Six Practices to Help Church Leaders Engage More Online
Imagine if twenty years ago, churches treated social media like email.
Personal emails, not the newsletter type emails that go to the whole church. Two-three people on staff would respond to every email on behalf of the entire church. That sounds wildly inefficient for all parties involved.
As we approach a year into the pandemic, every church needs to start recognizing the new reality. I first heard the term #phygital from Ted Vaughn of the Historic Agency. That term seems tied to organizations as a whole rather than individuals. Churches and organizations cannot think #phygital without individual investment.
I sense a belief in this lie that business will go back to usual after the shutdown. But before we even knew what the Coronavirus even was, the world was becoming more digital. Not acknowledging the numerous examples inside and outside the church only leaves eons behind.
To the church leaders that embrace digital — I love your passion, and it might seem easy to you. The problem results from the fact that the people you serve feel overwhelmed by this new world of #physigital.
Next time you find yourself meeting discussing a new opportunity, check the body language in the room. Do your teammates look down or look confused as you talk about the difference between tweeting, fleeting, and reels? It’s our role to create the small wins.
To the church leaders reluctant to embrace digital — your online presence could, in fact, support and even enrich your in-person connections.
When people see you comment or post on seemingly trivial things, you become more human. When you celebrate a win at the church, that becomes a new conversation topic later. Just like you would not want to leave an inbox of emails un-responded, you will not want the radio silence online, especially on social media.
Whether you have embraced or find yourself reluctant to embrace digital, I want to offer a few practices that could better help the church or organization you serve become more comfortable with their online presence and activity:
1. Stop an in-person meeting to give people time to interact on a post.
Part of the issue of helping people better interact on social media requires creating a new habit. If you hold a staff meeting, plan a post to go live fifteen minutes before the start of the meeting. Give everybody a few minutes to respond to the post and then repeat it the following week.
2. Add in-person ministry leaders to the Online Service Team.
Browncroft’s Executive Pastor, Mike Pitts, keeps reminding, “Just because you can’t see people does not mean they’re not there.” When you value digital, you have involvement from every ministry. People who engage the church online see multiple staff interacting on the livestream chat, which speaks volumes. The online service is a fantastic and safe place for teammates to know the value of digital ministry.
3. Schedule a person to post weekly in a Facebook Group.
In this season, I have been so thankful for Deb, a teammate at Browncroft. She started learning social media by posting our Monday recap email in our Facebook groups. She then took the next step to schedule a post in the Women’s Ministry group with a volunteer, Shelley. That started with her regularly posting the Monday recap email link.
4. Share the graphics and captions to post online.
One of the enormous objections for church leaders to share online is taking pictures or knowing what to post. Take the opportunity to be directive. Share a graphic to a sermon series and event and then provide a copy and paste caption. Model how to post, and then you can encourage to post personally.
5. Tag teammates and encourage them to reshare.
We have a remarkable group of volunteers on Sunday morning who take photos and share Instagram Stories. They have committed to tagging staff and volunteers. What I have loved seeing is people hesitant to social media resharing the post with their tag.
6. Provide solutions from digital that could help today.
Our team has felt a group of people connected to the church that seem on the fringes. We had multiple discussions on how to engage these individuals. Last week, we landed on creating a Prayer Facebook Group as recommended by the Church Communications Podcast.
In our first week, several people have already shared prayer requests, and without any promotion, people are joining the group. Find simple solutions where digital can make a difference.
This week, take these first steps to start engaging in online ministry. Keep it simple. Celebrate the wins. What other first steps would you add? Share in the comment section below.
Originally published at https://peterenglert.com on January 25, 2021.