I’m an Asana fan. I use it for my weekly to do’s and to manage projects for our church . Sermon series are a major project that happen several times a year. To help me stay on track and make sure all the pieces for our series come together, I use a project template.
Here’s how it works.
Typically after a series planning meeting or talking with a our Lead Pastor, I’ll go into Asana and copy the project template from a previous series. The project is divided into sections based on the major things that go into a pulling off a series like design and graphics, promotions and then post-series tasks. I like to add a section that covers the marketing materials, just to make sure I have everything covered.
First, I’ll map out the timeline for design and graphics. Typically, we run a 4-6 week timeline, depending on the series and how much marketing will go into it. I’ll add dates for when the initial design concept is due and how long we have for feedback and edits. After the design work is done, I’ll upload it into Google Drive and begin ordering any of the print or marketing materials.
Tip: Begin with the end date and work backward to establish your due dates for tasks.
Promotions and marketing varies for each series. Usually our staple promotions will be social media graphics, eNews/bulletin and invite cards. For a longer series or one that is geared toward reaching our community, we may add a mailer or a video, too.
In this section, I outline the promotions timeline. We’ll promote a series 2 to 4 weeks out from the start date.
Finally, I create a post-series section. This is where I mark tasks that I’ll need to do after the series launches, like update web links and banners with the series page.
There you go! That’s how you can use Asana to map out your next sermon series.
What about you? What tool do you use for sermon series planning?
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?
Video announcements are a great interactive way to share announcements and important info with your audience every week. I love using video because it’s versatile and can be easily shared in other places like on your website and social media. There are a few initial start-up costs to creating videos but I believe it’s worth the investment.
Here’s how we create them:
- Canon Rebel T4i with lenses. We typically use the 75mm – 300mm lense.
- Rhode NTG2 Microphone, mic cable and mic stand
- Beachtek DXA-2T Audio Adapter
- Dead Cat (that furry piece over the microphone…it blocks out a lot of wind noise.)
- Light Scrim
- Final Cut Pro X for basic editing
- Adobe After Effects for text and graphics
Our Worship Pastor films and edits these every week. Typically, we shoot 2-3 weeks worth at a time. We keep our announcements at about 2 minutes in length. Much longer and people will begin to lose interest. If we have a life change story or special video it will run longer.
I don’t use a teleprompter. First, we can’t afford one. Second, I’ve found most people look pretty obvious when they are reading from one. I write out the script and rehearse a few times before we shoot.
We don’t have lighting equipment so we travel around our city and shoot outside…no matter rain, sleet, or snow…wait, that’s the Post Office. Never mind.
Here is the finished product. Ta da!
What about you? Do you use video announcements at your church?
If you are involved with church communications, you will be required to say no. Personally, I find that difficult. I don’t want to hurt feelings or seem like a ministry is unimportant. But the success of our communication depends on saying no. Saying no moves the mission forward and allows people to take their next steps toward Jesus. It also means avoiding the Cheesecake Factory syndrome of church communication.
Here are three ways you can make your no feel like a yes.
1. Offer alternatives.
I might say no to an on-stage announcement but yes to a social media post. I may deny a request for a special bulletin insert but suggest the ministry leader make personal invitations in their small group. I’ve found that many ministry leaders are open to other suggestions; they just need someone to point out alternatives to the Sunday bulletin or an announcement from the pastor.
2. Establish clear guidelines.
This is where your communications manual comes in handy. It outlines your strategy and priorities that you can point to and share with your ministry leads. Take the time to educate your leaders on how you prioritize communication exposure levels. If they understand the strategy, they are more likely to understand your reasoning.
3. Encourage your leaders.
Let them know you are for them and their ministry. Ask them about their goals and offer ways to achieve them. Be available and help them evaluate along the way.
What about you? How do you say no well?