We all know it. That movie trailer voice that we have all tried to emulate at least once in our lives. I want you to use that voice in your head when you read the next few sentences, mainly just for dramatic effect…and to see if any of you actually did it out loud. Ready? GO!
Imagine a world, where your church social platforms were exploding. Where a team of church volunteers were inspired to be a part of something bigger than themselves. A team of Digital Missionaries that are committed to supporting the vision and goals of reaching the people in your community through church social platforms. Where the Communications Team is leading an army of people to punch holes in the darkness for the Kingdom of God on their social media platforms.
Typically, while I don’t use the voice (although maybe I should), when I am sitting with church staff members or Communication teams, this is the point where the pens (or devices) are laid down, there is a lean back in the chairs, and arms slowly cross. Then, as if cosmically timed across every one of these conversations…a breath is taken, the heads tilt, and then it happens. “That would change my world!” or “Is that really possible? Because it would revolutionize how we communicate!”
Good news! It is possible! And, the even better news is that it’s not as difficult as you may be thinking. I’ve worked on several large church staffs, so I know exactly what crossed your mind: “I don’t have time for this” or “I don’t have the bandwidth to get this done”. Let me show you how to get started with four simple steps.
Develop the Plan
Every good strategy starts with thinking through what the goals will be. People follow vision, so a social media strategy that is more about posting information to those already inside your church (read bulletin board for members) is not a path people feel inspired to follow you down. Before building a team of Digital Missionaries, you must have a social media strategy that is easy to connect with and to communicate. At D373, we spent months researching and understanding current algorithms to build a scaleable social media strategy (called The 8 Buckets of Social Media) that is guaranteed to expand the reach of your church within your community. So, take your time. Really think through your plan and strategy.
It’s critical to remember that if you want to reach people outside of your church, you must learn about and leverage current social media algorithms. You may not like them. There may be people on church staff who do not even like social media. But the fastest way to reach people outside your church walls using algorithms to your advantage, instead of fighting against them. Do you know what one of the biggest algorithms right now is? Conversation. That means if conversation isn’t happening on your posts, then most of the time not even the people who follow your Page will see the content you are putting out there.
Identify and Invite
Once you feel good about your strategy and plan, get all of the ministry leaders in your church to identify 5-10 people (or however many you want to invite) that are active on their personal social platforms. For ease of mind, you may want to stay away from the obnoxious, mean, or overly political people…but you do you. Once those members are identified, invite them to a specific event and make it a BIG DEAL to be invited. Here’s an example:
“We’ve noticed how well you relate to others and represent our church and we are grateful for you! We would like to formally invite you to become a part of a new ministry team we are creating called, Digital Missionaries. Please consider joining us on [date] as we explore how this team will impact our community in ways we’ve never seen before. Oh, and there will be free food!”
Tip: free food is always good collateral for getting people to attend.
It’s crucial to your goal to make sure that your entire staff (especially your senior pastor) is also committed to attending this gathering. If your staff is inviting people but does not show up themselves, it automatically sends the message this really isn’t that important, and the reality is, this is MASSIVELY important. Don’t underestimate the power of being present.
Build that Team
You’ve done the work. Now inspire. When I do these types of training events for churches, I like to say this is 20% information and 80% inspiration. This is your time to shine as a leader. Yes, inform them on all the points of your strategy and why they are important, but don’t stop there. Inspire them to the point they are so fired up to be a part of this team. Include biblical applications, current statistics, and stories of how this could change everything for your church. I can see the look in your eyes. You’re thinking, “What on earth does that even look like?”
Here are some ideas:
- Tell the story of Hagar (Genesis 16), the one person in the Bible that gave God a name…The God Who Sees Me (El Roi). If God is the God who sees you, then He’s the God who sees the people outside your church walls too.
- Remind them that non-believers don’t read the Bible, but they do read Christians. All day long.
- Do an experiment about conversations with them in the room. Post something on your Page and walk them through the best ways to engage and converse (remember: trigger those algorithms!). Do this at the beginning and then at the end, showing the difference it makes and then keep them informed over the next few days on the continued progress.
- Ask them to keep an eye and ear out for good stories of life change within the church. The best stories are usually exchanged throughout the congregation…not from staff seeking them out.
These are just a few ideas to help you get the ball rolling for your own event. Be energetic. Don’t make the time together boring. The goal is for people to walk out of that training incredibly pumped to be a part of something out of the box like this.
Cultivate That Culture
Put everyone who was there, including staff, into a private Facebook Group and keep them informed on goals, accomplishments, and life. That means do life with them. Let it become a true ministry team for your church. Have get togethers outside of the digital space. Most importantly, keep reminding them of their value and gifts.
See? That wasn’t so bad, was it? If you still think you don’t have the time or energy to put into this but you see the value of it…again, I have good news. I wouldn’t be a good Christian Business Entrepreneur if I didn’t at least let you know that our company, D373, does all of this and more for churches we partner with.
Using our scaleable, customized, strategy for churches, we equip, train, and build a thriving social media presence within your community on behalf of YOUR church. We understand your teams are often balancing far too many plates and struggle to keep up with all the responsibilities that are in front of you. If our services are of interest to you, we would love to talk with your church about how we can partner with your teams to help build a winning digital outreach strategy.
Lastly, think of the moon. It’s stunning. It’s bright and lights the way in the night for all of us. But you know what? The moon is not a source of light in and of itself. In fact, the only reason we are able to see it at all from planet earth is because the moon reflects the sun. We were not created to be the source of the Light. We were created to reflect the Son, Jesus Christ, in all we live, say, and do. That includes on Social Media platforms. What are you reflecting on yours?
Now go punch some holes in the dark.