Evangelism Through Social Media

Originally Posted on March 29, 2021
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Webinar Transcript

– So Daniel Wilson, Daniel Wilson is the Director of Evangelism for the Alabama State Board of Missions. He’s gonna kind of start us off and open things up introduce some folks, and then he’s gonna shoot it back to me to begin the discussion. So Daniel, you take off, right?

– Hey, thanks Johnny. And Johnny he’s going to lead the panel discussion this morning. And of course, Johnny is on Eastern time because he lives in Pastures at Phenix City, Alabama right there on the State Line. But Johnny, thanks for being a good friend to me. And Johnny is the pastor of Golden Acres Baptist Church there in Phenix City. But guys, thank you for joining us on this webinar this morning. And this is a very timely subject. How to, how to use social media for the purpose of evangelism. I think most of our churches have used social media for church announcements and to communicate messages to church members. But we’re trying to leverage social media for evangelistic purposes to make Christ known to those who who do not yet have a relationship with him. This, this just blew my mind this past week. And I know some of you guys are more in touch with this than I am, but I but I just heard this past week that more people around the world have a cell phone than have a toothbrush. And, and then, then I heard Facebook and I know there’s other social media platforms. We’ll talk about all these today, but the average person is on Facebook two and a half hours every single day. And so if, if we know that people are on Facebook two and a half hours every single day certainly the church of the Lord, Jesus Christ it needs to have a presence on Facebook. Jesus said, “go into all the world and preach the gospel.” Certainly Jesus meant the worldwide web as a great opportunity for us to be exposing people to the gospel also. So we’re gonna talk about this today and talk about how to use social media for evangelism. And I do wanna introduce our panelists and I wanna pray and then we’ll get into the discussion here in just a moment. But we have with us from Dogwood Media Solutions, we have Lauren and Brian who are, who are sitting together. And I thank you all for joining us. We also have Savannah, Savannah Abney is the Co-founder of Breezy Content Solution and she is also Johnny Ellison’s daughter. And so we’re grateful that she’s on here today. And then Matt Burford, who works with me in our office of evangelism, he’s our Apologetic Specialist. And, and also does training like myself in evangelism all over the state. But Matt, thank you for being part of the panel also. And then we’ve already introduced Johnny but I wanna pray. And then we’ll begin to have a discussion but thanks to each of you for joining us this morning and being a part of this important discussion on using the platform of social media for the purpose, spreading the gospel, let’s pray together. God, thank you for this day. Thank you for allowing us to live in a time in which there are so many opportunities for us to share Jesus, Lord I pray that we would, that we would be wise stewards of all that you have entrusted us with. I pray that you would give us wisdom and how to use the tools and technologies that have been given to us for the purpose of sharing Christ and saying persons come to faith in Jesus, Lord I pray that our churches would be better equipped and encouraged this morning to go out and to make Jesus known in places where he is not known. No, we love you. Thank you for the great call you’ve placed in our lives. Help us to be faithful, to be great commission Christians and help us to not only talk the talk but to also walk the walk and to live out these things that we profess to believe. I know that listening in today there are probably folks who are going through battles and personal problems. And so I lift up those individual needs and concerns as they have also, would you administer your grace and your peace and your healing work in those situations also this day in Jesus name, we pray. Amen. Thank you Johnny.

– Well guys, who, who are all you are all and we’ve got a good, a good number a good number of churches represented. Let me give you a brief explanation of what we’re trying to accomplish here today. And I think you generally know but last last in, in January of 2020 none of us could have anticipated about what was to come up. And usually the last Sunday of each January I do a message just looking at the vision for the coming year, kind of what are the things we’re trying to accomplish as a church kind of vision Sunday for the coming year and January of 2020, I did that and we laid out a vision. We had some strategies and some things. And quite frankly, I looked back at that vision message and almost none of it in specifics was accomplished. 2020 changed radically was I came into January of 2021. We determined a very simple vision for this year and it’s pray go, pray period, go period. That’s it. In fact, we’ve got t-shirts, we’ve even got we’ve got some of our masks with the pray and go and our church logo, all that. And it’s really to, to increase our prayer presence and to increase our presence of going reaching the lost. Tom Rainer says the churches that are being most effective in reconvening after COVID are the churches that are becoming less concerned about the the church members who didn’t return and really setting their face toward reaching the lost reaching those who have never been in church, that, that those have tended to be the more successful returning churches. And so we began to look at all the ways in our church. And I began to sit down with all of our ministries and say from our virtual worship feed to our children’s ministry to our student ministry, we have the the person that oversees kind of a lot of our social media stuff. How do we, how do we go after those who have never come? And so social media is one particular thing that I thought was an intriguing thought, because if if I’m not mistaken many churches represented here and there are about 25 different churches represented right now, this moment many churches probably use social media for informational purposes to share events, coming up share information about their church schedules that a worship service, Hey, join with us. And that’s great. That’s great. But how do we go from using social media exclusively as information for our people to using it as an outreach to people who have never come. And so that’s specifically what this is about today and represented on this panel with Brian and Lauren at Dogwood Media Solutions. We have a company, they operate in the business world and in ministry world. And that kind of thing that they personally are involved in in ministry and local churches but also their business involves a lot in in content creation and digital marketing and Savannah with with Breezy Content Solution, same a very similar type approach that that helps people leverage social media to reach people who haven’t been, you know, customers yet so to speak. And then with Matt and Daniel we have two men who have a long history and background of Evangelism of Apologetics. And so we have the technical marries the evangelistic ministry in this panel. And so I hope we can, we can address that. A couple of questions are coming up and I’m gonna I’m not ignoring you. And I’m going to get to those just a little bit but I have a few that I wanna go ahead and start the conversation. So I’m gonna begin with a question this this kind of targeting either Matt or Daniel or both for our purposes, for this discussion. Can you all give us kind of a brief visual on a distinction between kind of discipling and ministering to folks who are already in your church and evangelism just for this discussion.

