The 2 Secrets to Success for Social Media in Your Church

It’s getting hard to keep up with all the different social tools that are flying at us every day.  We constantly hear things like:

If you’re not on Pinterest you’re in big trouble.”

or

“Blogging is dead.”

It seems like people are putting a lot of effort into trying to figure out which tools they should use, and how they should use them.  What’s the best way to deal with all of this us? I’ve been repeatedly hit in the face with the answer to this recently from my network, which teaches me a lot.

So here is the secret to social success:

Connect with people.

Simple, isn’t it.  It doesn’t matter what tools you use – and if you spend too much time worrying about tools, you’ll forget to use them to do the one thing that matters – connecting.
Connecting Ideas is the Fundamental Creative Act in Innovation.  You have to connect ideas to ideas to innovate, and you have to connect people to your ideas to get them to spread.  It’s all about connection.

Earlier, I told you about the best social media strategy of all time:

Do awesome work.

That takes care of the connecting ideas to ideas part.  Then, to get them to spread, you need to connect the ideas to people.  And that means that you have to connect with people – that is the core purpose of all of these social tools.

Connections create value – that is the core message of Nilofer Merchant in her book 11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra. Here is one of my favourite quotes from the book:

We want innovation, but without experiencing failure. We want to embrace the new, but without risk. We want to act fast and fluid, but to maintain tight controls. We want to empower everyone, but retain decision rights for ourselves. We want to experiment, but we also want predictability. We want to be flexible to customer input, but remain ruthlessly efficient. We want to adapt, but we fear the death of familiarity.

This is why it’s hard to go from being an 800-pound gorilla to a herd of nimble gazelles; an organization goes from being a centralized institution that competes through overpowering strength and scale to a set of relationships or interrelationships. Gazelles thrive and win by how they share power with one another. And, as a result, they can act fast, fluid, and flexible. For organizations, this is key to winning in the marketplace.

As organisations, we win through connections. The same is true for people.

Here is Shane Mac from his book Stop With the BS:

All these apps, gadgets, buildings—everything for that matter—they don’t make me smile and think about how much I love what I do. The people I know do. It is the people and my relationships with them that really matter. Done. Simple as that. All we have in life are relationships, so we better start spending more time building new ones and rebuilding old ones. Build bridges, Re-build bridges, never Burn Bridges.

It’s the relationships that matter. Hugh MacLeod nails it in his latest book Freedom is Blogging in Your Underwear:

…all the internet is, as Doc Searls said, is a bunch of protocols that “allow us to get along.” Protocols allow us to talk to each other. The stuff in the middle, the stuff that separates us, the stuff that directly makes use of these protocols – hosting companies, web sites, blogging platforms, microblogging platforms, etc. – matter far less.

You’re on one end of the wire. Just think about who’s on the other end of the wire, and what you can do for them. Worry less about the wire. Worry less about the shiny objects in the middle.

Just worry about MAKING your own stuff, and the rest of the internet will look after itself.

So there is your two-step guide to social success.

Do awesome work.

and

Connect with people.

The problem is that while these steps might sound simple, they’re not.  They take a lot of effort.  That’s what makes the shiny new objects so seductive – they look like shortcuts.

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts.  That’s why it’s still remarkable when you do awesome work and connect with people.

I know that I still have a long way to go myself.  But now that we’ve connected, maybe we can do some of this awesome work together.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Kastelle

Tim Kastelle

Tim Kastelle is a Lecturer in Innovation Management in the University of Queensland Business School. He blogs about innovation at the Innovation Leadership Network.

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Clarity Process

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6 Reasons to Have a Dedicated Guest Website for Your Church

Over the years the Auxano Design team has helped churches think more strategically about guest engagement. (Read 10 Mind Blowing Facts to Fuel your Hospitality Ministry). One great idea is to create a separate website for guests. At Auxano, we call this a “buzzsite.”

To catch an example, check out Gateway’s WelcomeToYourJourney.com or First Baptist’s ExploreFirst.org

Why have a dedicated site just for guests at your church?

1) Make a Bigger Front Porch: Eighty-seven percent of your guests will click-thru before they walk-thru. Having a site dedicated to guests enables you to communicate more guest information in a more useful way.

2) Smooth the Path: Guest have mini-hurdles coming to your church for the first time. They don’t know where to go, or what to do.  A guest site will enabling them to “get a feel” ahead of time, as a simple way to make them feel more welcome.  Notice how Gateway walks your through these key guest decisions from parking lot to checking in children.

3) Show you Care: When a guest enters the dedicated site, it will show that you are expecting guests and that you care about their experience.

