So much to do, such little time. Where do you invest your precious resources? Focus your church's digital ministries in two areas. First is your stable market; already engaged church members. Second is your growth market; or who will best expand your ministries. Both are important, and need unique attention in the digital space. Here are a few tips on how to engage each.
As you can guess, these are existing members. In short, they are engaged with your ministries. They regularly attend weekly church services. They support your church's finances and volunteer corp. You owe the continued success of your ministries to their efforts. So you need to consider them in your digital efforts. Here are a two digital products that will sustain them.
News and Events
When your regular members do visit your website, there needs to be information for them. In most cases this means fast access to details for events. They heard about an event during pre-service announcements. But in the interest of time, they were directed to the website for details. Make sure they know where all this information resides. Then, double check to make sure this content is very mobile friendly. You never know when a member will need access to it, or share it.
Email subscriptions provide a consistent way to stay in touch. This could be a daily devotional, weekly news and events, or monthly "pastor's corner". All this content could be posted elsewhere. But email ensures you are reaching them every time. Websites require that users come to you. Social media does not guarantee you reach your entire audience. And RSS feed readers are often too technical for some users to use. Plus email is readable on a multitude of devices and settings.
These are your potential and brand new members. They have not become fully engaged with a ministry. Plus they are unaware of the benefits of fellowship in your church. But they will bring a fresh new perspective when that happens. This is often young families. Everyone wants those small children in Sunday school. Just remember that without great teachers, those programs will struggle. Here are two ideas on how to engage them.
Real testimonies will help guide new visitors to your front door without surprises. They tell the story of your church experience. Be authentic and transparent. You can share these on social media, or embed them on your website. Take a look at my storytelling article and get some ideas for these testimonies.
Promoting news and events will grab people's attention. Yet friends sharing events is more effective. A personal invitation or recommendation outweighs any paid promotion. Ask your congregation to publicly or privately share content with friends. Digital invitations may seem very impersonal to most of us. But in the new era of smartphones, texts and messages are how things happen. See my article about crowd-sourcing social media for more details.
Everyone needs to hear the Gospel of Jesus. Preach the good news everywhere. Yet when it comes to digital ministries, focus in on these two markets. There will be plenty of content for all your demographics. But these two areas are the primary reason your church's digital platforms exist. Work with your pastoral team to ensure you are in alignment with their goals and desires. Then start creating content to help these two key areas.
Photo courtesy of Dan Tink