– I’ll take that. I think a simple way to think about it. And most of us would probably already have this as an ongoing kind of image in our head is one-on-one discipleship versus broad evangelism. So when you’re talking about discipleship more often than not, you’re already talking about a believer who is in church, who’s in fellowship who’s worshiping and it’s usually one on one and it’s usually to take it’s usually a young believer and an old believer or an older mature believer bringing the younger one along the image of course is Christ Jesus because this is what he did. When he first came to earth he started a discipleship ministry with few men and those men went out and discipled other people. And that went well along that kind of route evangelism in itself is a broad term usually to unbelievers but it can be necessarily to believers, but more more often than not evangelism is a broad message gospel message promotion to a broad amount of unbelievers.

– Okay. Daniel, do you have anything to add to that or

– Yeah am gonna, well said, i mean to say the pre-conversion, post-conversion if you’re if you, if you’re trying to draw a hard and fast distinction between the two.

– For this conversation, I feel like it be helpful for us to do that. So next question, and this is either Brian or Lauren or Savannah, both of you can certainly answer and whatever order you wanna answer in that’s fine with me. I’m gonna put this out there. Oftentimes social media is used within our churches as information and announcements, almost like another form of announcements to add to the standard up front and, you know, given that or whatever or announcement videos, or whatever, generally this targets those are already part of our churches. Can you offer a brief summary of the difference in using social media to inform those who are already kind of customers or followers versus using social media to reach those who have not kind of bought into your message yet? Just a distinction.

– Yeah, I can jump in there. So I primarily our company Breezy Content primarily works with for-profit businesses. We have some nonprofit and we have worked with some ministry, but what I tell people in that set is that we kind of operate with an 80% value 20% call to action mentality on social media. So that means we’re providing a lot of value upfront. And then when we ask, we ask in a really direct, clear way but we’re not constantly pushing to, to give to attend to join a group. Those are those strong calls to action in a church or in ministry. So I think the way that you can kind of go about balancing that is really pick your spots where you’re using it more as your bulletin board, you know just a simple Thursday night Bible study. It probably doesn’t need a full on Instagram post. That could probably be a story thing. It could be your other marketing channels like your email marketing for text marketing things like that, that are more direct communication lines to people who are gonna be involved in those areas. Whereas, you know your social media presence really needs to be about telling your story and really providing value. First and foremost, one example, when I look at these questions last I was thinking about is my husband and I have moved several times in four years of marriage already about six times. So every time we moved to a different area I’m looking at churches because we have moved churches several times now. And one of the first things I do is look at their social media and I can very quickly see from their Instagram feed, what their vibe is, what their what kind of church they are. I can see what their worship center looks like. And obviously, you know, a pulpit and pews is a little bit different than abandoned lights. You can kind of get a sense of what the church is what their story is, what they placed priority on. If they’re talking about their events only versus what they’re out doing in the community, you know providing resources from the sermon, previous Sunday, giving you even just graphics with verses on them and encouragement, things like that. Those are your value kinds of pieces of social media. So really trying to put, you know, 80% of your efforts into that type of content versus, you know, the call to action. Like I mentioned, I think that’s a good rule of thumb that you can kind of follow.

– Ryan and Lauren, no one to kick in there.

– Yeah, we definitely agree that the 80,20 rule is something we talk about all the time of our clients also to look at your world and in the business world, look the hard part is the 25th part is the easy thing for churches is that they keep falling back on events up there. Or the 80 part, like in Savannah Abney are great ideas of different content pieces that you can put out there for that bill on that 80% of is another one we always tell people tell us all about your story, pastors. You know, you’re preaching a lot. That becomes great content for blogs. A lot of times the things that are your sermon that you’re already writing about it. Why not write something about what should we be talking about that Sunday, using that as content to put out there. So there’s definitely ideas of things you’re already doing that can be recycled and used for the 80% part where it’s not always trying to get someone to go to this event or do this.

