity:

  • Seating in Auditorium // Church works better full. It’s just true. Church leaders love Easter and Christmas because their auditoriums are fuller than normal. The feeling of only a few empty seats creates a positive vibe in the church. What if your church reduced the seating capacity at some “non-prime time” services to help create that sort of buzz every week? I’ve seen this done at some of the fastest growing churches in the country. They will offer a multiple service times but in the “off prime” services they will remove seats to compress the audience together. This could be done by either removing the seats or using “pipe and drape” to block off a section or two.
  • Group Start Up Windows // A common strategy for churches encouraging people to get into a mid-week group is by limiting the windows people can join. In the beginning, this seems counter-intuitive because it would appear that allowing people to join whenever they are ready is a better strategy. However, churches that limit the window for people to join have found that there is a focused energy on joining before the window closes which helps move people into a group. Our friends at North Point Church use an event called GroupLink to help encourage people to attend. They’ve been employing this strategy for almost two decades and have seen consistent growth in their group attendance.
  • Discount Cliffs for Sign Ups // Is your youth group heading out on a retreat in the coming season? Are you tired of everyone signing up in the last week to go? By providing a financial incentive to sign up early you’ll move some of your families to register sooner to get the lower price. The best practice is to have 3 different prices with a cost spread of about 15% for the lowest price which is the “super early bird” rate. Not only will this move your registrations earlier and help you plan better for the event but over time as you repeat this strategy you’ll notice a change in the registration trends and be better at predicting registrations. This strategy can be employed with any event where you need people to pay a fee to register.
  • Free Ticketing for Big Days // Christmas Eve and Easter continue to be critical times for churches to reach out into their community. Many leading churches will use some form of free tickets for these big days to encourage people to register ahead of time for the event. The scarcity of tickets “selling out” encourages the community to invite their friends early so that they can get their desired service time. It also helps if your church members ask their friends for a confirmed commitment as the scarcity of the tickets means that they need to actually register their intent. Free ticketing also results in the church gaining the contact information of every registrant before the event occurs. You can use this contact information to plan your follow up with guests before the event even happens.
  • Series Preaching // Prevailing churches package up their content into 4-8 week “series” that help provide a framework on what the church is discussing. Rather than just having one sermon after another, series preaching allowing the communicator to have a “story arch” that goes from one week to the other. This adds scarcity to our Sunday mornings as each series has a “beginning, middle & end” which encourages people to attend. Expanding churches use a collection of approximately 4-week long series on average which means they get 12 opportunities a year to engage with their community with a “limited time offer” on their sermons.

Connect with an Auxano Navigator to learn more about engaging people in your church.


> Read more from Rich.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

6 Places Where Vision Communication Must Be Clear

Clarity is the highest goal of all church communications. Our role is to cut through the clutter and deliver the message we are giving with as much precision as possible. In order to do that we employ a wide variety of tactics to persuade people towards the goals that we’ve set. In an effort to persuade our communications can slip to a place where they stop being clear and become just clever. We can become too self-impressed with how we’re communicating the message that the content of the message is lost.

Here are a handful of times that I’ve seen churches lose clarity when communicating with their community:

