This Is What Happens When Ministry is Both Physical & Digital

There’s a new, and important, word: “phygital.”

It reflects the growing necessity for the seamless flow between the physical and the digital. As an article on Bizcommunity put it, in relation to the retail world:

Innovative phygital business models, where bricks and mortar and digital seamlessly integrate, are popping up across the globe. But the best phygital experiences still remain aligned with old-school sales strategies: customer attraction, retention, engagement, experiences, loyalty and the brand itself. The factors that keep shifting are shopping behaviour and new technology. The upshot is: to keep in the retail game, phygital is the way to go and it’s currently an adapt or die situation. 

And here are the six ways it suggests that “adapt or die” applies:

1. The agile store.

The concept of the role of a physical shop has changed. Whereas before a storefront used to be a part of the shopper psyche there are now young customers who have no knowledge of physical stores dominating the landscape. Nils Van Dam of Duval Union Consulting estimates that between 30—40% of supermarkets will shut their doors within the next decade.

2. Retail business model disruption.

Never seen or experienced before phygital stores are being built, the biggest ones being Amazon and Alibaba. These mega-online players are laying new foundations with bricks and mortar shops—Wholefoods and Hema respectively. The rule of thumb seems to be: whatever bases you’re not covering, cover. Another thing to note about disruption is that agility and adoption are different in terms of what product you sell. According to PWC, in a category such as fashion, 43% of consumers already consider themselves to be omnichannel shoppers, buying both offline and online.

3. Different strokes for different folks.

Quite surprisingly, another reason for bricks and mortar may be Gen Z. Not because they love shopping malls but because they demand that every option is available to them. Seventy-five percent of Gen-Zers surveyed by Newsroom Synchrony say they prefer shopping in stores with engaging experiences, while 45% say the experience of buying something is as important as the product itself. Another interesting fact about Gen Z is that if they have a product in their shopping cart while shopping online, they expect to this to be seamlessly integrated into their in-store shopping experience.

4. Covering all bases.

Agile retailers are upping the ante with online and in-store technology. The more common in-store phygital tech includes self-scanning, digital signage tablets and smart tags. Other innovations being tested are things like AR-powered virtual demos, smart mirror beacons, personal in-store digital avatars, face-detection software that can guess a shoppers’ gender and age, as well as interactive fitting rooms with a touch screen kiosk.

5. Uber-experiences.

A bricks and mortar store should look to incorporate whatever the “new fashion” is—be it cooking workshops or yoga. For example, Green Swan the owners of Intertoys, plans to rent out toys for children’s parties. And for the ultimate in-store trend, see the 185-year-old “most beautiful department store” in Zürich—Jelmoli. This old-school bricks and mortar retailer has ten large and small restaurants where they can grill your steak for 90 seconds at 800 degrees.

6. The human role.

Keeping it real and human with bricks and mortar is particularly relevant… [for this] fascinating demographic of shoppers who, on the one hand, consider a trip to the mall a memorable family experience and on the other, … shop “off the radar”, buying from spaza shops in townships and rural areas and belonging to stovels. In both instances, the human connection is vital to the shopping experience. Malls may need to up their game on the experiential level and spaza shops should be taken more seriously by mainstream retailers.

This conversation is not simply for the retail world. “Phygitality,” for lack of a better world, is here to stay. It does not represent the elimination of bricks and mortar, but the importance of what we do physically to integrate with what we do digitally. And, ideally, to have the two create a synergy that is more strategic than either alone.

Consider someone who is wanting to explore a particular church. That used to be a strictly physical process—now it is phygital. When invited by a friend, the invitation is often to explore the church digitally through a website or internet stream. If all goes well, from this comes a physical visit.

The implications are vast, but much of the fruit is low-hanging:

  1. Your digital presence is now the front door of your church. As such, it must be designed as a front door. Just as in the ’80s churches learned that the weekend service was the front door of the church, and needed to be “opened” in a purposefully sensitive and strategic way for unchurched guests, today we must open the front door of our websites and social media in a way that is inviting and compelling.

  2. Previous barriers that you thought were first and foremost in terms of someone exploring your church – such as having a campus in close physical proximity – are largely muted as the initial exploration is digital instead of physical. And if they like what they experience digitally, the physical location is less of a factor for a subsequent physical exploration.

  3. Your digital front door must seamlessly integrate with the physical experience of attending, most obviously by having the experience reflect the digital image and promise you projected.

  4. Don’t let the digital remain simply a front door—let the phygital nature of your church be manifest in every conceivable way, including how children’s ministry check-in might be handled online, an app that offers ways to be served in terms of additional content or learning in light of that weekend’s message, and so much more. A guest will walk in because of a digital exploration and have their smartphone in hand. Keep the dynamic going in ways that both serve their exploration and foster a culture of assimilation.

  5. Your physical experience must also provide what a digital experience cannot. We already know that the digital world is limited in terms of what it can provide in light of a biblically functioning community. But the person exploring your church most likely does not. They should be enticed by the digital, but then, upon experiencing it physically, should be reminded that whatever they streamed on the front end can never take the place of what they experienced on the back end.