– Yeah.Right. So Lauren, cause I know I have researched you at least I just looked on your company’s website for those watching to just to note with I know that Matt and Daniel both worked with the Alabama State Board of Missions, Brian and Lauren and Savannah kind of have their own businesses but each of them has pretty extensive church background. So to speak both involved personally and on staff at times. So for those out there just wondering they, but Lauren I know that you have a pretty heavy English background and so mentioned that I turned every Sunday afternoon I sit down and take my sermon. I don’t, I don’t preach from a sermon manuscript but I have a really extended outline. So it’s almost, it takes me all of about 30 minutes to turn it into a two or three part blog. And one of the things I learned is I don’t necessarily have to write a thousand words. So could you Lauren because of your background, I’m thinking could you talk a little bit about what what’s a healthy thing for maybe a pastor maybe someone watching them what to turn into a blog and what does that look?

– Yeah, I mean blogs are one of the things that I try to get people to give you regularly ’cause it’s just really good content generally for pastors. Your congregation wants to hear from you more than just on Sunday morning, instead of doing something this new blog is a really great way to connect with them without just being a Sunday morning Wednesday night interactions or sermon, just fleshing it out a little bit and turn it into the blogs. And it doesn’t have to be a huge thousand word 2000 word thing. You’re not writing a book and writing blogs. So we tend to tell people, try to stay around the 500 to a thousand word range much longer than that. Just don’t really flush out the ideas that you’re wanting and we don’t have to be the best writer. You just have to be honest and open with your congregation and share with them in writing the same way you would when you’re speaking things they really value the things that you’re saying. And that can be a really great way for them to take what you’re teaching them on Sunday and curate it accurately.

– It also kind of plays into your search engine optimization for your website because a lot of times those words you are using in the blogs are things that people will search for on Google Google loves to see you upgrading your website constantly. And so if you are writing a weekly blog post it’s additional content that you are putting out there also.

– And that’s the value piece. Savannah had talked about it if someone’s not a member of my church, but they’re just out there scrolling and I I’ve taken the message that I feel like I’m on Valentine’s day. I preached a message on what real love is. Love God with all your heart. Love it. But, but those, I would assume those words are out there. Then Brian, to what you said, if they’re searching or even if they’re just scrolling on social media someone who’s not a part of my church or any church might be likely to pause. If that’s something they’re dealing with in life or whatever. And now they’ve got this brief blog that may give them some encouragement or what anyway it’s a piece of value added for them that I’m not I’m not asking them to give anything or do anything. Hey, here. Here’s how I can help you kind of, kind of a deal which is the heart of Christ and that awesome. Anything else on, on that piece? Just the, the, the difference between using leveraging social media to reach those who haven’t come and, and those who already have. I’m gonna throw something out before before I go kind of the next thing. And I know Doug’s on there. If it’s possible, Doug, if this is Daniel if you think this is okay, Matt, just dropping the websites for Dogwood Media Solutions, Breezy Content in the, in the Q and A if, once we get off this webinar if people have questions specifically related to to a content and social media, that kind of thing and it could still be a great opportunity to connect there. I’m gonna go back to Dogwood Media Solutions and Breezy Content. I’m gonna go back, go back there one more time. So social media expertise. So we may have some folks who are on here. And my intent was to lay this out for those who may be brand new, I’ve talked to at least one person who said, “my pastor asked me to kind of be our digital content virtual pastor director. And I’m not, I’m not really sure what to do with that.” So this question kind of what level of social media expertise might a person in our churches need to lead out in social media outreach. So I’m gonna, I’m gonna lay out for you guys. Two possible options. One you’ve got the person on here said I was asked to do this by my church. I’m not sure how the other is church leaders, pastors on here going, I need to find someone who can do this. So kind of what, what kind of social media expertise might they need or to have.