  • Family Ministry Environment Names // When a first time guest sees the names of your kid’s and student’s ministries do they make sense? If I have an infant do I take them to “WhizBangLand” or “GrowUpGang”? Too many churches employ clever ministry names that don’t make sense to people outside of the church. It’s the ultimate insider focused tactic to use names that are not self-evident to guests. Make sure people can clearly understand the signage and printed materials about your family ministry environments without having to interpret what they mean.
  • Campus Location Labeling // Too often churches attempt to be clever by naming campuses using relative locations to the original campus … Crossroads Church North, St. Paul’s East … the problem is that naming convention assumes that the new campus is a small satellite of something larger. Quickly after you launch people will attend the new location that have never been to the original campus … when you use a naming convention that points back to the first location it diminishes the work in the new campus. Pick an approach to labeling the new location that casts vision for the community for want to reach … Crossroad Church Essex County, St. Paul’s Uptown.
  • Graphic Design // Can I speak to the graphic designers for a minute? There is a difference between something looking amazing and it communicating clearly. Most of the great art I’ve ever seen is ambiguous and hard to understand what the artist is saying. The fact that I need to wrestle with the meaning of the piece is what makes it art. Your role as a graphic designer is to use elements of design to communicate a message. Communication leads … art follows. It would be prettier to have the super slender font on that flyer … but people wouldn’t understand that it’s talking about. This isn’t a tension to be managed … communication comes before beauty … function before form.
  • Next Steps // Once people start attending your church for a while they will be looking for their next steps to getting connected. Often I’ve seen churches call their first steps for new people some fancy name that just doesn’t make sense on the surface … Discovery Class, Engage, Connection. By definition, people who are new to your church don’t have any sense of your “integration process” and are just wondering what they should do first. At our church we call this environment First Step because we want it to be the first thing people who when they come to our church. This is also the case when you ask people to take any sort of “next step” in their spiritual journey. Make the right next step obvious and clear.
  • Financial Reporting // Report your finances in a way that can be easily understood by “non-financial” people. Use plain language, simple charts and clear commentary when talking about the financial state of the church. Financials are not self-evident to most people. We need to provide simple commentary that helps people benchmark what is happening in the life of the church. Bold clarity in this area will build trust with your donors and ultimately encourage them to give more to your ministry. If people don’t understand this part of what happens at your church they will be less likely to give. Active obfuscation of the truth is the shortest route to financial ruin of a church.
  • Online Calls to Action // Your church’s website probably has too many options on it. When people arrive at your site what do you want them to “do”? Are you focusing their attention on just a few next steps rather than a wide variety of options? Every ministry wants to be “featured” on your site … but if you “feature” them all you will just generate clutter and noise for your guests. Often we use our websites to move people to action in our church … asking them to donate, join a small group, volunteer for a team, connect with our team, etc … but when we pile on the “calls to action” each new ask erodes the impact of the last.

Read more from Rich.


Want help keeping your communication clear? Find out more about Auxano’s Communication service.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

7 Ways to Help Your Church Guests Feel Welcome Without Selling Out

We will do anything short of sin to reach people who don’t know Christ. To reach people no one is reaching, we’ll have to do things no one is doing. – Craig Groeschel

I know there are some church leaders who read that quotation from Craig Groeschel and throw up a little in their mouths. They’re convinced that their job is to preach the word and disciple people and not worry about stuff like guests’ experiences at services. In fact, some leaders look down their noses at churches that go out of their way to create environments that unchurched people love to attend. They’re concerned about growing Christ-followers and don’t want to worry about marketing, customer service, communications or similar issues. They just want to preach the word courageously and not concern themselves with pedestrian matters such as how people feel when they come to church.

The problem is that the Scriptures are clear that to worry about the outsider is core to being a follower of Christ. In fact, the entire weight of Scripture is about creating space for people who are outside of the faith to join us. Even in the Old Testament, we see God instructing his people to defer to strangers and make room for them at the table. In an age when faiths were divided along racial and ethnic lines, Jesus presented the crazy notion that anyone from any background can gain access to God through faith in him alone. (What a radical idea!) We see New Testament leaders attempting to live out a faith that created space for a broader community of people … they made space for outsiders.

“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.” – Colossians 4:5 (ESV)

Today, that leaves us to work out what this looks like for our churches. How can we create spaces where people feel welcome at our churches regardless of their spiritual background? What can we do to ensure that unchurched people know they are welcome to our experiences every weekend? How can we do this in a way that doesn’t compromise the core of our experiences, if we’re concerned about that? Here are 7 ways to help unchurched people feel welcome that don’t impact our teaching or music ministries:

  • Create Helpful Signage // Do people know how to find their way around your facility? Can they easily get from their cars to wherever they drop off their kids to their seats in the main auditorium? Most churches I’ve been to don’t have enough signage. They assume people know way too much. Exterior signage lets newcomers know they are in the right place. Interior signage should guide them through the experience while reducing stress.
  • Introduce Platform People // When someone gets up to talk from the platform, make sure they introduce themselves or that someone else does a quick introduction. “Hi, my name is James and I’m one of the pastors around here.” A simple introduction helps unchurched people get a sense of who everyone is and helps them know who they should talk to afterward. When people just get up and start talking or leading without any context, it leaves guests wondering who the person is and why they are talking.
  • Expect Guests // You know that feeling when you go a friend’s house and it feels like they were ready for you? It feels great, right? What about the opposite feeling: when you go over to someone’s house and you get the distinct feeling that they aren’t ready for you? It’s easy to start wondering whether they want you over at all, isn’t it? The same is true when guests visit your church. Even a few things that anticipate guests communicate that you are ready and expecting them. Examples include signs in the parking lot for new guests, a gift ready for them at an information desk, or trained volunteers at the kids’ check-in who know how to handle new guests well.
  • Explain What’s Happening // Every church has some form of ritual or patterns that it follows. If we don’t take a moment to explain them to people, they can be confusing to follow. Don’t assume people understand what is happening or that they know how they should engage. Communion is a particularly thorny one for people … are they supposed to dip not sip or take a gulp and then some bread? Slowing down and giving a brief explanation of what is taking place goes a long way in making sure people feel welcome! Taking time to frame what’s happening in your church during the announcements is also an important part of making guests feel welcome!
  • Give Context to Passages // Many people don’t know the Bible but they want to understand it better … that’s why they are coming to your church! Don’t assume people know anything about the passages that you are talking about; instead, provide a little context. This doesn’t need to be heavy Greek or a never-ending history lesson, just some understanding of where the Bible verses you are talking about fall into the broader narrative. Give some context so people can dig into the content you are presenting.
  • Serve Their Kids Well // When parents come to your church, they usually look at the experience through the eyes of their kids. When you go out of your way to serve their kids, you also serve their parents. Often, kids are nervous when they go into a new space. Make sure your team is ready to receive new kids well. Have activities that can engage kids right away. Guests often arrive earlier than your typical church attendee, so make sure your team is in place in plenty of time to greet guests well. Work hard to make sure the check-in process is smooth, simple and secure. Family ministry is a critical area for churches, so lead this team well.
  • Fix Your Website // 46% of church guests said that a church’s website was important in picking a church to visit. [ref] It really is the front door to your church. Chances are good that your guests will check out your site before they check out your services. Make sure the basic contact information is easy to find, including service times, the location and the phone number to call if people have any questions. Let people know what to expect by answering key questions, such as how long the service will be, what people usually wear and what services are provided for kids. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly so people can use it on their phone or tablet.

Read more from Rich.


Learn how to create an EXCEPTIONAL Guest Experience at Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp coming to Charlotte, NC on August 29-30.


 

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Helps to Leading a Generous Church

Church leaders worry about money. They worry about the church being able to pay its bills. They see the gap between the vision they believe God has given them and the reality of the contents of the offering plate. They’re nervous about what will happen if they can’t finish the year strong financially. Most pastors go into ministry because they want to care for people. Then they are rudely awakened to the reality that they are actually running a small business.

Years ago, I listened to an interview with Willow Creek’s Bill Hybels on tape … that tells you how long ago it was … and he said something that has stuck with me: “If the only thing that is holding back the vision of your church is money, you need to get out and raise it!” Not rocket science but it stayed with me. Part of our role as church leaders is raising the financial resources necessary to accomplish the vision God has given us. It’s not magical or mystical … it’s just work.

In the same vein, I’ve seen so many people get fired up in their own spiritual lives by increasing their generosity. Living a life that is about giving instead of acquiring is a core discipleship truth that people need to learn. People win when we help them grow in generosity. In a world obsessed with consumption, our pastoral responsibility is to show people a better way to a generous life. Some church leaders don’t want to “talk about money” because of the stigma associated with it. They are robbing people of a potential spiritual breakthrough!

Here are some resources to help you increase the culture of generosity in your church:

  • Offering Talks // Taking a moment before you receive the offering to frame that experience is one of the ways you can encourage generosity without feeling like a used car salesman. As you thank people for being generous, they move toward being more generous. The resource below walks you through what makes a great offering talk. It even provides you with sample scripts to put into action right away.
  • Year-End Campaigns // The last 45 days of the year are a critical time in non-profit fundraising. Our culture is primed to give to “philanthropic causes” around the end of the year but most churches ignore the opportunity to see a 10-15% bump in their annual revenue. Think through a strategic plan to cast vision for giving to your church like any other non-profit that contacts donors during this time. It can help fund great ministry opportunities for the coming year. This resource walks through the essential steps for a successful campaign in the next Christmas season:
  • Major Campaign Initiatives // At some point in the histories of most churches, they need to cast a compelling “game-changing” vision and ask people to give far above and beyond what they normally give. Major giving campaigns that fund new campuses, new ministry initiatives or traditional bricks-and-mortar projects are still a mainstay. I’ve led two major multi-million dollar campaigns and from experience I can say that doing it with a trusted advisor is preferred over “doing it alone!” Find out some of the things they won’t tell you:
  • Tithe Challenge // What would happen if you asked people to take Malachi 3:10 at face value for 90 days? “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’” Then if people don’t experience the transformation we believe they will through generous giving, you return their offering to them. Sounds crazy, right? After studying a few other churches that did this tithe challenge, we’ve done it for the last three years. It continues to be a fruitful tool and people say their perspectives on generosity were challenged and changed because of it. Here are some questions I would challenge you to ask before deciding to head into a 90-day tithe challenge campaign:
  • Be Seen to Be Generous // People need to be led and taught in lots of areas of their lives. They need to be shown what it looks like to have an authentic prayer life and they need to see healthy relationships modeled for them. The same is true for seeing what generosity looks like. Churches need to model generosity on a corporate level as a part of the journey toward people being generous with us. One of my core convictions as a leader is that people are drawn to generous organizations … if we’re stingy with our resources then they will be too. If we’re generously reaching out and helping others around us, then people will follow suit. Listen to this interview with a leader of a church that is doing an amazing job leveraging assets in a tangible way to be a blessing to their community:

Read more from Rich.


Learn more about becoming a generous church. Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Resourcing >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Communication Tasks to Stop Doing

How your church presents itself visually is incredibly important. People are increasingly visual learners, so your church needs to ensure it presents a compelling visual aesthetic in everything you do. Even if you have a graphic designer on your staff, the increased visual needs can be difficult to keep up with. You need to keep things fresh and current, and in order to do that you need help.

In the past, we’ve talked about using Virtual Assistants in local churches. Today, we want to challenge you to “outsource” some of the graphic design tasks your church should be doing to a third-party design firm. We strongly endorse Design Pickle. They provide flat rate, unlimited design services for a fraction of what it costs to hire a full-time designer. We’d encourage your church to check it out — drop by this site to learn more. Here are five design tasks you should consider outsourcing right away:

  • Social Media Graphics // To keep people engaged on social media, you need to keep feeding Facebook, Instagram and whatever other networks you connect on new visuals. Take images of your senior pastor teaching and combine them with quotes from the messages for compelling quote squares. Repurpose the announcement slides from your weekend services into social media infographics that remind people about upcoming events at your church. Both of these tasks are really template driven and disappear so quickly — it’s best to outsource them to another firm rather than having your team do them.
  • Repurposed Series Graphics // Many churches create compelling series graphics that entice people to attend their church. Often a core look is created and then derivatives of that image are produced (e.g., cover for the program, Facebook cover, website header graphics, email header, Twitter square, etc.). Rather than having your team do all the “downstream” work, have them focus on the core creative work and then pass the “repurposing” on to a third-party group to do.
  • Department Flyers // Your youth department has new events every few weeks. They need great looking flyers but you don’t want the youth ministry staff spending time making their flyers look pretty … you want them building up leaders and reaching students. Have your team pull together the event name, description “blurb,” and date/time/location details, along with a couple other advertisements they like, and give them to a firm like Design Pickle to do the work. The student team will be happy because they will get more design time and variety. If you have a communications department, they will be happy for not having to dream up a new approach every time.
  • Sunday Morning Slides // Many churches have a “slide rotation” that plays before every service. These pre-service ads often include information about upcoming events, images of staff and general information about the church. Keeping these images up to date can be a pain, as the information on them is constantly in flux. (Not to mention that not many people are sitting in most auditoriums before the start of the service, meaning the design team has low motivation to do these graphics!) Why not email the changes on these graphics to a third-party firm every week and have them turn around what needs to be done?
  • Internal Reports // You know that boring chart you send to people every month? How about that monthly report you do for your leadership team? What about those slides at your quarterly staff meeting? The people receiving your internal communications deserve it to look great. Often churches with great “external facing” graphics have really crappy looking internal communications. That shouldn’t be so! Excellent communications with your team breeds excellence as they interact with their teams. Send those internal communications pieces to a low-cost external firm to make sure they look great and communicate what you want them to.

The key to any third-party service like outsourced graphic design is thinking of it as a way to increase your reach and impact — not just as a way to decrease cost. You’re doing more for less. Look for strategically important graphic design tasks that are regular and repetitive … those are great candidates for passing off to another firm.

> Read more from Rich.


Would you like to learn more about improving your communications? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

4 Ways to Lead Change with Your Team

You have a meeting coming up with your team in which you need to walk them through a change at your church … how should you structure the information? The way you communicate change is a critical part of the process.

