Tag: communication

How to Create Social Media Content From Your Pastor’s Sermon

How to Create Social Media Content From Your Pastor’s Sermon

Social media is relentless. Each day requires fresh content to engage with your audience. Luckily, one of the most valuable sources of content is readily available to you every single Sunday – the sermon. Every week you need new content and every week your pastor creates it.

Here are a five ways to repurpose the Sunday sermon for social media.

1. Verses
Keep the main passage of Scripture or supporting verses in front of people through the week. You can simply post the text or turn them into images using Canva or Over (App). See an example

2. Quotes
Take the memorable quotes from the sermon and turn those into images. See an example

3. Video Clips
You can do this easily in iMovie or a similar program. Clip a short (3 minute or less) snippet that can be easily understood, even without the context of the entire sermon. Post to Facebook. See an example

Tip: Upload directly through Facebook, rather than linking to Vimeo or another site. This will give you greater reach.

4. Sermon Bumpers or Video Stories
Did you create an awesome sermon bumper? Share that bad boy! Folks love to watch these again and it’s a great way to share what happened on Sunday for those who missed it. See an example

5. Next Steps
Did your pastor talk about the importance of serving others? Create a post encouraging people to get involved with a volunteer or mission team. Emphasize Sunday’s application by creating a clear next step for your audience to take. See an example 

Bonus tips:

  • Ask your pastor to send the manuscript or outline to you each week.
  • Take notes during service to remember quotes and verses.
  • Use tools like Hootsuite and Canva to schedule posts and create images.
  • Plan out your content for the entire week. Don’t try to remember to post each day.

What about you? How do you create and plan social media content each week?

Why We Switched to a Monthly Bulletin

Why We Switched to a Monthly Bulletin

The bulletin. The word brings dread to church communicators everywhere.

Like many churches, we created, proofed, printed and folded hundreds of bulletins each week only to watch them be tossed into a trash, left in seats or crammed in Bibles to be thrown away later.

Surely there’s a better way!

In January we took the plunge and made the switch to a monthly bulletin.

Now we produce a monthly news that highlights major events and a story. We pass it out on the first Sunday of the month and make it available at our Guest Services all month. Each week we pass out a simple front and back card with our current series branding, information for first time guests and a perforated tear-off for a connection card.

Here are a few reasons why we made the switch.

1. We launched an app
The app is now the primary way for our regular members and attenders to see upcoming news and events. It’s geared toward our internal audience and we continually push people to check the app and use it to connect with us.

2. The bulletin didn’t change week to week
We emphasize small groups, volunteer teams, family ministries and missions. This means we don’t have significant programming changes week to week. If something does come up, there are other effective channels (email, social media, push notifications) we can use to get the word out.

3. It forces us to plan
All communication requests have to be submitted by the 15th of the month prior to be considered for the monthly news. The monthly method eliminates last-minute promotional requests and ensures details are mapped out well in advance.

4. It allows us to share stories
Every month we include a life change story or highlight a mission team. This gives us another avenue to share the mission of our church (connecting people to Jesus for life change), rather than simply pumping out more events and ministry leader requests.

How’s it working so far? Great! We’ve received positive feedback on the switch, saved money and can use time more effectively throughout the week.

There are no formulas for church communications – it all depends on your context and audience. For us, the move to a monthly bulletin has been the right one.

What about you? Does your church do a weekly bulletin? Are you ready to switch to a monthly?

Resources:
Monthly News – Example
Weekly Bulletin – Example

Case Study: Easter 2015 Communication

Case Study: Easter 2015 Communication

You made it. Another round of planning, prepping and praying for the biggest Sunday of the year under your belt. Congratulations!

We had an incredible day at Southbridge Fellowship with our highest attendance ever and saw more people accept Christ than at any other service in our history.

Here’s a quick look at what we did for Easter:

easter-2015
Aerial view of our 2015 Easter service

The Service – This was the second year of outdoor Easter services. We currently meet in a movie theater and use the adjacent parking lot to bring in a stage and chairs to host the outdoor services. One benefit to this approach is the amount of people who find out about our church simply by driving or walking by. My favorite story was from two young women who were originally on their way to Target saw the gathering and decided to attend. One of them made the decision to trust Christ during the service! How awesome is that?!

Design – We drew inspiration from vintage Billy Graham era posters and hatch print design. The outdoor service and gospel focus reminded us of revival days so we took the concept and ran with it. Web banners, social media graphics and print pieces were created from this design.

Promotion – Our promotions focused on visual and easy to share social media content and personal invitations. We shared videos and graphics on our social networks leading up to Easter. Our social media efforts were a combination of organic and promoted posts. We spent about $50 and reached thousands of people.

We handed out invite cards multiple weeks before Easter with an announcement from our Lead Pastor about the importance of personal invitations. We produced a silly video with the help of our Children and Youth Pastors to give tips about how to (and how not to) use invite cards.

Results – Over 1,100 people attended and many people accepted Christ as their Savior!

