5 Church Communication Best Practices to Increase Giving

5 Church Communication Best Practices to Increase Giving

This week on TV, Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry are joined by church communication expert, Justin Dean, to discuss church communication trends changing giving.

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Modern Church leader
Publish date
November 7, 2018

This week on TV, Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry are joined by church communication expert, Justin Dean, to discuss church communication trends changing giving.

During their conversation, they talk about:

  • 3 simple ways you can improve your church communications
  • The deadly sins of church social media
  • 5 practical tips to increase church giving
  • 2 steps to maximize end of year giving


Here’s a list of resources mentioned during the show:


This week on TV, Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry are joined by church communication expert, Justin Dean, to discuss church communication trends changing giving.

During their conversation, they talk about:

  • 3 simple ways you can improve your church communications
  • The deadly sins of church social media
  • 5 practical tips to increase church giving
  • 2 steps to maximize end of year giving


Here’s a list of resources mentioned during the show:

podcast transcript

(Scroll for more)

This week on TV, Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry are joined by church communication expert, Justin Dean, to discuss church communication trends changing giving.

During their conversation, they talk about:

  • 3 simple ways you can improve your church communications
  • The deadly sins of church social media
  • 5 practical tips to increase church giving
  • 2 steps to maximize end of year giving


Here’s a list of resources mentioned during the show:

VIDEO transcript

(Scroll for more)

Dean Sweetman:  Hey, guys. Dean Sweetman here along with Frank Barry and my old mate, Justin Dean.

Justin Dean:    Hey, guys.

Dean Sweetman:  How are you man?

Justin Dean:    Good. Good.

Frank Barry:    Knuckles from over here.

Justin Dean:    Knuckles, nice.

Dean Sweetman:  Justin runs a conference called That Church Conference and it's all about communications in church. We're going to have a phenomenal conversation today wrapped around communication and giving and whatever the heck else we talk about.

Frank Barry:    Yeah, it's going to be awesome.

Justin Dean:    Who knows how this will go.

Dean Sweetman:  Tell us about That Church Conference. You just-

Frank Barry:    Wait, wait, wait. First, we want to know about Justin.

Dean Sweetman:  He's always butting in. I don't want to know about him.

Frank Barry:    Yes, we do.

Justin Dean:    Excuse me. Who is this guy?

Frank Barry:    The people watching want to know about Justin. Tell us-

Dean Sweetman:  Justin, tell us about yourself.

Frank Barry:    Give us your story.

Justin Dean:    Well, sure. You want to hear my background first? Okay.

Frank Barry:    Tell me.

Justin Dean:    I was communications director Mars Hill Church for about five years.

Frank Barry:    Seattle?

Justin Dean:    In Seattle. Yep, that Mars Hill.

Dean Sweetman:  Got it. Does it [inaudible 00:01:10].

Justin Dean:    That was fun. I had a great time there. I oversaw communications, marketing, PR, social media, all that stuff. Before that I was in tech start ups working in marketing for pretty much my entire career. When Mars Hill closed down about almost four years ago now, that's kind of crazy, it's been that long, we started That Church Conference. We teach churches how to best use communications and marketing. Kind of taking everything I learned and experienced at Mars Hill and we bring in other speakers. We just had our fourth annual conference last week.

Dean Sweetman:  Growing as ever.

Justin Dean:    It's growing. Next year's going to be twice as big at a new location. It's going to be pretty amazing.

Dean Sweetman:  What's kind of the reason behind the conference? What are the main goals? What are you trying to do for people who attend?

Justin Dean:    Well, I think it's hugely important for churches to pay attention to communications and marketing. What we saw is only the big mega churches really were putting any resources towards it. Most of the churches, as you guys know, are small to medium size churches and they just didn't have anybody on staff or even volunteers handling communications and marketing. Social media was still pretty new to churches four years ago, no one was really using it well. We saw that need of man, we need to make this important. Conferences at the time weren't even touching on this and we wanted to create something that was very hands on and practical. We brought in teachers that were working in the church, actual practitioners, who could just share case studies of what they've been working on, what's working for them. We've seen over the years ... our first conference we had everyone raise their hand if they were on staff in any kind of communications or social media role. A few people-

Dean Sweetman:  Like, [crosstalk 00:03:00].

Frank Barry:    Half raised? You got a couple of half raises.

Justin Dean:    ... raised their hand out of 200 people. Yeah, they were like, "Well, I don't know. I'm kind of paid, but I'm not really.