The following approaches work well as frameworks for presentations in meetings. You could also use them in any communications to your team: emails, voice memos, ebooks, etc. When you are in the middle of a “change management” process, you need to communicate information over and over … don’t get stuck in a rut! Use a variety of approaches to explain why change is critical at your church.

  • The List // Create a list of items related to what you are talking about. The order doesn’t matter, but together the items should cover the entire topic. (Clearly, we use this framework all the time at unSeminary.)
    • Helpful: When there is a wide variety of items to present. Easy for people to jump in and out of.
    • Limitations: It can feel like a “fire hose” of information that people are left to categorize on their own.
    • Examples: 6 Changes Our Church is Making to Summer Camp; 12 Reasons We’re Canceling Sunday Evening Service; 3 Tools for Inviting Your Friends Next Weekend
    • [Click to download List PowerPoint Template]
  • Chronological // Take people on a journey! Start with what happened first and then lead them through the timeline of what happened next and finally to where things are going.
    • Helpful: This approach can be particularly helpful in “change management” situations because you can show how the future is connected to where the church has already been. This will reduce some people’s anxieties.
    • Limitations: Choose the “starting point” wisely. It needs to be the agreed upon beginning to move people towards where you are headed. If you start in the wrong part of the story, you’ll lose some people.
    • Examples: How Summer Camp Has Evolved Over the Years; The Story of How People Grow at Our Church; How Bill Got Connected to Our Church
    • [Click to download Chronological PowerPoint Template]
  • Compare & Contrast // Draw out the differences between two ideas or approaches to show where you want to go.
    • Helpful: This works particularly well when people have experienced what you are comparing. Take people to a church that is excelling in one area and compare it to how your church is performing in the same area.
    • Limitations: This approach can be distracting if the comparison isn’t crystal clear because you’ll spend most of your time bringing people up to speed, rather than focusing on how it should impact your church.
    • Examples: Lessons Learned from Walt Disney World to Apply to Our Camp; A Survey of Service Times from 10 of the Fastest Growing Churches in the Country; How Chick-fil-A Grows and What that Means for Our Church
    • [Click to download Compare & Contrast PowerPoint Template]
  • Problem & Solution // Explore the problem your church is facing and then present the solution to relieve it! “Aggravating” the problem is key to this approach. People need to feel and understand the problem before they will move forward. We change when the pain of staying the same is bigger than the pain to change.
    • Helpful: Great for when the stakes are high and change needs to happen quickly. Draws a stark contrast between what is and what needs to be.
    • Limitations: Use this approach sparingly and wisely. When done effectively, people will feel the pain associated with not changing. However, sometimes that pain generates unpredictable responses in how people respond.
    • Examples: Camp Is Broken … This is How We’ll Fix It; Better Uses for Sunday Evenings at Our Church; What Happens When People Stop Inviting Friends to Church
    • [Click to download Problem & Solution PowerPoint Template]

> Read more from Rich.


Want to learn more about communicating for change? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

6 Bad Habits Affecting Your Church Announcements

Announcements are a great tool for moving people to action. [I wrote all about this in my ebook called Effective Announcements.] However, it can be difficult to keep them fresh and creative every weekend. Even worse, the people who do them can get lazy and some bad habits sneak in that undermine their effectiveness. Here are some of the bad habits for church announcements I’ve seen over the years:

  • Constant weather updates // Commenting on the weather all the time is verbal diarrhea for church leaders. It’s a crutch when you don’t know what else to say … don’t do it! Add a high-value transition, like commenting on what just happened in the service rather than what a great day is it outside.
    • BONUS: The same is true about over-commenting on sports. Use it sparingly!
  • Last-minute additions // It’s Sunday morning and someone from your kids ministry pleads with you to sell a special event happening on Tuesday evening. Don’t do it! Last-minute additions never pay the response dividends that people are looking for and they short circuit a well-planned communications strategy. Remember … it’s always bad to add!
  • “Blessings” and other insider language // I don’t know what it is about doing announcements that makes people add all kinds of “churchy” language. Rather than talking about how great the youth event was … they talk about what a blessing it was for the youth to fellowship in that way. WHAT? Use language that makes sense to people who don’t normally attend church. (And stop taking up those “clap offerings”!)
  • Shielding your eyes from the light // You go on stage and there are bright lights so people can see you. But you want to be able to see them, so you make a “hand over your eyes” shield. Stop that! It takes people out of the moment, reinforces the fact that those lights are there, and makes people feel disconnected from you because they can’t see you.
  • Not introducing people // Who are all those people on stage with you? If you’ve ever visited a church and not known who is on stage, you’ll know how disorienting it is. Take 10 seconds and introduce everyone … it puts first-time guests at ease.
  • Weird prayers // One of the reasons we pray in public is because it models what a “normal” prayer life is like. However, some church leaders fall into the trap of trying to impress people with big words or overly complex prayers. Don’t do it … model a prayer life that uses normal language to connect with God. It’s a simple way to help people take their next steps in this vitally important part of their spiritual lives.

