A Simple Social Media Strategy

A quick confession before we get started, social media isn’t an area my church excels in. We know what we should be doing, but we don’t post nearly as often as we need to. It seems to be one of the first things that gets dropped when we’re busy trying to keep everything else going. We’re going to get better at it this year, but we’re not there yet. I’m willing to bet there are a few of those areas in your church as well.

The most frustrating thing about the whole situation is it’s not difficult.

Not in the least.

And if we were able to put a simple social media strategy in place, like the one I’m about to give you, there’s no doubt we would see some positive things happen in our church.

Here’s how we would do it. We would make sure anything we post falls into one of these three categories.

  1. Promotion – We would want to promote church services, events, and next steps. Facebook is the greatest advertising tool available to us. We’d be crazy not to be using it to promote our church. Plus, it’s free! I’m betting the majority of your congregation and community is using it. So, make sure they know your church exists. Just don’t over do it. People tend to get annoyed by people and organizations that over promote. If that’s all you’re doing on social media, don’t be surprised if people start tuning you out.
  2. Engagement –Facebook is meant for engagement. It was designed to be a conversation, and the changes Facebook has been making are rewarding for those who do this well. You want to make sure you get likes, comments, and shares. Pictures are great for this; video is even better. The more engagement you can create, the more people will see your promotions.
  3. Equipping – Social media gives us the opportunity to resource and encourage not only those who attend our church, but those in our communities and throughout the world. It’s never been easier to spread the gospel message. You can post sermons, devotionals, scriptures, and all kinds of other things that add value to your audience and grow them closer to Jesus.

So if I was starting today and I just wanted to keep it simple, I’d post once a day, seven days a week. Two promotional posts, two equipping posts, and three engagement posts each week.

Now, I know there are a lot more dynamics that can go into this, but remember we’re keeping it simple. And hopefully by keeping it simple, it will keep us consistent. (Fingers Crossed)

Do you have a social media strategy? Why or why not? Let us know about it by leaving a comment below, and if you enjoy the blog make sure to subscribe so you can get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

Five Ways You Can Make the Most of Easter

It’s hard to believe, but we are now less than four weeks away from Easter Sunday. Easter weekend has always been the biggest weekend of the year for the church I serve, which is probably why it’s also my favorite weekend of the year. I love seeing all the new families chasing their little kids all across our campus as they rush to get checked into class, grab a doughnut, and then race to find a golden egg. Hopefully, you’ve already been planning how to make this your biggest Easter ever, but if not, no worries. There’s still time to get it done. In this post I want to share with you a few ideas I’ve seen work year after year to double our attendance and make a huge kingdom impact.

  1. Add a service. For most churches Easter is going to be the highest attended Sunday of the year, without even doing anything. Here’s why, all the people who normally attend your church once or twice a month all show up on Easter. So, to capitalize on this, you should add another service. More services mean more opportunities for people to attend, more opportunities for people to serve, and more opportunities for people to give their lives to Christ. If you currently have one Sunday morning service, add a second. If you have two, add a third or consider doing a service on Good Friday or even Saturday. We’ve had a lot of success with doing a service on Good Friday. It’s the exact same service as Easter Sunday, which means you don’t have to prepare two messages. The reason it works so well is many families may feel obligated to attend other churches on Easter Sunday. Having a service on Friday or Saturday allows them to attend your church and still meet their family obligations on Easter Sunday.
  2. Have an egg hunt. Put aside your feelings about the Easter bunny and let the kids hunt eggs. Most families want to have the experience of watching their kids hunt eggs. It’s a special moment for them, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Sure, you can go elaborate and drop eggs out of a helicopter, but you don’t have to do that. For most small town churches, having an egg hunt is as simple as asking your congregation to bring in filled eggs a few weeks before Easter and asking a few volunteers to place them out in the grass. We’ve done egg hunts before and after services and even on the Saturday before Easter. My recommendation is to keep your egg hunt attached to a service. What about prizes? Glad you asked. You can spend a lot of money on prizes and possibly get more people there, but in my experience they don’t normally come back. For the past couple of years at my church, we have put out a golden egg per age group that they redeem for a $25 Toys R Us gift card.
  3. Do something special. You don’t want to do something completely different than what you would do on a normal Sunday, but you do want to do something special. Now, that could be a variety of things. Maybe you have an ice cream truck come and give away free ice cream to all the kids. Maybe you set up a picture booth with live bunnies. Maybe you do baptisms on that day. People loved being baptized on Easter, and it creates great energy. Maybe you sing a special song that catches everyone by surprise. For example, my church sang “Something in the Water” by Carrie Underwood during a baptism once, and people talked about it for weeks. What are one or two things you can offer that would really make Easter Sunday memorable?
  4. Keep the message simple, and outsider focused. Easter should be the easiest sermon you preach each year. The story doesn’t need any help. It’s amazing just like it’s written. Don’t try to get fancy, just tell the story of Christ and the resurrection. That’s enough. And tell it in a way that someone who hasn’t grown up in church can understand it. Because there is going to be a lot of those people in the audience that day. So, make sure to give an invitation for them to accept Christ as their Savior.
  5. Invite them back. It doesn’t matter how many people show up on Easter Sunday if they don’t come back. Make sure, as you close the sermon, you invite them back for the following week and give them a reason why they should come back. Either start an attractive series the week after Easter, or if you start a series on Easter, make sure it’s compelling enough to bring them back. You can also take advantage of this in your kids’ ministry. What if you gave each child a “coupon” to draw a toy out of the prize box that could only be redeemed in the weeks following Easter? Kids can be very persuasive when there’s a toy on the line.