Easter can be an exhausting day when you work at a church. Take some time this weekend to rest, recharge and reflect on God’s work …and then get ready ’cause Sunday’s coming!

How did your church celebrate Easter this year?

 

 

Here’s a look at some of our social media posts: 

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Communication Vocab: Words You Need to Know

Communication Vocab: Words You Need to Know

Photo by Diomari Madulara on Unsplash

The next time you are involved in communication or strategic planning, these are a few key definitions to keep in mind.

Strategy – What

What are you going to do? Your strategy is the words you put down on paper to overview the plan you have created. 

Tactics – How

How are you going to accomplish _____ ? This is the set of activities that you and your team will do in order to accomplish the strategy. 

Audience – Who

Who are you trying to reach? This is the people group that will be the focus of your tactics. 

Goals – The win

What does a “win” look like?  These are generally expressed in numbers; although, that can vary in a church setting. For example, we want to see __ % growth in our groups ministry by next year. 

How to Start in Social Media

Social media is not a fad or a trend. It has radically changed how people communicate on a day-to-day basis.  But still, there are churches that remain unsure about how to make the leap into social media. It can seem overwhelming, so here are a few tips to get started in social media.

1. Pick a platform.

You don’t need to be on every social media platform right off the bat. Look at the make up of your church. What social media do they use most? Is it college students? Try Twitter or Instagram. Mostly young family’s? Try Facebook. For most churches, I’d recommend starting with Facebook.

2. Set a strategy.

Who do you want to reach? What will you post? How will you manage your social media presence? Outline a strategy before you start. It’ll provide clarity for you and your team. And, if you have leadership who doesn’t see the value of social media, a well-defined strategy will provide you with answers to their questions about why your church needs to engage in this space.

3. Curate some content.

Your church is bursting with content. Post photos from events along with links to register. What’s the message for Sunday’s sermon? Post verses that will prepare the hearts of your audience. What’s the worship team singing this week? Post a video with a new worship song or a behind-the-scenes photo of practice. Ask questions about what people took away from the sermon series. And, include images when you can.

4. Start a schedule.

There are many free tools available to help you post on a consistent schedule.  The two best tools I’ve seen are Hootsuite and Buffer. These have free and paid options. If you’re just starting, try to post at least once a day. Develop a rhythm where your audience can expect to hear from you. Find a volunteer or staff member who can manage this schedule and commit to interacting with people on a weekly basis.

Remember, social media should be two-way communication. It’s more about conversation than publication.

What do you think? What are other tips for churches starting in social media? 

Bulletins Are Not Magic Bullets

The weekly bulletin is a struggle for me. Truthfully, I’m not a huge fan of bulletins. I’m from a digital generation so I prefer to read and receive my information online. However, I concede it still can be a valuable tool in church communication.

In my experience, the bulletin is the number one communication request. People always seem convinced that a blurb in the bulletin will result in truckloads of people attending their group or signing up for an event. The bulletin rarely delivers on that expectation. As communicators for the church and advocates for our audience, it’s important to keep the bulletin clear of clutter and take the time to explain why the bulletin is not a magic formula for success.

Here are two reasons why the bulletin is not a magic bullet.

1. The bulletin is a high-level communication piece.

We focus our bulletin on connection points for first time guests and information that impacts 80% of our Sunday morning audience.  Keeping that in mind, it’s unlikely that niche opportunities and specific ministry events will hit the right person. It might but the chances are small.

2. More = less.

The more you cram into your bulletin, the less effective it becomes. Adding every event or happening at your church will not accomplish your objectives or allow your audience to take next steps. More is not an effective communication strategy.

When these requests come though, I try to explain the above and offer alternatives. You can see my post on how to make a no feel like a yes for more about that.

What do you think? How do you keep your bulletin communication clear?

3 Ways to Communicate in Bad Weather

I live in Raleigh, North Carolina.

snowpocalypse
This really happened in Raleigh in February 2014. This is a road that I drive every single day to go to work.

That means that I’ve seen schools close for even the possibility of snow. And by snow, I mean flurries. Just look at what happens when it actually does snow in Raleigh.

It’s important to communicate with your church and keep everyone updated when there’s inclement weather.

Here are three ways to do that:

1. Post it on your website.

Create a web page that’s the first thing people will see if they visit your website. It’s a key place to keep people informed about any potential cancellations to services or events. Include “updated on” with a time stamp too so people know if  the information is current.

2. Change your answering message.

Believe it or not, people do still use the telephone. Make sure to update your church’s answering message if you’re going to be out of the office for a few days. Let people know  you’re currently closed and when you plan to reopen. Also, include an alternative way they can get in touch such as an email address.

3. Share through social media. 

Social media is a great way to keep people up-to-date in real-time. If there’s bad weather coming, people look to social media for traffic reports and news updates so it’s a perfect place to share how your church services and activities are being affected by the weather.

What do you think? What are other ways to communicate during bad weather?