– You may go first again. So I’ll answer kind of in both of those audiences and both of those people. So if you are someone, if you’re a pastor or ministry leader and you’re looking for help outsourcing that content creation is extremely cost effective a lot of the time. And a lot of the time you’re gonna end up getting a higher quality product, simply because you you hiring internal resources is always more expensive than outsourcing just from a business perspective. And even in ministry, you probably know that I was on staff at a church for about three years, about 2000 and we still only have one graphic designer on staff and he was always spread so thin. So even if you have a church of that size or much smaller, you might not even have a full-time graphics person on staff just as one example or copywriter, those sorts of things. So to bring in people with all those expertise a lot of times it’s just easier, more cost-effective and you’re gonna get a higher quality product by outsourcing to a team like Dogwood or to our team, that sort of thing. So there’s a lot of solutions out there like that that are very affordable. Obviously you can explore, like I said like Dogwood or our company and things like that. So that’s, you know, a very easy option to get started at a really good price point. If you want an internal team member to do this and either it’s a staff member or it’s just a volunteer have you been asked to do that? I would really highly recommend going to the person who asks you to do that and asking if you can get some education, if they’re willing to invest in you a little bit to get you the expertise that you need I would be happy to talk with you about some great resources to get started. You can shoot me an email at info, breezy, content.com. I can send to a lot of great places that you can educate yourself a really low price point and just get all of the expertise you need because at the end of the day, it’s all out there. We’re not, I know I I’m only an expert cause I do it every single day. It’s not because I’m so much smarter or so much more capable than anybody else. So that information is out there. But my first recommendation to you would be if you don’t feel confident yet in what you’re doing, you know, go to the pastor or the ministry leader who asked you to take on that role and say, Hey would you guys be willing to kind of help me out? I’ve found these great resources. It’s a pretty small price point. I can kind of basically go through these courses, myself educate myself and get myself to the place where I feel really, really confident to do this. And that eventually could actually be more cost effective for you, but from a ministry standpoint because you’ve got a volunteer, who’s willing to do it. Who wants to do it? And you just put a little bit of effort in upfront a little bit of money up front and really educating them. And then they can train other people to work, you know, on the same social media stuff that they’re doing themselves. So that would kind of be my advice in both of those camps.

– And so Brian and Lauren, I’m gonna I want you all to kick in this, but I also have something I’m gonna add for you. If you’re talking about you’re talking about social media platforms. So let me lay out the, the main ones that I’m familiar with that I think most people right now would be familiar with or to use. Obviously you’ve got, you’ve got Facebook you’ve got Instagram you’ve got Twitter in some really edgy ministries. You may have Snapchat. You may have Tik TOK. I don’t know when those, I know some others have come up clubhouses, but those not so much. But if you’re talking about beginning, Facebook, Instagram, maybe Twitter. So the question I just posed that Savannah addressed but also add to it. If you’re, if you’re trying to reach people who are not already a part of your church, which of those platforms do you feel might be the most effective and do that and why?

– Going back to one thing Savannah said and all that too about free resources also do they’re out there. There’s several Facebook groups people can join. for social media management in the church, those are always great resources great places to start.

– That’s true.

– I was actually talking to a person yesterday and they’re like, we don’t have any money. We’re posting directly to Facebook. And I was like, you’re going into something like Hootsuite which is a very inexpensive social media management tool is a great way to keep organized. And that kind of use for planning purposes too. And so someone who’s just starting out I wanna say it’s like $15 a month with Hootsuite as a way to have all your things into one platform to be able to control your Facebook or Instagram and Twitter and those type of things. And it helps you develop out schedules and planning because if it’s a volunteer, running social media being able to plan things in advance is a huge part because they have work and kids and everything else going on. And this is that volunteer part. And so being able to plan those things out and still you have to be social, you’re running social media but you need a place to wanna go to to be able to do that. The other question Facebook right now is still number one it’s still the biggest one. If a church comes to me and said, where do we start at? I’m always like, Facebook is the one that go to still right now because it’s the biggest platform.

– Starting point is always gonna be Facebook just because it has the largest number of participants, followers.

– The largest number of people that you the reach part is always changing. It’s always, it feels like it’s a game constantly. We’re working with our algorithm to figure out what it’s gonna be this week or today because they’re always constantly changing it but there’s still the biggest one. There’s going to be where you grow your biggest audience. Instagram is right there alongside with it. And then all the tools that Facebook has been developing now are making it even easier to be able to manage Facebook and Instagram from one place. And so it’s it’s making an easy transition persona to bring that in. And generally the Instagram is going to salute a little bit younger audience too. So if you’re trying to reach younger families you’re going to be on Instagram, but you run into other issues because then you have to get into not being able to put your links in there. And look, if you want a call to action.

– It’s true. where there’s things out there to solve these issues Linkedin is one that we’ve used. And we’ve even for churches who couldn’t afford any Linkedin we’ve set up pages on their, on their websites. So basically it was their own Linkedin where they could go in and place links on a page on their website. It requires a little more manual operation but it was the life in the save money, not using that. And so there’s ways to do things and do it on a budget that meets the church and be able to still do them effectively.

– Savannah, do you have any other thoughts on that as far as the different social media platforms if you’re trying to reach unsafe in church?

– Yeah. I would say personally, I would say Facebook and Instagram, just because with Instagram you’re gonna reach gen Z and millennials. And then you’re also going to get up to about gen X and then with Facebook you’re gonna get some millennials all the way up to baby boomers. So you’re gonna hit two very wide demographics on both.

– The largest sector of the population.

