Church Leadership Lab is a podcast that seeks to empower healthy churches. Through conversations, interviews, and stories, we explore what's happening in ministry today and how pastors and leaders can navigate what lies ahead.
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Are you using digital communications to the fullest potential? Many leaders feel intimated, overwhelmed, or don’t see the importance of a digital presence. But when you start viewing digital communication tools as a way to expand the walls of your church and be used as a megaphone to share the good news of the Gospel, everything changes. In this episode of Church Leadership Labs, David Choate shares how to balance the complex challenges and changes of the digital communication landscape with clarity, creativity, and confidence.
The year 2020 changed many things, and for churches, a change we saw take place at high speed was the use of digital communications. From live streams to social media, some churches that had never considered a digital presence were forced into a new way of communicating with their congregation. In addition, this new idea of digital communications allowed many to seek a deeper understanding of what works and what does not, how to improve things, and to explore new and various ways to communicate.
Although it came with some challenges, many churches saw that by creating these online communities, churches now had an opportunity to develop unique digital environments. In addition, by focusing on more digital outreach tools, leaders could now look for new and creative ways to invite people into the church, follow up, and communicate with their congregations. Using these tools was a great experience for many churches and allowed them to see what was necessary to have in place for their unique need, but not to over-utilize tools so that they become a distraction from the main message – the Gospel.
When you compare, you always lose. It can be easy to look at other churches with a large social media presence and want to emulate what they are doing, but when we pause and take a step back, our perspective can radically change. The church is a natural content engine every week. Every Sunday, you provide a sermon that can be turned into a blog, social media graphics, and even short-form video content. When we reframe our view of what we do have with a fresh perspective, we can see that we already have the content we need right in front of us. You don’t have to do everything at once. Start inside your church and start simple.
Here are three easy steps to take:
1. Look at everything you have – Sunday Sermons, Kid’s Messages, Bulletin, etc.
2. Prioritize what is important to your church and the messages you want to share.
3. Do your best to execute and communicate your content in a digital format.
Another reason to stop playing the comparison game is that when you compare, you are challenged with losing sight of who you are as a church. The other churches you may be looking at aren’t communicating in a way that would connect with your congregation. They communicate in a way that connects with their audience, and there is a difference. Their priorities aren’t your priorities, and their messages aren’t your messages. Be who you are as a church and own what you want to communicate authentically and uniquely.
Remember, design and digital channels are just tools to help you communicate. You don’t have to be everything, everywhere, all at once. Give yourself grace and start with simple steps.
One challenge many church leaders may face in digital communications is a lack of expertise and resources. Many churches don’t have a single person dedicated to design, social media, or digital communications. Often these roles are placed on one person who needs to wear multiple hats. This condition can be challenging, and later down the road, churches may come to a place where they see a need to have more specialized roles in this area.
Another challenge is getting buy-in from leadership. It can be hard to convince your leadership team of the importance of digital communication tools in today’s world. And change can be difficult in churches. So, it’s important not to go into conversations sharing how “cool and flashy” the tools are but to talk about how they can bring value. This value includes helping you engage members further, communicate your messages more clearly, or even help free up your team to focus more on ministry.
Lastly, the challenge of consistency with your communication and engagement is something many churches can face. When you are thinking about your digital presence, one of the priorities you should look at is how this tool helps me with consistency. Finding tools that help make things easier is always a win. Tools that give templates, graphics, and web layouts will help you save time and energy in the long run. By focusing on these types of tools, you can have the same level of consistency in the quality, look, and feel of your digital presence.
There is a difference between being inspired and keeping up. It can be easy to get lost in the ever-changing world of digital communications, but it’s important to remember God is calling you to be you. The people who are themselves communicate authenticity and own who they are. When you, as a church leader, can do this, you can share what is most important for your church. A church should always focus on clarity over creativity. When we focus on this, our messages are clear and able to resonate with our top priorities with our congregation. Keep it simple.
One essential component of a healthy church is to focus on the Gospel and the Good News of Jesus Christ. Communication helps us facilitate this. Digital tools become meaningful when we view them as a megaphone for the Good News because they give us new ways to communicate that message.
Sharefaith Marketplace brings together digital content for all types of audiences. By providing a digital library of resources for the church, including:
This content is easy and accessible to help churches better communicate and share the main message – the Gospel. Learn more at media.sharefaith.com
Book: Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
Book: Way of the Shepherd by Kevin Leman and William Pentak
Music: Red Headed Stranger – Willie Nelson
Favorite Technology: Chad GPT