Dean Sweetman:  They give me donuts.

Justin Dean:    Yeah, exactly. Now, it's been four years. We've done that every year, and a good half of the room are more is now on staff, the other half are still volunteering at their church. It's becoming more and more important for churches to have these roles.

Frank Barry:    What does a church communications person do? When you were at Mars Hill you interact with this big community, what does that actually look like at a church? Because I don't think a lot of people have that role or think about that role or even when you say the word church marketing, I bet you some people-

Justin Dean:    It's like a negative [crosstalk 00:03:41].

Frank Barry:    Someone would hear that and they'd go, "Wait-

Dean Sweetman:  We just preach the gospel, brother.

Frank Barry:    ... we don't market." What does that person do?

Justin Dean:    I understand that to. A church should focus on preaching the gospel but we live in an age, Jesus knew the tools that we would have at our disposal. Go all the back to the printing press. When the printing press was made and as the Bible was able to print that changed the world. Now we've come 500 years and there's so many tools at our disposal that the church has kind of just ignored over the years. To me, the platform you can have online and through social media is larger than any pulpit out there. You can be the biggest church with 100 campuses and you can still reach more people through social media, through the web-

Dean Sweetman:  There's churches that might have 500 in attendance but they've got 5,000 online.

Justin Dean:    Oh, yeah. We're seeing that now. These small churches of 300 to 500 people have huge online influence and they're able to reach pretty much every nation out there through Facebook ads and through posts and through church online, live streaming, things like that. It's incredible. We're called to spread the gospel. That's the purpose of churches when it comes down to it. Why would we not want to use everything at our disposal to get that out to as many people as possible? That's where a communication's role comes into play. To me, if I were starting a church plant that would be probably the second or third role that I would hire for.

Dean Sweetman:  Really?

Justin Dean:    Not to knock worship leaders or student pastors, but I would honestly, after a lead pastor or maybe a second in charge, I would hire a communication's person because it's that important.

Dean Sweetman:  The return.

Justin Dean:    To be able to manage how you get that message out and to be able to have a higher return on that message.

Frank Barry:    On that note, I was talking to a buddy the other day about this topic. You can have 500 people in a church on a Sunday but reach 5,000 via social media and how often times churches have the volunteer or the summer intern or the whoever handling social media.

Justin Dean:    Yeah, the receptionist is handling social media while she's printing the bulletin.

Frank Barry:    Yeah, exactly. Churches clicking in to the fact that I can reach more people online-

Dean Sweetman:  If I do that.

Frank Barry:    ... and hopefully bring them in the doors too over time. Right?

Justin Dean:    Yeah, you want your church to grow as well too.

Frank Barry:    But I can reach more out there and why do I not put any resources into it?

Justin Dean:    Well, and that's what we're seeing over the last few years is that people are, "Okay. Sure. We'll devote some resources to this. Can you also handle social media? Can you also our website?" We're making some progress there. Now, we're seeing, okay, here's how to actually do that well and they're seeing more value in putting not only money but actual bodies at this kind of stuff. I think that we're seeing a lot of progress with it because it's more than just getting your message out to as many people as possible, we want to create disciples as well. There's a huge opportunity through social media to actually get to know people not just on Sunday but from Sunday to Sunday is what we say because you can interact with them throughout the week.

Justin Dean:    I share everything on social media as most people do but I'm not going to bring that stuff on a Sunday morning especially when you're sitting in a pew or a chair and you're watching a message. You might interact with people in the foyer but it's very high level. But on social media, we're sharing everything, not only what we eat but our struggles. In Facebook groups and things like that, we're getting even intimate now. My daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes not too long ago. We're able to connect with people through Facebook groups that we never could in person even. We're getting resources, we're getting support. A lot of that is through the church as well. The church should be involved in stuff like that, for sure. That's what we're kind of, we're trying to push that now of like, "Okay, it's not just posting come to church on Sunday, it's how can we actually meet your needs and build community online and connect with people online."

Dean Sweetman:  Communications is your thing.

Justin Dean:    Yeah, sure.

Dean Sweetman:  That's what I hear.

Frank Barry:    And tacos.

Dean Sweetman:  And tacos.

Justin Dean:    Tacos, yeah.

Dean Sweetman:  And other things.

Justin Dean:    I just had tacos at the taco truck.

Dean Sweetman:  Yeah, yeah, we love tacos. I would say you're a communications expert.

