November 19, 2020 The Digital Shift - It’s about more than tools and technology
The Digital Shift is about seeing possibilities. Here's how your church can adapt to use communication as a bridge to your audience.
In 2020, we’ve seen a fast-tracked metamorphosis in church communications. Digital ministry was no longer a luxury reserved for those who could afford the best cameras or sound equipment. As doors began to close, the entire Church paused for a moment in unison and said, “Now what?” And God said, “Go.”
People couldn't come to our church buildings, so we met them on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Zoom and anywhere we could. Digital ministry became a lifeboat for all churches, regardless of size.
And as our doors reopened, once again, we have found ourselves asking, “Now what?”
The shift or reality is that we can’t go back, which can feel a little daunting at first. But hopefully, we don’t want to go back. Why?
Because we have moved from Sunday into the everyday.
We have seen new possibilities to build relationships, meet people where they are, walk alongside them in their everyday lives, and guide them to places where they experience life-giving hope and faith.
We have all rowed our lifeboats to a brand new place, where it’s okay to try new things and fail - and learn and try again. It’s okay to simplify in some areas and tackle complexities in others. It’s less about pace and more about taking steps toward authenticity. The only wrong move is not moving your message forward.
Church communications, it’s not just for bulletins and websites anymore.
More than serving as a support to ministry, communications is guiding and shaping ministry possibilities in significant ways. We know many churches have recognized communications as ministry for a long time. But in 2020, we've heard Communications Directors saying that people are listening to them in new ways. Instead of focusing on tactical requests, church leaders are eagerly asking them to share their ideas, develop strategies and take initiative.
As a church, know who you are. Know who you’re called to reach. Really know. Then, brainstorm with your communications leader about building a bridge between those two things. If you don’t have someone leading your communications efforts, now is the time.
Church leaders - we have a huge opportunity to reset. Pause for a moment. Take a deep breath and exhale. Maybe a few times. It’s been a hard year. Then, return to your purpose and calling.
- Revisit your mission. How will you live it out in the months to come?
- How are you recognizing and telling your church’s distinct story? Is it hopeful, inspiring, moving and inviting?
- Who are you trying to reach? What do you know about them? What do you wish you knew?
- How are you engaging people and what are they telling you? This includes your current congregation and community. Not faceless names in a database or online analytics but real-life individuals and families. They need you. And they need to know you see them.
- Where are you creating spaces, whether in-person or online, for conversation, hope and healing?
- Where are people being given opportunities to learn, serve and be an active part of the mission?
Communications is a crucial part of the answer to each of these questions. It’s important for you to have these conversations with your team before you dive into tools and tactics. Agree on what you’re building and then the tools will help you get there.
Written by Jamie Shafer