We’re still in the early days of social media and everyone’s trying to figure out what ministry online means.
Whatever your church might be doing, my guess is you’re trying to connect with people online in some way, which is awesome.
Here’s the question though.
When you welcome people to your church, do you still behave like it’s 1999?
Strangely, most churches do.
I’ve been to very large, high budget churches who have a digital presence everywhere and—for whatever reason—still welcome people like it was back in the day when the cassette ministry was booming.
I even caught myself doing this earlier this year.
The good news, the fix is quick simple and free for all of us.
Is My Glaring Omission Yours Too?
So what do you say when you welcome people to your church?
For years, our hosts (including me) have said something like:
Welcome to Connexus! We’re so glad you’re here. If you’re new here, we’d love to connect! Drop by our guest services desk. We’d love to connect with you there.
Today, we’ll be here for about 65 minutes, sing some songs together, open up the bible to see what it means to us today and pray together. (Then we share one or two announcements we want everyone to know.)
See what I missed there?
Did you catch it?
I said ZERO (as in nothing at all) about our online presence.
Nothing about our social media. Nothing about our app. Zippo about our podcast. Nothing.
Yet 80% of the people (or more) are sitting there with their phones in their pocket.
During the week, we try to behave like it’s 2014. But Sunday morning, I was behaving like it was 1999.80% of the people who attend your church have a phone in their pocket. Act like it. Click To Tweet
This is the Opportunity You’re Missing
If it was actually 1999, people would have to drive to your church or to someone’s home to connect with someone else from the church.
Or they would have to buy (or pick up) a cassette or CD to listen to a message or series.
For the most part, in ministry you would show up in peoples’ lives occasionally at best.
Now, you can show up in a person’s life every time someone checks their phone courtesy of social media, email, your app, your podcast and more.
I realize that’s a double edged sword. There are definitely people you don’t want showing up in your life every day.
But I’m guessing there are some people you’d really appreciate hearing from regularly.
What if your church became one of them?
What if people were genuinely thankful to hear from you during the week?
See…you and I have moved from a world in which we had the ability to encourage people once or twice a week, to a world in which we can connect daily.
This isn’t just a promotional thing (don’t miss our big cheesy dinner Tuesday night!), it’s a discipleship thing.
Seriously, you can gain permission to speak into people’s spiritual journey regularly.
Publish helpful, useful content, and people will sign up to follow you. Don’t, and of course, they’ll unfollow you. The online world gives you instant feedback on whether you’re helping people or not. Just check your stats.There are definitely people you want to hear from every day. What if your church became one of them? Click To Tweet
The Fix is So Simple
So don’t miss this simple fix.
If you’re publishing helpful, online content (and I realize we’re all growing in this and trying to figure out what that means), then just make sure you mention it Sunday morning.
Behave on Sunday morning like you can help someone during the week.Behave on Sunday morning like you can help someone during the week. Click To Tweet
And the easiest way to help them, encourage them, inspire them and inform people during the week is via social media and your online presence.
So talk about that.
This is what we say now when we welcome people at Connexus:
Welcome to Connexus! We’re so glad you’re here. If you’re new here, we’d love to connect! Drop by our guest services desk. We’d love to connect with you there. Today, we’ll be here for about 70 minutes, sing some songs together, open up the bible to see what it means to us today and pray together.
We’d love to stay connected with you this week. The easiest way to do that is by following us on social media. You’re welcome to take out your phones right now and follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (we show the links on the screen as we say them). We also love hearing from you and this is great way to keep up the conversation.
Then, during the week…help people. Encourage, inspire and occasionally inform.
If you hand out a program or bulletin, make sure you include how to connect with you online.
And if you have a website, have a prominent place to follow your church on social media. People will connect with you 100x more on your social media platforms today than they ever will on your website.
If you’ve got any online presence, talk about it on Sunday morning. Strangely, so many churches still don’t.
The change is free, easy, instant and everyone can do it. Just change what you say when you welcome people.
We’re All Learning
Want more? I’m not sure anyone has cracked the code on how to optimally use social media. But here are some resources that have helped me and some churches I like to follow online:
Casey Graham and I also talked about how to connect with people using email marketing in Episode 3 of my leadership podcast. (Subscribe for free here to hear feature-length interviews with Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Brian Houston, Jon Acuff and many more.)
Finally, nobody writes better stuff on church announcements than Rich Birch. Make sure you mine his site at Unseminary.com for posts like this that will change your announcements from a few minutes people tolerate to a few minutes people will anticipate.
WANT MORE PRACTICAL HELP TO GROW YOUR CHURCH?
Getting a stuck church growing, or helping a church that’s reaching new people grow even further can seem daunting.
It doesn’t have to be.
Whether you’re a church that isn’t growing, has plateaued, or whether you wish your church was growing faster than it is, I’d love to help you break through. That’s why I created the Church Growth Masterclass.
The Church Growth Masterclass is everything I wish I knew about church growth when I got into ministry more than 20 years ago.
Naturally, I can’t make a church grow. You can’t make a church grow. Only God can do that.
But I believe you can position your church to grow.
You can knock down the barriers that keep you from growing. You can eliminate the things that keep your church from growing and implement some strategies that will help you reach far more people. That’s what I’d love to help you do in the Church Growth Masterclass.
In the Church Growth Masterclass I’ll show you:
- The 10 reasons your church isn’t growing
- Why even committed church-goers aren’t attending as often as before
- How to tell if your church leaders are getting burned out
- The 5 keys to your church better impacting millennials.
- What to do when a church wants to grow … but not change
- 5 essentials for church growth
- 5 disruptive church trends to watch—and how to respond
- How to increase church attendance by increasing engagement.
The Masterclass includes a complete set of videos that you can play with your team, board or staff, PDF workbooks that will help you tackle the issues you’re facing, and bonus materials that will help you navigate the most pressing issues facing churches that want to reach their cities today.
So what about you?
What are you learning about connecting with people online during the week?
How do you highlight your social media on weekends?
Scroll down and leave a comment!