Justin Dean:    If you want to.

Dean Sweetman:  If I can. Let's bring it biblically for a second.

Justin Dean:    Sure.

Dean Sweetman:  No better communicator than Jesus.

Justin Dean:    Sure. Absolutely.

Dean Sweetman:  Give us some things that you've kind of biblically would apply to how we can communicate using social media.

Justin Dean:    Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, you look at the book of Proverbs, it's nothing but communications advice.

Dean Sweetman:  One line is like boom, boom, boom.

Justin Dean:    Yeah, exactly. Just little stingers of here's how best to relate to people. I think that that's what is at the heart of communications is how do we relate to people? How do we act and behave? What characteristics should we have? There's a ton to learn through there. Even the letters in Ephesians and things, there's lot of lessons that we can learn from there. I think the best example is to look at how Jesus communicates. Often he would answer a question with a question. He would tell a story. He would speak in parables and he would show examples. He wouldn't just answer and tell people, he knew the answer, obviously, he's God. He could have just here's the answer, here you go.

Dean Sweetman:  But he painted a picture.

Justin Dean:    No. He was like, "No, here's how I can make it relatable to you. Here's how I make sure you remember it. And here's a lasting story that will apply 2,000 years from now even." I think we can learn a ton from that. So often our communications are simply just trying to get the information out there, we're so worried. We treat it like advertising or like a billboard. Like our friend [Austy 00:09:31] Davis says like a megaphone often. Really, it needs to be conversational, it needs to be relational. We need to tell stories. One thing I tell pastors all the time is whether you're doing a giving ask or you're even telling your congregation invite people to church, you can tell them that all day long but unless you're giving them the tools to do that well by saying, "Hey. Here's how I actually invited someone when I was at Starbucks yesterday. Here's what I said. Here's how it went." You tell that story and you give an example of how they can do it. They can relate to it and they can go, "Well, I can do that." It's far more applicable than just saying invite your friends, which is a very scary thing.

Frank Barry:    Generic. Jesus a great story teller. There's this one time, this keeps coming up but it was sort of a training moment, Craig Groeschel was kind of showing a bunch of pastors how they did training at their church for speaking on stage. He had a couple of people from the audience come up live and go, "Okay, you're going to give an offering talk right after a message about adultery. Go." The pastor, these are all seasoned pastors mostly, would just off the cuff go and then he would live coach right there and get a little feed back from the room, but live coach. One of things both ... because he was just showing what they do at Life Church. One of the things that he went through with both guys was forcing them to tell a story. Like what they did didn't have good elements of the story at the beginning but in 10 minutes from the first time to the last time, it was just mind blowingly different because of how they wove in good stories.

Justin Dean:    That's what you remember. You remember the story, the applicable part of it is how you relate to it.

Dean Sweetman:  I ran the offering, so many parts. We've been doing some teaching here this week and we come up against this constantly. There's two kinds of people in ministry, people who know how to take offerings and people who don't. I'd say it's about 90% don't know how. There's lots of reasons for that. You're a communications guy. The offering, that's our wheel house, it's a big part of church life. What are some of the things that you've seen and tools and just ... you've been around church a long time. With your communication expertise, how could you help some pastors in that moment.

Justin Dean:    Going back to what we've been saying, communication is the same. It doesn't really matter what you're communicating there's some principles here that we're talking about that are applicable. If you're asking for people to donate, you need to tell the story of why. You need the story of how they can do it. You can't just ask for money anymore. You can't just tell them, hey, the Bible tells us to donate so you should. That doesn't work anymore. That worked back in your day.

Dean Sweetman:  I'll tell you, they just preached the Bible all the time. All the time, man, we just did what the word said. We didn't need any of this fluffy stuff but it's not like that now.

Justin Dean:    Exactly. That was a great time to be alive.

Dean Sweetman:  It was.

Justin Dean:    That's no longer the case.

Dean Sweetman:  It isn't.

Justin Dean:    People these days, they want to know why, they want to know where it's going. Honestly, the church has made some huge mistakes, the church as a whole, in mismanaging money and things like. You got to tell that story of how you're using it, why we should be giving, and how that can apply in your life. And then, show them the tools. There's so many tools. Obviously, what you guys offer-

Dean Sweetman:  The best.

Justin Dean:    ... is the best. It's top-notch. You make so easy to give these days through texting and through the apps and through websites and things like that. It's amazing to me that churches don't jump on those tools. There's still so many churches that don't use those tools.

