Connecting in the Digital Age

The world we live in is more connected than ever before. Don’t believe me? Check out these stats. Seventy five percent of the world’s population now has access to a mobile phone and the ability to send a text. There are 3.3 billion people online today, and eighty-five percent of them are using email. Out of those online, 1.4 billion of them are on Facebook. We are more connected than ever.

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  • Email

Email is a great way to communicate with your entire audience at once. We use email to shares stories, promote upcoming series, and make announcements. In many ways it has replaced our traditional bulletin.

If you’re sending mass emails, make sure you’re using a program like MailChimp. MailChimp allows you to import those email addresses that have just been sitting in your directory collecting dust all at one time. Your emails will look more professional, and the great thing is it’s absolutely free up to 2,000 subscribers.

  • Facebook

People are quick to downplay Facebook these days because of the sheer amount of junk that people post. I feel their pain, but instead of ignoring it, why not try to curb the trend and post something positive? If all of us did this, maybe we’d see it start to sway in the other direction.

The opportunities to connect with people on Facebook are endless. Just this past weekend we had a first time couple visit our church. After church I friended them on Facebook and messaged them to say, “Thanks for visiting. I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know if you have any questions.” They quickly replied with “Thanks. We loved it, and we’ll see you next week.”

That may seem like a small thing, but it communicates that you care about them. And it’s something most churches aren’t doing. Just think, what if you trained your host team or greeters to start doing this? How big of an impact would that have on first-time guests? In a world looking for connection, this goes a long way.

  • Text

It seems the older I get, the more I hate to talk on the phone. Is it just my house, or is there something about talking on the phone that attracts young kids? If I ever get on the phone, it’s like an alarm goes off to my two daughters to come annoy me.

So, please send me a text message. The great thing about a text is I can reply at my convenience. Which means if I need to give something a little more thought, I have the opportunity to do that. I’m guessing many people in your congregation prefer a text instead of a call as well. Not all, but many.

That’s why we ask our leaders to text their volunteers a few days before they’re scheduled to serve. We also tell small group leaders to text reminders to their attendees. Life is busy, and it’s easy to forget. We even have leaders who text their volunteers scripture each day.

We’ve yet to jump into the world of Instagram and Snapchat, and we’ve only dabbled in Twitter. We know these are areas younger people are going, but living in a small town we’ve found that email, Facebook, and text connect best with the majority of our people.

We’re always looking for ways to get better, so please let us know how you’ve been using digital communication to connect in your church in the comments below.

Send a Postcard

"One Thing" Series

This post is a part of the “One Thing” series. Often we feel like we have to take drastic steps in our life or church to see significant change, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes the small things create the biggest impact. In this series, we’ll focus on “One Thing” you can do that will get you and your church moving in the right direction.

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I’ve already talked about what makes a great children’s ministry. Today I want to get even more specific, and share with you one thing you can do this week that will make a huge impact on the families that attend your church.

Here’s the great thing, it doesn’t take a lot of time, and it cost even less money.

Want to know what it is?

Send a postcard to a child.

Now many of you are going to stop reading at this time because this seems too basic or too easy. That’s fine the rest of us are going to put this into practice and start seeing more families come back to our church, and more families stay at our church.

Here’s why, once you start showing that you care about kids, parents take notice.

Here’s a postcard my daughter got this week from our church.

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It was written by her small group leader, and it referenced her “Need to Know” for that week. Not only does this show we care, it also shows parents what their kids are being taught in class.

My daughters will receive one of these about every other month. We purchase postcards with our ministry logo on them from Vistaprint. Currently, you can get fifty of them for $10. Postcard stamps are 35 cents each.

So, for less than 50 cents you can put a smile on a child’s face, and build trust and equity with parents.

You’d be crazy not to do this. So, what are you waiting for? Get started!

If you have any questions or just have a comment, please let me know. I’d love to serve you better.” Also, make sure to subscribe to the blog and get leadership tips delivered to your inbox each week.

The Power of Invitation

My first invitation to serve in a church came when I was 24 years old. The invitation had taken four years and two churches, but it finally came, just not in the way I was expecting.

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I was attending an old school Baptist church, and they needed someone to fill in and teach the senior adult Sunday school class. I’m not sure how many candidates had said no up to this point, but eventually they landed on me.

I was so excited about being asked that I said yes before even thinking about what I was getting myself into. These people had years of church going, Bible study, and Sunday school experience. What in the world could I teach them?

Truth is I probably didn’t teach them anything, but God used them to teach me a great deal.

I had many other opportunities to fill in and teach at that church for all different ages, and I’ll forever be grateful that they extended an invitation to serve.

We often underestimate the impact of an invitation. I think it’s because we rarely get to see the full result, or we’re so often turned down.

Regardless of the reason, I believe there are five invites every Christ follower should always be given.

  1. An Invitation to Grow – Salvation isn’t the end of a journey. It’s the beginning. Each of us grow at different rates and in different ways, but the foundation of growing closer to Christ is found in an active prayer life and reading and applying the scriptures to ourselves. We can’t expect to become like Christ if we’re not spending time with Him.
  1. An Invitation to Serve – Serving allows us to become the hands and feet of Jesus. I believe Jesus can be described in many ways, but above all He was a servant. Serving puts our faith into action and allows us to share Christ’s love with others.
  1. An Invitation to Community – One of the core values of my church is “You Can’t Do Life Alone.” You’re made for community. We’re always stronger as a team than as an individual. We should surround ourselves with those on the same journey who can strengthen us along the way.
  1. An Invitation to be Generous – Perhaps this is the one invitation that gets rejected the most and at such a high cost. You reap what you sow. If you want blessings to come your way, you should look to be a blessing. An invitation to be generous is an invitation to trust God as our provider.
  1. An Invitation to Invite Others – Do you remember what it felt like when you gave your life over to Jesus? No other feeling comes close, except when you invite someone else to church and they experience that same feeling you had.

If you think about it, our entire faith is predicated on an invitation, an invitation to follow Jesus wherever He may lead us. I hope he will lead you to keep extending invitations.

I would love to hear your invitation stories. Share them in the comments below.