> Read more from Rich.


Would you like to know more how to use announcements in a powerful, positive way that reinforces your vision? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Leveraging Social Media to Help Extend the Discipleship Experience Beyond Sundays

According to a recent Pew Study, 69% of internet users utilize social media on a regular basis. The same reported showed that 92% of internet users aged 18-29 used social media regularly. [Pew Internet // Social Media Usage Report]

The age of living our private lives in the public sphere is upon us.

How are you leveraging social media in your church to help extend the learning and discipleship experience beyond Sunday and into the rest of the week? Here are some quick ideas that you could try:

  • Hashtag // Ask your people to use a specific #hashtag during the Sunday morning service to gather up quotes and reflections on the experience.
  • Post a Picture // During the week ask your community to use Instagram to take a picture of where they read their Bible regularly … or a picture of something that reminds them of the message from Sunday.
  • Share a Song List // Ask your worship team to start sharing the set lists from the weekend on Spotify and then encourage your people to follow those playlists.
  • Share Your Slides // Post your slides from the weekend service to Slide Share and encourage your people to share comments about the message and post the slides to their social profiles.
  • Video Reaction // Ask your church to post video responses to the message through YouTube and then share a few of the most interesting the following week.
  • Message Notes // Open up a publicly editable Google Doc at the beginning of the message and broadcast the link to it while asking your people to help make collaborative notes on the message from that service.

What about you? How could you see using social media to extend the discipleship experience beyond the weekend?

> Read more from Rich.


Would you like to learn more about the effective use of social media? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Steve Saunders — 11/21/15 7:18 am

Thanks Rich, great article. I have seen a couple of these have a great effect, thanks for the rest.

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

4 Communication Lessons Churches Can Learn from the Brian Williams Controversy

Brian Williams seems like a good guy. He’s been married for almost 30 years … consistently reported news to the American public for NBC News for almost as long … gosh, the guy even won “Father of the Year”! [ref]

Over the last six months, it all started to unravel for him. He was caught bending the truth in a number of stories to make himself sound even better than he is and it cost him a lot. The pattern is that as time passed he put himself closer to the action than he really was for dramatic effect. Rather than seeing a helicopter being fired on, he told the story of how the helicopter he was in was shot down … instead of reporting on what the SEAL team did in Iraq, he claimed to be there with them … he reported that he arrived at the Berlin Wall as it was coming down, but in fact he arrived the next morning.

This story makes my skin crawl, because the same impulse that was inside Brian Williams is inside me. I can see the pride that drove him to do this, because I see that same pride in myself. Unless we keep our egos in check, we can find ourselves in the same spot that Brian did, bending the truth to put ourselves closer to the center of the action so people will be drawn to us.

The Brian Williams controversy brings up some areas we should think about carefully as we communicate in our churches:

  • Let the truth get in the way of a good story // Sometimes the truth isn’t a good story. It’s not as neat and tidy as we’re tempted to make it. What actually happened doesn’t fit the narrative we’re trying to tell, so we are tempted to nip and tuck the story to fit the point we’re trying to make. We push the story from being polished to being re-written. Don’t force a story to become bigger, better or more interesting than it actually is to get your point across. Use a clip from a movie or television show … those people are in the storytelling business and will get your point across in a form that is clearly narrative in nature. (Preachers: Pay close attention to this with your kids. If you tell a story that doesn’t sound like what actually happened, they will know and it will erode their trust.)
  • How big is your church? Really? // Is your Sunday morning attendance averaging 415, but you report it as almost 500 attending? Did 20 students and 10 leaders attend your youth event, but you said close to 40 people came? Did 102 people sign up for your conference, but you report well over 100 people are signed up already? It’s so easy and tempting to fall into this game. So much about ministry is difficult to track and measure, so we hold onto attendance numbers as a sign of our effectiveness. We want to be bigger than we are, because we believe it shows greater effectiveness. I recently learned that one of the largest churches in the country under-reports its numbers by a significant margin, because their lead pastor doesn’t want to get caught up in this game. My respect for that leader and this ministry shot up! I was also humbled, because I’ve played this game in the past.
  • We’re not that big of a deal // I think part of where it started to unravel for Brian Williams was when he ventured beyond reporting on the news to becoming a personality. A number of times when he embellished stories, he wasn’t on the news program, but on other entertainment-oriented programs (Late Night with David Letterman, Saturday Night Live, etc.). Being a news anchor is not nearly as exciting or adventurous as what most of the guests on those programs do. Brian stretched the truth to distance himself from his normal day job and make himself look cooler. We face the same temptation as church leaders. If there was a scale of “social importance” or “coolness factor,” church leadership would be low on the list and getting lower all the time. It’s a noble calling, but what we do is misunderstood by wide segments of our communities and we could face a similar temptation to make what we do sound cooler than it actually is. I remember hearing the story of a pastor who introduced himself as a “life coach and motivational speaker,” because pastor didn’t sound good enough. I threw up a little when I heard that. We’re church leaders and, honestly, it’s not that cool. Even the biggest of churches are dwarfed by the communities they serve. Avoid the temptation to jazz up what we do for a living.
  • Style over substance // Brian Williams looks like he was genetically constructed to anchor the news. In fact, he has shaped his appearance, speech patterns, gestures, eye contact and more to play that role. He was playing a character and he tried to extend it into more exciting roles. Leading within the church can present itself with a similar challenge. If we’re not careful, we can focus on external cues that help people follow us—our looks, the pattern of our speech, our clothing, etc.—but fail to develop our internal character. I recently heard a friend give some stellar advice to another friend who is the “heir apparent” to a large church. He encouraged his friend to “work on your character so when the time comes to assume leadership, you’ll have the internal life to actually accept it fully.” There is a “performance side” to our leadership within the church. We need to foster the internal spiritual life to match the external life we display for people.

I’d love to hear from you. In what other areas do you think church leaders are tempted to bend the truth? When have you been tempted?

> Read more from Rich.


Would you like to learn more about communication tips and techniques? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Communication >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Reasons It’s More Important for Pastors to Use Social Media Than Churches

When I first encountered Facebook it was when I was at a speaking event on a University campus that had access to up-start social network trying to take on MySpace. The student leaders we met with for lunch we’re talking about this amazing new tool for connecting with each other. It seemed like a fun “on campus trend” but never did I imagine the impact it would have on the ministry world.  How could a tool that made it easier for a group of students figure out which pub they were heading to impact our church?

My conviction is that pastors as individuals need to be on social media.  It’s more important that church leaders leverage these tools for ministry than churches use them as organizations. As a church leader are you using these tools as an extension of your ministry or are you still stuck on the outside of this trend wondering if it really can have any impact on your ministry? You need to jump in and get connected! Here a few reasons why it’s important for you to use these tool personally …

  • Distant from Your People // If you are silent on social media you will increasingly be seen as aloof and disconnected as you refuse to be transparent to your community. Imagine a preacher who never told any stories about themselves? People will see you in the same light if you don’t use these tools.
  • Personal Medium // 87 of the top 100 accounts on Twitter are for people not brands or organizations. These tools are designed to make personal connection with people. As a church you can leverage them … but they are meant for people to connect with individuals.
  • Content Curation // Your people are out in the internet finding content of spiritual significance. Using social media to point to other sources of uplifting content is a part of your role. Equipping your people to follow Jesus can’t be outsourced to someone else … it’s a critical part of being a pastor. When you are silent on social media you are missing an vital opportunity to build up your community.
  • Insight Into People // Church leaders live in a bubble … often everyone we know is a part of the church. If we don’t work intentionally at it we will become isolated from the world we are attempting to reach. Engaging in social media gives you insight into the lives of people around you. Listen and watch what people are talking about it … it will give you insights to be a better leader.
  • Don’t Be Left Behind // Social media is moving beyond a fun tool for people to connect with friends to a critical communications channel. Not personally using social media is like refusing to have an email address or deciding that cel phones are too modern of a technology … you will become increasingly left behind by culture. You will lose influence.

It’s not about being cool … it’s about connecting.

Read more from Rich here.


 

 

Would you like to learn more about social media and other practices in the area of Church Communication? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Dave Corlew — 02/23/15 9:13 am

Spot on. Great article. Thanks!