Dean Sweetman:  Tens of thousands.

Justin Dean:    Yeah, isn't that crazy?

Dean Sweetman:  Maybe 100s. Maybe 100s of thousands.

Justin Dean:    It's so easy to implement. These days I don't know how churches survive without it. Honestly, churches are closing every year and this is probably got to be a huge part of it.

Dean Sweetman:  The technology's right in front of you and it's right there.

Frank Barry:    How do you extend ... so there's in church, so being a great communicator in all areas but taking up an offering and being good at communicating the why, the how, showing the impact, telling stories, all that's super important. From a communications perspective it extends outside of that moment, that's five minutes on a Sunday. What about the rest of the week? What have you seen churches do well from a communications perspective on the just generosity and giving. What's going well? What have you seen?

Justin Dean:    That's a huge opportunity too. We were talking about reaching people beyond just your pulpit and who's coming to your building each Sunday. If you're doing communications well and social media well you might be reaching a wider audience and those are people who need to give somewhere. If they're not part of a local church and they're watching online, then there's ways to teach them how to tithe and to donate as well. I think the churches that are doing it well are telling those stories even online. They're not scared to make that ask. Often if you just ask, people will give. Even at Mars Hill, every time there was an ask you see the uptick. If we kind of go passive and don't ask for a while you don't see it. It's a shame that that's needed.

Dean Sweetman:  If you don't ask, someone else is.

Justin Dean:    Oh, totally. There's so many people asking-

Dean Sweetman:  Asking for money.

Justin Dean:    ... for our money whether its legit nonprofits that we should be giving to too.

Frank Barry:    School. Kid's school.

Justin Dean:    Yeah, kid's school.

Frank Barry:    Kid's started first grade and opening day was like five asks.

Justin Dean:    I spent $25.00 on cinnamon rolls yesterday because a girl knocked on our door and it's like how do you say no to that stuff.

Frank Barry:    I really needed the cinnamon rolls.

Justin Dean:    I pawned it on my wife. I was like, "Honey, you want any of these? I've got to take care of the dog."

Frank Barry:    And she was like, "And I also sell Girl Scout cookies and-"

Justin Dean:    She had a square reader and stuff. I was like, "Wow. This is amazing."

Dean Sweetman:  It was like you were confessing something just then.

Justin Dean:    Oh, no, it was. Yeah, it's an issue for me. But I can't wait for the cinnamon rolls to show up.

Frank Barry:    She didn't have them? You have to wait for them?

Justin Dean:    You have to wait two months for them.

Dean Sweetman:  Brutal. Not on demand?

Justin Dean:    You guys need to disrupt this whole industry.

Frank Barry:    That's a broken system, man.

Dean Sweetman:  You're going to dangle it in front of me and make me wait two months?

Justin Dean:    I know. This glossy picture. It was amazing. What were we talking about?

Dean Sweetman:  Giving and communications.

Frank Barry:    Tacos. Communication outside of Sunday.

Justin Dean:    I mean-

Frank Barry:    Have you ever-

Justin Dean:    ... social media is huge. There's definitely opportunity there.

Dean Sweetman:  Give some tips on that.

Frank Barry:    I mentioned, do you have a church that you've seen do this well?

Justin Dean:    There's a number of them.

Frank Barry:    Big or small, doesn't matter. You can use the biggest in the world if you need to.

Justin Dean:    Elevation, I had to use that example all the time. They're great on social media and online and it's because they're relational. You look at their pictures, everything's intentional. There's people in it, there's a story to everything that they tell. Churches that are using these tools and putting them online it's not just come to church and text while you're here, it's hey, you can text from anywhere. And reaching those people where they are, that's the key. I know you guys seen giving actually people give more throughout the week than they do on a single Sunday.

Dean Sweetman:  Two thirds are on Monday through Saturday, only one third of giving comes through Sunday.

Justin Dean:    That's because when we're thinking about our finances and paying our bills and things like that, honestly, it's when we're sitting on the couch with our phone. It's when we're in the bathroom on our phone. It's whatever.

Frank Barry:    Or budget planning with your wife. There's these moments that aren't on Sunday and you're dealing with it.