– Yeah, I had to kind of both. And I think a lot of times we kind of forget about pushing towards millennials and the reality is and you’re probably aware of this Linkedin movement that’s happening. And a lot of millennials are either leaving faith, the church or both. It’s a pretty large movement at this point. But the one thing ’cause I had people like this in my own life. The one thing I know that is true is when they start having children, things start to change. And when you have kids, all of a sudden it’s, we gotta get the kids in church. You gotta to him a BBS. And maybe these stay-at-home moms just want a break too which is very possible, but the everything starts to change. So really trying to hit those millennials that are starting to have children and they’re hanging out on Instagram. That’s, you know, it’s about reaching either people who’ve walked away from church completely or have never set foot in one, that’s a perfect opportunity to try to grab those people. And they’re definitely, I mean, as Brian said there are things to work around with Instagram but I think they’re both they’re necessary. And since Facebook bought Instagram, now they’re so interlinked. They are really intertwined. I think that’s where you that’s definitely where you start at this point as a church.

– Yeah. And for those again, I’m going to operate as if maybe they’re just beginning for those who may not have known that Facebook and Instagram, literally they’re, they’re connected. They have the same ownership. And when you, when you post say to a story and Instagram, you can, you can set it to where it automatically post and Facebook as well. So for those who may not have known that, that that’s a that’s a real easy way to do so if you get those two and I guess Twitter is maybe a bit of its own animal, but but I’m just saying if you can do Facebook and Twitter yeah. Is like… What’s that?

– We call it the dumping ground.

– Oh my goodness. Yeah. It’s like when you stop on a big ant bed and all the ants, that’s Twitter to me. So anyway, I’m gonna shift here to Matt and Daniel for a moment. So most people they’re coming across our social media stuff. Right? Most people you’re three seconds or less. Right. ‘Cause I know even, even Facebook has the stat you can look at it for those who are there for the three seconds. If people are out there watching and saying, okay if I know that people are only gonna see my my social media posts for three seconds or less for each of you what do you think would be the most important piece of evangelists content you would want them to see if they’re on there three or four seconds or less?

– Hey for me that’s easier cross and resurrection. That’s the central story. The, the meta narrative. So just that any way-

– By the way, I’m gonna take this question and use it and shift it to, to Brian, Lauren and Savannah too. So you’ll go, hang on. Go ahead. Sorry.

– That’s my best. That’s my answer though. Just, I mean it’s cross death, burial, resurrection.

– Okay.

– Yeah, I think that’s true. But if you’re gonna also images are so important because we’re an image culture. I think for an unbeliever, there’s probably a lot of unbelievers who don’t know a lot about church itself. How, what is church? Like? Some people don’t even wanna go into church ’cause they’re probably a little scared about what worship is and what what’s this Lord’s supper thing. So maybe even to show images of worship in Lord’s supper and images of, you know kids playing and worshiping at church I think those images are vitally important of what your community looks like within the church.

– Okay, good. This particular question I had thought about relative to Matt and Daniel, but then I started thinking of, okay those thoughts, the crossroads, then, then how do we communicate those? So now I’m gonna go to Brian and Lauren and Savannah taking those thoughts those ideas, what the most effective ways to communicate those through social.

– I want to jump on one thing Matt talked about the imagery because this is something we’ve been advising churches on a little bit. There’s a lot of churches have someone that has a camera. Everyone has a camera in their pocket on the phone. I’m like, but even some of them are getting these DSLR cameras and they’re taking really good pictures but they’re doing it not when they’re at church and they’re looking for ways to plug in. And so we’ve actually been going in and telling churches, Hey go create a photography team and schedule it just like anyone else in the entire building, you know and have a person dedicated to take pictures every Sunday. And we use something called flicker, F- L-I-C-K-E-R. You can go in there and deposit all your pictures on there. And then you have a repository of pictures for social media, for your website. And it just builds up this ability to be able to show people this is where we are when you’re constant taking pictures. Even like right now, when everyone’s still wearing masks but most churches don’t wear mask. That’s okay. We wanna show people that this is what it looks like when you come here to 10 there’s people spaced out or they’re not spaced out. There’s people wearing masks or not wearing a mask is representative of who your church is and when you’re constantly updating it, it’s just it is a great way to show it. One of the things we’ve done to start photography teams for churches is on only having a photographer come in and we’ll say, let’s offer a one hour photography class. We’re gonna teach anyone and everyone who wants to learn about photography, how to operate your camera better. And so we did it at a church had about 15 people show up for the class on a Sunday afternoon with the we we in our class at the end of our class our professional photographer had gone through and given them all instructions, how to better use their camera and then in the class, Hey guys. Now, if you would know how to operate your camera better reforming a photography team here at the church. Who’s interested in come up here. And once one day a month being the person dedicated to take pictures. And it was amazing because it got to the point where I had three people at one time serving every Sunday. And so I would say I need you to be in Sunday school classes taking pictures of different things happening in classes. I need you to be the person to worship center. I ever do a baptism a Sunday. I need someone to go up there in the baptistry not from the floor, but I still up in the baptistry and take pictures of that moment when someone’s getting baptized because those are huge moments in the life of the church that were getting missed. And it was a great way to capture those using them for social media. And like I said, just built those a repository of pictures. And by putting a flicker, we basically were able to give out that log in to all the people in our team and they just put it on their cornea. So it didn’t create any additional work for me when I was ruined this role as a communications director of the church and which is what I needed. I needed something that wasn’t gonna take time away from me, but also add it into being able to tell the story of what we were doing in the church.