4) Resolve Conflict: Having a dedicated guest site alleviates the burden on your main church site to speak to both members and guests.

5) Show Some Personality: A guest site can introduce your church with with a story, promise or creative element. Gateway Community Church used the tagline “Welcome to your Journey” as their URL. It enabled the moment of introduction to include something to spark the imagination and draw people in rather than just saying “visit our church.”At First Baptist Dallas, they creatively use a “Plan Your Visit” form on their ExploreFirst.org to make the welcome experience personalized.

6) Evaluate Your Investment: A guest site can measure the effectiveness of external communication initiatives or campaigns that point to the guest site and not the church’s main site. For example, when Gateway Community Church opened its building, they could know exactly how their six-piece direct mail invitations worked by monitoring web stats when the mail dropped.

Have used a similar site? Let us know about it.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

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Evangelistic Churches and the MPI

What if you could look at the top five percent most evangelistic churches in America and find the common factors in their ministries? One of my twenty-year quests has been to take on that very challenge. My research, both anecdotal and scientific, has pointed me to several commonalities, but this latest discovery really excited me. Indeed I have found at least anecdotally one of those key factors that distinguishes the evangelistic churches from the others.

Defining the MPI

I call this differentiating factor the MPI: multiple points of intentionality. Here is the definition of MPI: The most evangelistic churches in America have three or more ongoing intentional evangelistic effortsThe key is that the local church does not depend on one, or even two, ongoing evangelistic efforts. Each of the churches I’ve studied has three or more.

Demonstrating the MPI

If my thesis is sound, churches should not depend on a one-and-done evangelistic approach; they should look to multiple points of evangelistic intentionality. Let me give you some examples of those points in the churches I’ve studied:

· Highly evangelistic small groups or Sunday school classesNot just any small group or Sunday school class, but those that have a DNA to reach people with the gospel.

· Ongoing prayer ministries for the lost. Most of these prayer ministries pray for lost people by name. Most churches pray for physical needs of people, but not spiritual and eternal needs.

· Community ministries with evangelistic intentionality. Again, the key is that these ministries to the community are ongoing and intentionally evangelistic. An example would be the “adoption” of a local public school to meet the needs of the students, teachers, and administrators.

· A highly evangelistic pastor. The pastor is sharing the gospel with someone at least twice a week. The pastor also makes local evangelism a high priority in the church.

· An evangelistic Vacation Bible School. VBS is the single most evangelistic church program in America today. But merely having a VBS does not make it evangelistic. Again, intentionality is key.

· A memorized evangelistic training program. Such programs as Evangelism Explosion and FAITH have been key to moving churches toward a more evangelistic mindset. Those programs fail, however, when it is the sole or primary focus of evangelism in the church.

· Evangelistic service events for the community. Community ministries, noted above, or ongoing. Service events take place on a regular but less frequent basis, such as once a quarter. They do not include Christmas or Easter productions that tend to have minimal evangelistic fruit.

· Relational intentionality. Church members are trained and held accountable for developing relationships with those who are not Christians.

· Ministry evangelism. This category is broad. It includes pregnancy ministries, food and clothes ministries, counseling ministries, and others. With community ministries above, church members go into the community. With ministry evangelism, the community members come to the church to get needs met.

Doing the MPI

Pastors and other church leaders often ask me how their churches can reach more people with the gospel. It would seem from this research that multiple points of intentionality are key.

The MPI tells us at least two key truths. First, one evangelistic ministry does not make your church evangelistic. Sadly, over half the churches in America don’t even have one. Second, churches have different “personalities.” They don’t have to do evangelism like other churches. It’s more important to pick three or more evangelistic approaches that will work best in your congregation.

The list above is not exhaustive, but it does provide good examples. Is your church involved in at least three intentional evangelistic ministries? What are some examples not on the list? What is your church doing to reach more people for Christ?

Read more from Thom here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources.  Prior to LifeWay, he served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism.  He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to speaking in hundreds of venues over the past 20 years, Rainer led Rainer Group, a church and denominational consulting firm, from 1990 to 2005. The firm provided church health insights to over 500 churches and other organizations over that period. Rainer and his wife, Nellie Jo, have three grown sons: Sam, Art and Jess, who are married to Erin, Sarah and Rachel respectively.  The Rainers have six grandchildren: Canon, Maggie, Nathaniel, Will (with the Lord), Harper, and Bren. He is the author of twenty-four books, including Breakout Churches, Simple Life, Simple Church, Raising Dad, The Millennials, and Essential Church.  His latest book, Autopsy of a Deceased Church, was released in 2014 by B&H Publishing Group.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.