Justin Dean:    What you're seeing on Sunday are those impulse buys, you're seeing those visitors give 20 bucks or 100 bucks here and there. That's great, you should make those asks as well. That's when you can do the teaching part of it is to say here's why we give and what the Bible says about it but you can do that online too. There's no reason why we shouldn't be asking consistently and regularly online. I think that's probably the key when it boils down to it is you've got to be consistent with it. You can't have a giving week one year, one time a year. No, it's got to be a consistent message. Jesus talked about it what? More than anything.

Dean Sweetman:  Two thirds of the parables are stewardship, possessions, generosity, and he just talked about it all the time.

Justin Dean:    It's major because he knows how it can control our lives if we let it and so being able to-

Frank Barry:    Where your treasure is, right?

Justin Dean:    Yeah, exactly.

Dean Sweetman:  And that's the biblical message. The biblical message around generosity and giving is not we need your money or we're not going to be able to pay the bills. It's biblically how can we get set free from the one thing on this planet that pretty much destroys nations.

Justin Dean:    Destroy us and control us.

Dean Sweetman:  Greed is not good, we know that. From the Bible stand point it's all about how to get set free from money and have it not control you and understanding what it is. It's a means to do something with. You buy and sell, and you sew into the kingdom things and you advance the gospel. That's all it is. Beyond that, whatever.

Justin Dean:    Absolutely.

Frank Barry:    Yeah, we know. It's more blessed to give than to receive.

Justin Dean:    Every time.

Frank Barry:    Figuring that out and helping people through great communication and great stories and obviously great biblical teaching helping people understand that and get that in their hearts and then experience it because they do it, they try it and they see what happens.

Dean Sweetman:  See how free it is to do that.

Justin Dean:    People have a perception of churches, they have a perception of money and so with any communication that you do it's really just aligning their perception with the reality of what you want. By telling these stories, by posting things online, you can do your best to say here's what we truly are about. Here's why we're asking for money. I'm a big proponent of just let's be candid. Be transparent as much as you can but honestly just be candid. Tell them here's why we're doing this, here's why we're asking, here's why I can't go into more information on this, here's why I can't tell you how much the pastor makes or how much we spend on this. Just being open and honest with people as much as you can and doing that through your posts and communications online is a huge opportunity that may not always even be appropriate on Sunday because you're focused on the message that you have.

Frank Barry:    In this vein of sort of open communication and sharing and stories, we've been talking about end of year giving and how that's a big opportunity for churches. One of those moments is this sort of tax return letter, the final like here's everything you gave that year.

Justin Dean:    Your statement.

Frank Barry:    Yeah, your end of year giving statement. What have you seen churches do well, because that's a communication moment. What have you seen churches do well in that realm.

Justin Dean:    Even within the printed letter that give-

Dean Sweetman:  Rather just some two line hey, thanks.

Justin Dean:    So often it's a spreadsheet looking thing.

Dean Sweetman:  Yeah, ugly.

Justin Dean:    It's literally like a bank statement looking thing. It's amazing to me because that's something that you're printing, there's a cost involved in that, how hard would it be to just add something else to it? Whether it's on that same letter or an insert or something like that, that's a perfect opportunity to show what that money was used for. Even if it's just photos of things that you've done throughout the year, it's a great way to communicate what your church has accomplished, things that you were involved in. That's going to be huge for people to see that, hold it in their hands. Churches that I've seen do really well provide a gift with that. You can even do it if they've given over a certain threshold and stuff like that so you can limit the number of gifts and expenses that you have. That's huge. If I receive something in the mail, even if it's just some church swag or something.

Dean Sweetman:  It doesn't have to be expensive. It's the point.

Justin Dean:    It's just something that shows I'm appreciated, what I did matters. What's really great is say some of the money went to help Uganda mission or something, include a bracelet-

Dean Sweetman:  Something from the kids.

Justin Dean:    ... that was made from that. Something relatable that I can wear that shows, hey, I'm a part of something bigger even than our small, local church. I'm part of something global.

Frank Barry:    Using that moment to show impact and help people understand yeah, you gave this much and you get to turn that in for your taxes but let me show you what happened this year.

Justin Dean:    That puts the focus where it should be and not on you're giving because you're getting a tax return, honestly. That's something that maybe in the next five to ten years could even be-

Dean Sweetman:  It might go away.

Justin Dean:    It might go away and we can debate whether or not that's good or bad but honestly either way we're commanded to give.

Dean Sweetman:  Where grew up, Australia, no tax deduction to giving.

Justin Dean:    Really? Wow.