– Excellent. Savannah you have anything to kick in on that.

– It’s the words out of my mouth. That’s literally exactly what I was gonna say. This is the same advice I’ve given countless people over the years is you need you have some professional in your church likely and just get them to start recruiting people for their team. And that’s the way to go about as well. I think the class thing is fantastic. That’s a really, really great idea. But also if you have some, you know you have professional photographers in your church who are willing to donate some time recruit some younger kids who are interested in learning that you could develop a team that way. And I think when you really look at social media one of the first things you wanna see I’ll tell you one thing, that’s a turnoff to me personally if I look at someone’s Instagram feed and the 80% of what I’m seeing in those few squares are just graphics of this events happening, this event’s happening but you’re not telling me a story. I have no idea what you’re about except that you put that you’re pushing programming. I don’t know what your mission is. I don’t know what your heart is. I don’t know what sermon series you’re in. What are you guys talking about right now? What are you placing importance on? You know, when you do use graphics and need to be used in a very strategic way to give points from the sermon that you know, the week before to share a scripture and encouraging a quote those sorts of things need to be used more than more than just the event-based, you know, sorts of things. And ultimately you want the majority to be photos of the life of your church, of you guys serving in the community of your student, activities of your kids. All those things are super important and make sure you’re showing a well-rounded version of your church. You also don’t want to just see worship shots all the time. I think some churches do that, even more modern churches which they look nice and they’re great but I wanna see all of that. I wanna see what your kids area look like.

– There is something else going on.Yeah.

– And obviously there’s some legalities there with kids getting photographed and put online and all that. And you have to kind of work around that but you wanna be able to see, you know every of the church’s offering from a value standpoint. And ultimately I will say, however, you can work on the kids and youth step people, ultimately who are not regular goers. They come to church with their kids. That’s how they come back. And that’s why they keep attending regularly. So whatever priority you can place on those sorts of things that’s where I would put that’s I would throw all of my eggs in that basket personally.

– One just kind of thought, and anybody can kick in on this. So when you’re talking about the photography team Brian just mentioned, and then Savannah the difference in going to a social media fit the difference between seeing stock photos versus photos that are actually of your people.

– It’s not comparable. It’s, I mean, it’s literally worlds different if you have to use stock every now and then and there are what I would call product shots. So it’s just have a Bible or hands holding a Bible or there’s not faces in it. It’s just hands, things like that. Mixing that in. If you really are struggling on the custom photography end is okay but there really is nothing compared. People can tell from a first glance if it’s real or stock, it’s not hard to tell. And there is a huge difference in putting the of your people out there versus someone you bought off of elements or you got from Unsplash that everybody uses.

– Oh, we call stock photography placeholders. So that they’re waiting for you to be able to produce the actual real content that needs to be shown here. So sometimes if we’re building a website for a church and we’re having trouble getting them to give us pictures we’ll stick it in there. But we literally tell them, this is not intended to be here. You need to go get pictures and replace these pictures as soon as possible. And some of them do some of them don’t, but it’s it’s one of the things that we definitely push. And we tell them from the very beginning, but we’re having a first conversation of a church and building a website for them. We need to have pictures. Do you want us to do it? Or do you wanna take care of this? which one do you wanna do?

– It’s is not, it’s not an, it’s not an either, or it’s a it’s kind of a no, how do you wanna to do? This is going to happen. It’s not a question.

– This got to happen.Yes.

– And through in the chat she said she gets so much more interaction when she puts pictures up of actual people in the church. So from an engagement standpoint that’s a huge reason alone to invest in it from, you know, engagement whether it’s saving posts, liking, sharing, commenting and even just growing followership online. Those are great reasons to, to invest in it as well.

– I think that was from Suzanne Johnson who is who’s our social media, creative director from our church So that’s something we, we believe in for Matt and Daniel. I’ve got a question that that’s kind of on my mind thinking, as we’re talking about reaching people who are not a part of our churches and, and you guys are all around particularly Alabama, which is, but we we have some folks that are on here I believe possibly outside of Alabama but still I would suspect that it’s pretty much Southeast everybody on here. The pieces that you guys may have experienced that are the top one or two or three things, people outside the church, okay. People outside of our churches, the top two or three things that they just, they may not know about our churches that we should want them to.

– But I think certainly that we’re a caring community of believers. And I want Matt to chime in here as well, but, but I I don’t want to put words or thoughts in unbelievers minds or hearts or, or attempt to pretend to know what they what they, what they think about us. But, but I do think we have to do a better job of communicating our, our concern and care for others whether they agree with our beliefs or not.

– I’m not sure that’s not tied to the question we just answered the visual images of us.