Chris Bucklew — 03/20/14 10:41 pm

Spiritual Leaders need to be a voice in society. And social media is a great place to connect, and shape society. For those who think it is a waste of time I simply refer you to 2 Corinthians 10. "The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity." - the Message Bible Facebook is a place to use our God-tools! So use them well.

Lisbon Jacobs — 03/20/14 10:45 am

Im a big believer in Social media and that we should adapt to what it has to offer,but we must know where to draw the line. Jesus in Matthew chapter 23 addresses the leaders of the day and and warns them about their proud ways,where they love to be greeted in the market places and to be seen by men,today that same thing is again creeping into the church,they love the 'likes' and al the comments they get,and they advertise themselves posing in their beautifull 'robes' bragging about the amount of hits they got on their latest revelation, and dont forget the long titles and resumes.... When we use social media lets not forget that our example is Christ and we should always show people to Him.Humility is His example.

Kirby Vardeman — 07/08/13 5:21 pm

No one said social media should replace shepherding. The concept is to use it as an adjunct to face to face interaction. Why are so many Internet Christians all or nothing reactionaries?

David Noah Taylor — 07/02/13 11:57 pm

I too, fully agree with your responce Miles, I just wonder why it even needs to be stated. That anyone could entertain the idea that virtual fellowship/shepherding could replace actual fellowship/shepherding is a commentary on the sad direction many Christians are heading. Communication through typing is a terrible way to attempt spiritual fellowship. Any real communication on a spiritual and personal level requires looking into someone's face, hearing the inflections in their voice and discerning their spirit. What's next... digital communion and baptism? Click here for ... worship? And what in the world (literally) is an online church? Where is 'Convient Christianity' leading? Lastly, if the Bible is our rule and precedent and we all know it should be, then the contemporary church has not become just less socially minded than the early church it has become less biblical... and thus less valid.

Jonathan McGuire — 07/02/13 9:10 pm

The general tone of the article is pragmatic and utilitarian. However, media ecologists the world over recognize that the use, or disuse, of such tech effects not only communication itself, but also those who use it. Such effects must be understood, discussed, and taken into account when used. Sometimes, (we) pastors should, indeed, refrain from such activities...and insist our people do so, too, due to the effects they have on human behavior, interaction, and ability to understand speech or read prolonged texts. But I did find this via a Facebook post.

Miles — 07/02/13 7:37 pm

I agree with the notion that ultimately people connect with people on Twitter/Facebook. I disagree with the notion that a pastor HAS to utilize these in order to be effective. Preaching God's Word and ministering to people (in real life) are the two most critical components of pastoring. Social media would be a contextual thing. In some places it's probably more beneficial to be active, but in rural areas I can guarantee it's not as influential. Regardless, social media is a tool that should be wielded well if used (not allowed to be a distraction), but it is in no way necessary for watching over the flock entrusted to you. I'll say it like this, if your interaction with someone is mostly on social media, it is likely a mostly shallow relationship.

Tony Costa — 07/01/13 12:11 pm

Good points, but I appreciate David's concerns as well. The Church at large has become much more "Anti-social" when compared to the early church. Social media has many great benefits, but the great caution is that it never replaces or compromises the pastor's responsibility to tend his sheep in person.

Kevin Wax — 07/01/13 10:40 am

Great article! My people use social media to talk to each other and their friends. If I don't know how to use this channel, or if I refuse to use this channel, I'm losing a real opportunity to encourage them in their walk with the Lord. Well said Rich!

Mike stallings — 06/05/13 1:57 pm

I couldn't agree more...relevance is diminished or enhanced to the degree Pastors are engaged and connected.

David Noah Taylor — 06/02/13 7:05 am

I don't want to appear as one more critical opininon giver ... but... just what are you doing to provide a living demonstration of the church of the scriptures? Spouting my opinion on the social media is fun ... but just what good does it do the people who want to see an answer to the mess called contemporary christianity? I am a missionary in Kenya and am pretty fed up with the western version of church. Sorry if this sounds too critical. People are sick of hearing about Jesus without a demonstraton of what He was saying.

Janice — 06/01/13 2:35 pm

Couldn't agree more. While I'm not as savy as I wish I was, I'm keeping up and learning more every day. Love it!!!

David Good — 05/29/13 9:23 am

Great article. Social Media is such a great tool. I can't understand why pastors don't take advantage of a resource that will take their leadership beyond the pulpit and into the daily lives of their people. Thanks for sharing your insights.

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

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