Dean Sweetman:  Except for a building fund that's kind of [inaudible 00:22:55]. But your general giving, no deduction. I was always kind of thought what would that do to giving in America?

Justin Dean:    I think you'd see it dive for a while and then, honestly, God would split the veil through the church.

Dean Sweetman:  I don't think I'd like to see happen but you know it would force pastors to teach.

Justin Dean:    Oh, yeah.

Dean Sweetman:  And talk about finances from a biblical truth. They would be at it right away.

Justin Dean:    I would say in a lot of ways it could be great. It might destroy a lot of churches, honestly, and that would be sad. I think we would huge dive and that might change some things but I think in the long run a lot good can come from it because we'll be focusing on the right things. We do see a lot of giving at the end of the year, that's why we purposely ask for it more at the end of the year.

Dean Sweetman:  It's massive.

Frank Barry:    The last week of the year is ridiculous.

Dean Sweetman:  We watch out ... we can see real time and I remember last year. And we were like hey, maybe we hit this or maybe even that. It's like, holy cow, it's going to hit this.

Justin Dean:    Some of that is because we're getting the Christmas bonuses and stuff, people are giving big one time gifts. But honestly, a lot of it is because people are trying to make those thresholds to get in that certain tax bracket and stuff like that.

Dean Sweetman:  Look, end of the day, there's nothing wrong with that.

Justin Dean:    At the end of the day it's all going to the church and that's great, but you do got to question people's hearts and motives there. Are you giving because you're wanting this tax return or are faithfully, regularly, and sacrificially giving.

Dean Sweetman:  That come back, the foundation is always teaching from the Bible. What does the Bible say and let's spring from there. I know we're probably a different generation now but I think you got to lay that foundation.

Frank Barry:    That has to be there, right? Or else it fleeting.

Justin Dean:    Absolutely.

Dean Sweetman:  You're on the cutting edge of humanity.

Justin Dean:    You're saying a lot of nice things.

Dean Sweetman:  Yeah, I know.

Justin Dean:    The cutting edge of humanity.

Frank Barry:    He wants you to come back.

Justin Dean:    Not even just the cutting edge of churches and communications, I'm the cutting edge of humanity.

Dean Sweetman:  You're the cutting edge of 100%.

Justin Dean:    That's amazing.

Dean Sweetman:  What are you seeing? What trends? You see stuff, we know giving, you know communications, two great things going together. What are you seeing? Any trends in communications that the church should be looking out for instead of being last to do something we can be first?

Justin Dean:    I think even with social media we're seeing a lot of these tools are becoming more just candid and personable and just off the cuff. You've got Instagram Stories, Snapchat kind of set the way with hey, we just want you to create content on the fly, quit producing this stuff, just get it out there. People want to see documented life.

Frank Barry:    People find ways to produce it, even though-

Dean Sweetman:  They're always adding this.

Frank Barry:    They do. It's crazy.

Justin Dean:    It's amazing. You always see that and then it kind of levels out I think. I think that's great, I think that's the trend as we're seeing of this documenting your life rather than promoting things. Even Instagram as a whole, most of the photos that people put in their feeds are so produced or they're image quotes or things like that. People give me trouble all the time because I'll post two or three times a day on Instagram and most people are just doing one polished, perfect photo a week.

Frank Barry:    That they've spent four hours creating.

Dean Sweetman:  Getting it right.

Justin Dean:    It's called Instagram. It means instant. The whole point was that you can just post a photo quickly as it's happening. The hashtag latergram became possible because people are like, "I'm actually posting this four days later after I've had time to edit it and stuff." That's not how you use this. I think we're coming back to that with the tools that they're building. Even IGTV and stuff like that. I don't suggest using Snapchat just because of the filthy content that's on there but the way that they've laid the groundwork for hey, no, we just want you to get it out there. And YouTube is huge. There's huge opportunity for churches on YouTube. You can search for how to read the Bible or how to become a Christian, any kind of religious type of question and the content that comes up is 17 year old girls who are YouTubers and they're answering these questions which is great but the church is nowhere to be found.

Dean Sweetman:  Really?

Justin Dean:    Pastors are nowhere to be found. There's only a few that really using the platform well. It's huge, it's the second largest search engine. Most of the things that people search for are how to, with the phrase how to in it. They're wanting answers on how to.

Dean Sweetman:  And they're want a two minute video on how to do anything.

Justin Dean:    Totally.

Frank Barry:    How to do something.