– Yeah. We can do a better job convincing, even though we’ve had fundamental disagreements in beliefs that doesn’t mean that we don’t love and care for you and wanna show kindness and hospitality towards you.

– Because we probably not in a social media post gonna logically reason out to them why they should trust Christ.But it’s more.

– Exactly. Exactly. So community building. Okay. And-

– So Matt What about, what about for you though?

– I think, thinking about your initial question of the difference between discipleship and evangelism is important and that has to be kind of your thought process at every post. I mean, I know there’s a lot of posting going on daily and weekly, but you just have to you’d have to decide what your purpose is for each post. And the reason I say that, because if you’re gonna have a post thinking about an unbeliever in, in any post you would wanna think about, okay, well, not just images but how am I promoting who we are and what we do and what our mandate is and what our purpose is from an unbeliever that happens upon what you do. What about an unbeliever? Who knows nothing about religion, you know other than what they’re bringing to the table and what culture has told them. So how do you fashion, how do you fashion a post or post or a group of nests of posts that that promote Orthodox basic orthodoxy? I mean, those are the kinds of conversations that I’d like to be involved in with people because I find them kind of interesting. You know, now also, what are you posting on? Now? I run a nonprofit and we post, we don’t post a lot but we’ve posted on Facebook. And since the nature of our nonprofit is apologetics inevitably, we used to get, and we probably still currently get, ’cause we’re dealing with volatile subjects a discussion about what we post underneath, you know, other than the image or whatever we have. And you also have to decide as a church or church body how am I gonna get into discussions involving the posts that I put out there, especially in a world now that wants to cancel us based on preconceived notions of being intolerant or not liking this group or not liking this group. I mean, even a post of a worship service might turn into a horrible discussion that will drag somebody down a rabbit hole. And before you know it, your mannerisms not Christ-like. So all those, I think all that to say, you better have an idea of what you’re trying to do with your social media going into it. And that’s with every post

– For the attendees on there too. Just remember whatever your, whatever your perception is or has been maybe in the past about kind of the culture’s view of the church. I think right now you guys can any of you can tell me if you think I’m wrong. I think we have to assume right now that people who are not in church reviewing us probably have a negative view of the church. I would say there are more out there right now maybe who have more of a negative view of the church than positive who have never been in church or never been a part because many of the cultural messages that are coming in and that’s a shift. I think that’s a shift over the last couple of decades, particularly. And so how am I gonna commute? I can’t assume, not only that they don’t know what we’re doing but I probably got to assume that they may not even like me as we’re going out and doing that. I have a question that’s all in the, in the chat box. I wanna make sure I don’t miss it. Here’s the question from, from Billy Reinhart I told some friends of mine lately. I’m looking for the digital door hanger and I and I get the image there with webinars like this since we cannot do physical door hangers with COVID literally talking about going door to door putting door hangers out. How might that be? And we may have answered that a little bit, but I’m gonna go ahead and address that question specifically. What could that look like? And I think the images that go on door to door hanging door hangers manually on the door versus maybe a digital first glance.

– One of the things that I think is really important in this conversation. And since we’re talking about trying to reach people who are not already involved or bought into what we’re doing is pointing out that the people that follow you are probably church members or they’ve been here before those kinds of things. So nobody is interacting and sharing the things that you’re putting out. Then you’re not actually reaching anybody outside.

– Good point.

– So you can do one of two things. You can pull your church into this mission that you’re trying to do and encourage them to be an active part of evangelism on social media or you can put money behind it. And in church world more than likely your best option is to get your church behind you and have them want to share things, to reach others. So really be thinking about what you’re posting and what people interact with for one of our clients the best posts that we put out all week is the quote from Sunday sermon that we put out on Monday morning, and everybody loves it. They all share it. And we try if the sermon’s already out and on the website we try to put the link to that in the, in the captions so that people have an option to see the sermon. They have an option to read a short little extract from the sermon. And that gets out to a lot more people than just our Wednesday night services at this time post. And to me, that is your digital door hanger because those are the posts that are getting out there to people. And that the majority of your external audience that you’re really trying to reach are gonna see. So being intentional to do those encouraging posts or the quote post or whatever it is that’s really showing who your church is and then getting your church to be that mission and sharing those things

– Sharing the, liking the re-tweeting, the sharing their story from misery whatever, multiplying the eyeballs that are seeing it.

– Yeah, because if, I mean, if you get 50 likes on a post that’s fantastic, but if nobody shared it, then only your church saw it and you’re not reaching outside. You’re just nurturing inside.