These are just a few of the thoughts and ideas that I have, but I’d love to hear yours. What are your plans for Easter? Let us know by leaving a comment below, and make sure to subscribe to the blog to get my new ebook and a weekly email filled with tips on church growth, leadership, and more.

Three Ways We’re Using Positive Peer Pressure in Church

Do you recall the story of those three Hebrew boys who were thrown into the fiery furnace? The king made this huge statue and forced everyone to bow down and worship it, but these three boys refused. I wonder what would’ve happened if instead of three boys, there was only one. Would he have still been brave enough to deny the king and face death? Maybe so, but no doubt it would’ve been a much harder decision.

When culture is going one way, it’s really difficult to go the other, even when we know it’s the right decision.

Even when we know it’s what’s best for us, we struggle to do it.

Take diet and exercise for example, I want no part of it, even though I know it’s going to make me healthier.

But, I’m more likely to do it if I’m a part of a group that encourages me and holds me accountable.

At the church I serve, we have this saying “We’re not meant to do life alone.” We stole it from another church. It describes why you should be a part of a small group, but I’m starting to realize that it’s much bigger than that.

We’re not meant to do life alone because most of us are far too weak, myself included.

Let’s not kid ourselves and say we wouldn’t bow down to some statue if we were alone. We have enough trouble reading our Bibles, showing up to church, and tithing.

We need each other, and not just to keep us from doing the wrong things, we need each other to help us do the right things.

It’s this thought that has shaped several things we’re doing at the church I serve this year. Let me share three with you.

  1. Bible Plans with Friends – The YouVersion Bible app is such an incredible resource. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s fantastic. And they just made it better. Now you can read the Bible with your friends and talk about it together all within the app. If you want people to grow closer to God and learn more about His Word, this is one of the best ways to do it. It’s as simple as picking a plan and inviting others to read with you.
  2. In Service Invitations – One of our goals this year as a church is to encourage our congregation to invite more. We’ve tried sending them home with invite cards and similar things with limited success. This year we said, what if we asked them to send an invite within the service? Most people have plenty of contacts in their phones that aren’t attending church. We could just have them send a text. On other weekends we’ll ask them to share a Facebook post. Doing it within the service creates a kind of positive peer pressure because everyone around them is doing the same.
  3. Thank You Center –We’ve been working with our ministry leaders to show more value to the volunteers they serve, but we hadn’t taken the necessary step to really resource them until now. The Thank You Center is a place leaders can go to get thank you cards, birthday cards, and envelopes, so they can better appreciate their
    volunteers. This
    is an idea I saw years ago at the Chick-Fil-A headquarters in Atlanta, and I’m just now putting into practice. I’ve included a picture at the bottom of this post to give you an idea of what that looks like.

These are just a few of the ideas we’re implementing this year. I’d love to hear yours. How are you using positive peer pressure in your church? Leave a comment and let us know, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.