Justin Dean:    Huge opportunity for pastors and churches to put content out there. A lot of it is just documenting. Trey Van Camp is a good friend, he's a pastor and he literally just documents his life and puts it on YouTube. He's a professional YouTuber now because that's a thing. People are loving it because he's just open and honest with his faith. He's living out his faith. It says in Hebrews something or other, I can't think of the exact words but it's there-

Frank Barry:    Hold on, let me Google it on YouTube. Let me YouTube it to find it.

Justin Dean:    You should Google this on YouTube or YouTube it on YouTube. But it talks about how pastors and elders and Christians, really, are called to display our lives in a way that others can look at it and say this is how I should live. Pastors are so ... you need to have boundaries around that, obviously, but they're usually so secretive. I'm not going to use social media myself. That's my private time, I don't want to have to answer so many questions and things like that. Honestly, I think the most that you can do the better. It's the document that people want to see. How should a marriage be? How should my family be? It's a lot of pressure, I get it. It's a lot of risk.

Dean Sweetman:  You've got to live up to it.

Justin Dean:    But, honestly, if you're called to be an elder, called to be a pastor, you're called to that higher calling and you should be able to be out in front. YouTube, social media, they gave us the tools to do that and hardly anyone's using it.

Frank Barry:    There's a lot of opportunity. It's interesting that churches are starting to get it, I think. Again, talking to a buddy the other day it's like interns doing to social. It's a crazy thing. It's good to just chat and hopefully the crew here, the, fam enjoys learning about church communications and weaving into the offering. What would you say if people were to take away one thing about being a great communicator for the church and even weaving in generosity like today, what would you tell them to do?

Justin Dean:    I would say don't worry about how I do this or how do I get started. Don't get overwhelmed with trying to be Elevation or Hillsong or these people who have teams that are polished. Honestly, just take your phone out and start documenting, start posting things.

Frank Barry:    I think that word is important, documenting.

Justin Dean:    I think it is.

Frank Barry:    Thinking that way.

Justin Dean:    I've got four kids, two to eleven, and they don't watch TV. They don't know what commercials are, we've always had an Apple TV so we watched things on demand. But honestly, they're using their phones and their iPads and they're watching YouTube and Netflix almost every day all the way down to my two year old. He knows how to swipe and turn on ... we have YouTube Kids and everything's locked down. I'm not going to go there with screen time and stuff like that but they're growing up, this is their TV, this is their content. They're watching these guys that are documenting their lives playing video games.

Frank Barry:    My kids like to watch people building Lego sets and then they can go build.

Justin Dean:    Unboxing things. They know about all the products because it's just a video of them unboxing it. What's Inside is a channel that my son watches. It's literally a dad and his son and they cut things open to see what's inside of it. They cut open a Tesla. It's huge, they get donated stuff. They cut open an iPhone. They cut open whatever and it's almost like, we homeschool so this is almost science for us sometimes. But this is the content they're producing and the church needs to be involved in that as well. There's no reason why all of that content can't come from pastors, come from the church. It's so easy to start creating. You can get better over time. But honestly-

Dean Sweetman:  Just start. Just get going.

Justin Dean:    ... just get going. That's the thing. Even with guys with the TV, just start, just start producing the content and then suddenly we've got cameras and lights and a backdrop.

Dean Sweetman:  But we always look professional.

Justin Dean:    I know. You're wearing a blazer. That's nice.

Dean Sweetman:  That's how I roll. I'm the adult in the room. The grandfather, actually.

Frank Barry:    The grandfather.

Dean Sweetman:  Awesome, man. Thank you so much. Always good to see you.

Justin Dean:    No problem. Thank you having me, guys. I love you guys.

Frank Barry:    Love it.

Dean Sweetman:  Phenomenal time. Justin Dean, That Church Conference. YouTube it, Google it, whatever you do these days.

Frank Barry:    Facegram it.

Dean Sweetman:  Facegram it. He's a good guy. Thanks for joining. We'll see you next time. God bless.

Frank Barry:    See you fam.

Justin Dean:    Bye.

This week on TV, Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry are joined by church communication expert, Justin Dean, to discuss church communication trends changing giving.

During their conversation, they talk about:

  • 3 simple ways you can improve your church communications
  • The deadly sins of church social media
  • 5 practical tips to increase church giving
  • 2 steps to maximize end of year giving


Here’s a list of resources mentioned during the show:

Publish date
November 7, 2018

5 Church Communication Best Practices to Increase Giving

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