We’re all just beginning to scrape the surface of the phygital demand, whether in the retail world or the church world. But make no mistake—the depths are there to be plumbed for enormous kingdom impact.

> Read more from James Emery White 


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James Emery White

James Emery White

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. He is the founder of Serious Times and this blog was originally posted at his website www.churchandculture.org.

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Creating a Come and See Culture

II. AN ENGAGING PRESENTATION

A. Engaging presentations are central to the success of our mission.

  1. Presenting the Gospel is a primary responsibility of the church. We are the only organization charged with that responsibility.
  2. “Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” is the  unique responsibility of the church. (Matthew 28:20)

B. To engage is to secure one’s attention. In presentation, truth isn’t enough. It needs to be engaging. This is important to consider when deciding who is speaking, singing and presenting.

C. Generally speaking, it’s the presentation that makes information interesting. People usually eat either chicken, beef or fish. You determine what restaurant to eat at based on their presentation of the chicken, beef or fish. Presentation makes things interesting. Jesus made his content different than the teachers of his time. The audience attention span is determined by the quality of the presentation.

Engaging presentations require engaging presenters or an engaging means of presentation. Some people write good lessons, others present in an engaging manner. Separate the two. Let the good writers write, then turn it over to the good presenters for presenation.

QUESTIONS

  1. Is your culture characterized by a relentless commitment to engaging presentation at every level of the organization?
  2. Does your system allow you to put your best presenters in your most strategic presentation environments?
  3. Are your presenters evaluated and coached?
  4. Does your system create opportunities for your best content creators to partner with your presenters?

 

III. HELPFUL

A. Helpful = Useful

B. Helpful content is content that directly addresses thinking and living. It challenges people to think different or act different.

C. Content should be age targeted and specific.

  1. Is your content helpful? Presentation, not content, determines interest. Information that does not address a felt need is perceived as irrelevant.
  2. Do your content creators and communicators understand that the goals are renewed minds and changed behaviors?
  3. Is your content age and stage-of-life specific?

CONCLUSION:

Of every environment, program and production ask:

  1. Was the context appealing? Was the setting engaging?
  2. Was the presentation engaging?
  3. Was the content helpful?

This gets everyone thinking the same way. This is a clear filter to evaluate wins at North Point.

How are you creating a come and see culture at your church?

 

Read Page 1 here.

 

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Rob Cizek

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comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
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Creating a Come and See Culture

Here are the notes from Andy Stanley at Catalyst One Day Seattle 2012

Creating A Come-And-See Culture : Three Essential ingredients

INTRODUCTION

The church is a bunch of environments. Staff and volunteers are from various church backgrounds. Every person that shows up to do ministry has a picture in their head of what a win should be. The problem is that if everyone doesn’t have the same “win” in mind it creates problems. You need to develop 3-5 win definitions of your own.  North Point is unapoligcially  attractional. If Andy could heal people at will like Jesus did, he would. He cannot. Instead he can do great children’s ministry and have a great band.  Highlight the word “crowd” in the book of Mark. Everywhere Jesus went he was surrounded by people who couldn’t get enough of him. Jesus was attractional.

Every single program at your church is being evaluated every week by visitors and congregation members. If everyone is evaluating, shouldn’t we be too? When we get this right you create a lot of synergy with your staff. There will be far more wins because everyone is working from the same page.

1. AN APPEALING SETTING

A. Setting – the physical environment.

B. Settings create first impressions.

C. An uncomfortable or distracting setting can derail ministry before it begins. Andy doesn’t want issues in the environment to distract from ministry. For example, when asking people about their environment, North Point found that men want to know how long a service will be. Now they start each service by saying how long it will be. Now there is no concern about service length to distract from the worship experience.

D. Every physical environment communicates something. There are no neutral physical environments. Time in erodes awareness of. Do you even know what is in the lobby of your church?

  • Clean. Clean says “we’re expecting you.”
  • Organized. Organized says we are serious about what we are doing. A national bank lobby is the most organized because they want people to trust the bank with their money. “A business that looks orderly says to your customer that your people know what they are doing.” – Michael Gerber
  • Safe. Safe says we value your kids as if they were our own. Anything that communicates safety is an invitation for parents to leave their children with you.

E. Design, decor and attention to detail communicate what and who you value most. Don’t miss an opportunity to reach culture because you are afraid you are appealing to their consumer instincts.

F. Design, decor and attention to detail communicate whether or not you are expecting guests and whether your organization is insider- or outsider- focused.

G. Periodically, we all need fresh eyes on our ministry environments. If you ever had a babysitter you know what this is about. You arrive home and see everything that has happened, even if the sitter does not.

QUESTIONS

  1. Are your ministry settings appealing to your target audience?
  2. Does the design, deor and attention to detail of your environments reflect what and who is most important to you?
  3. What’s starting to look tired? Address it… unless you just want to keep the people you have.

 

Page 2

 

 

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Rob Cizek

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.