Changing Directions – The Need To Update
Begin to prepare yourself for new and exciting things as we begin changing directions on both our ministry website as well as how we deliver engaging content across various social networking platforms.
If there is one thing I have learned as a website developer and marketing consultant for several large companies and ministries that I have assisted with their online presence, it is that if there is one that that is consistent in the world of technology is that something will change.
This is where so many amazing ministries fall short. Most do not have a paid staff member or team or professionals whose only job is marketing their church online content.
Preparing For Changing Directions
Anytime a church or ministry who has an online presence needs to be aware of, is how most of their local community interacts with them. Is it via various social networking channels, text messages, online content and a variety of other methods.
With the ever-growing presence of mobile devices in today’s times, it most certainly has become essential that however you deliver your content, it better be accessible via their chosen mobile devices. If you’re not reaching them via that path, there’s a pretty strong chance that you’re missing the prime opportunity of engaging with them to bring them into your church or ministry.
Realizing that today’s churches are comprised of mostly older people, this can present a challenge in getting them to see and understand the importance of how churches can better communicate.
Regardless of the type of website niche, you have 3 seconds to make an impression! If they cannot easily find the content they have come looking for, you can rest assured that they will bounce from your site to another that delivers the content they were searching for.
There are several reasons why this happens. First, most websites are hard to navigate or do not put the most important content up front where it is easy for them to see and access. When I say important, this is regarding what your visitors may find as important and useful information, not necessarily what the members of any church thinks should be there. Remember, your online presence is an amazing communication tool, however, it should be used as one of your leading tools in any form of evangelism.
With millions of people on various social networking platforms, if you did not already know this, they like to share things they both like and dislike. Sadly, the dislikes seem to get more attention. All you have to do is to read any political posts on any social networking channel and you can see for yourself how much attention they get and not necessarily in a positive fashion.
I have heard so many people across many churches of various sizes that I have been actively involved with making the statement of, “but we’re not big enough to compete or stay in stride with other churches.” When you take on this statement and that is your fall-back, your are certainly subject to doom and it won’t be long before your doors will be closing. If you don’t believe me, take a look around you at the vast amount of churches of various denominations that are closing their doors and are no longer in operation. The Southern Baptists certainly have not been able to escape this group either.
This is why I am focusing on changing directions of both our ministry website and developing a more proactive approach to effectively delivering both timely and engaging content through the social networking channels that CMBC is engaged with as well as how we prepare our visuals for Sunday morning worship and other media related material.
If you haven’t figured out by now, most people are visual creatures. Stop and think about this for a brief moment. What causes you to respond or react when viewing things on your smartphone? It usually is something that contains a visual representation of a thought or idea. These images either bring you joy or sadness, dependent upon the content and where you are in your life at that very moment in time.
Images spark a wide array of emotions and are one of the most effective tools that both churches and ministries can deploy in their arsenal of content to portray a message that causes a user to think upon and make a decision.
Taking Church To Our Local Community
I would like to think by now most, I use that phrase with caution, people are aware of the importance of online content. However, they lose focus on how to take the church to their local communities. Okay, I hear the voices already saying “we’re an inviting and loving church.” While that may very well be the case, it doesn’t resolve on how you are reaching people who want to be in church but for various reasons beyond their control are able to make a physical appearance frequently.
Here’s where thinking about what content we are delivering online, the quality of the content, and making it available across multiple platforms comes into play.
What about quality video content, audio podcasts, and possibly group home Bible studies. Not everyone has the perfect work schedule that is often experienced by our retired members. Obviously, this causes them not to attend as many functions as they would like to.
Right now the amount of video material that is consumed is phenomenal. Rather it is on YouTube or Facebook, video makes up nearly 88% of all consume content on the Internet today.
Yes, quality does matter. If you can’t hear it, poor lighting, miserable effects you can bet they will move on. While it doesn’t take a bankroll to be able to produce quality video and audio, it does take a team of individuals who are willing to learn and master the necessary software to yield a quality final product.
I follow some of the leading experts in both ministry and ministry communications. I came across an interesting take on why people are no longer finding it necessary to attend a physical church. I encourage you to read this article written by Carey Nieuwhof.
Carey raised some valuable points in that article. However, based upon that information, shouldn’t that cause today’s churches to think about how they can take the church to them?
What To Expect As We Prepare For Changing Directions
I will be working on a plan to completely re-design the ministry website and content it delivers to ensure that it is extremely competitive with those of larger congregations. Trust me, this really does make the first impression better. If you don’t believe me, ask our pastor how many new people in our church found out about it.
Secondly, we will be working on a branding ID that will be consistent across all our communication channels. There will be a strong focus on visual creation and its effective usage.
We will be developing a larger team of volunteers whose only mission will be focused on the creation of our content, whether it be for our worship service, online communications, social networking, and the list is ever growing.
I can’t stress enough the importance of having dedicated volunteers, as the various things I have been performing over the past 4 years, really does take an entire team of individuals who are dedicated to achieving the same mission. We can no longer rely upon one or two people to ensure the job is done.
In my personal company who prepares, develops, and works with ministries of all sizes for their online presence, things get reviewed. After they’ve been reviewed, we review them again, then again. This ensures that the content is highly engaging and focuses on the people who will see it. This is where a lot of churches fail in their online communications. They are too focused on delivering content that is about them. People who are beginning their connection with you are concerned about what is in it for them to make a decision to attend your church.
If you don’t believe me, just ask several pastors who have followed up with visitors or other potential people that were thinking of visiting but then made a decision not to.
In the volatile online world, we live in, seconds count and the level of content must be at it’s highest caliber.
That being said, as we develop the level of the team we are looking to achieve, you will begin to see me phasing myself out of the scene as your technology lead. I have more than enjoyed serving the ministry of CMBC, but other ministerial opportunities have come into my life and I need to focus more attention on them. I will still be a contributor in producing the audio podcasts but will be putting other responsibilities of our quality team members who are willing to learn new technologies and programs.
It’s a New Year, and I hope you are as excited as I am in seeing the great things that are in store for our church and community.