– Savannah. Anything to

– Yeah. I think it’s getting creating a culture where you have buy-in from the church on social media and that’s a strong push ultimately if the pastor makes it important. It’s gonna be important to people. That’s just kinda how it goes. So from a leadership standpoint you have to talk about social media consistently and in the right way is of course, but creating that buy-in from the church internally to share, to save posts to share them through DMS, to share them through more direct messages, even through texts you can just get a link to any post on any platform and text it to somebody. If you don’t wanna share it with them, actually on social media, just kind of creating a culture around that I think is really important. I know we’re talking about social media and we’re not talking about email but email marketing is huge when it comes to these digital door hangers. And that’s essentially the same thing. That’s a virtual way of sending out that door hanger that doesn’t necessarily have to be just event based. Obviously when things like Easter come up and Christmas and these big holidays, you’re probably gonna use it and those ways, but that’s a perfect way. And I think even more than that, honestly the next wave is text marketing. That’s really where it’s at because people are even getting to where they’re not checking their email nearly as often. So, so from a texting standpoint, that’s going to be huge. So I’ll be my recommendations around that digital door hanger kind of idea.

– And I’ll pick out something as as a pastor and it’s only in one particular area but to prove the point that Lauren shared and that Savannah, you just said, Sunday morning we have started once our five minute countdown starts and it gets to like 350. We have one of our guys from the praise team just hop up on the stage and say, Hey guys, am TJ could you take about two minutes, log on to Facebook find our live feed and share it. And right before the service starts everybody who’s already in there. At that point, we get to share it. We also, we only do a, a live feed for our 10:30 service. So our small groups that are meeting at 10:30 we have our small group leaders do the same thing before we start our small group before we start our connect groups and we everybody to get on Facebook, share our live feed. And it has really, I mean our numbers of people engaging on our live feed has has exponentially increased just by sheer. So that’s only one area. I know that’s only the live feed, but still it’s the principal Lauren shared getting people to share. It just multiplied the impact on that. I’ve got one question just about using humor and that may be more of a general. I’ll just I’ll kick it out there. You know, humor for maybe an older crowd or younger. What, what are, what do you, do you have a how about just a couple of principles on reaching people with humor and what’s good and what’s bad or whatever.

– So Christian memes are really funny amongst Christians because we know the silly goofy things that churches do that we’re like why the world would we do that?

– We know the church speak.

– Yeah. You know, the church, it’s like how you can make fun of your, your siblings and it’s okay. But if somebody else makes fun of your siblings like you get mad about it. So like the outside world doesn’t understand our inside jokes and especially with memes, they can generally they’re usually using some form of sarcasm or kind of snarky tone, which is really hilarious to us but to be a really big turn off to the outside world, because when we’re trying to prove that we’re not these judgmental, hateful, terrible whatever people that the outside world tends to think that we are Christian memes can kind of be like, Oh wow. Y’all don’t even like each other. So why, why am I gonna be a part of that? So I think humor is fine if it’s done tastefully, memes I would stay away from if possible. But yeah, just in general, I think our if we can stay away from sarcasm and snarkiness in our external pursuit of others if you wanna post things in a private group to the youth group, then you laugh together. Like that’s one thing. But as far as our pages that are externally facing I would try to stay away from those kinds of things.

– Savannah.

– I’m a little sassier by nature. So this may be coming out in my.

– That’s true.

– But I do definitely agree. I don’t think Christian memes specifically should be shared on church pages. ‘Cause you’re just isolating yourself more from people and you’re isolating them from yourself. I think it’s just creating a larger divide between people. Now. I do think when you can utilize cultural humor obviously there’s stuff that’s inappropriate that you’re not gonna utilize, but when it’s appropriate and it’s mainstream culture, and it’s funny I think that can be used in a really good way. I wouldn’t do it on your Instagram feed. I probably would just reserve it for stories. Probably the same thing on Facebook. I would also recommend that. But I think when you can utilize funny mainstream humor that’s a big deal right now. Kinda like last year everybody made 2020 into some kind of meme. And it was hilarious because it was like the worst year ever for a lot of people. And it was funny. You can turn that mainstream humor into funny things to show your relatability. I think that’s really where it can help you reach and connect with people who think that church is stuffy and boring and they don’t have any fun. And they’re just very like uptight. I think that’s a place you can create a bridge but I definitely agree where you don’t wanna use Christian specific ones because that can be isolating.

– I wanna mention something that both Lauren and Brian and Savannah have referenced the difference between on Facebook, kind of your, your time feed. And I guess their stories across the top on Facebook and Instagram, again, your timeline or whatever. And then across the top the little circles that are your stories those are different. And what I’m hearing from y’all and reaching those from the outside, you use them differently. So maybe more sparingly in the timeline but things that are less broad or whatever it may be more in the top of the story.

– Think about your, so if you are on Instagram and you are using Instagram consistently for the church think about your Instagram as your more formal the theaters are more formal kind of content. These are your really nice photos and your nice videos and your really nice graphics. That’s the set that you’re putting out on your feed. Whereas in your story, it’s like more informal it’s you know, you pull up your phone, Hey I’m at church I’m behind the scenes, dah, dah, dah. It’s not, you know, super formal nice photography that’s being shot or nice videography. It’s just a more informal way to connect with people. And that’s really what you wanna use stories for more than anything is just that personal connection. People are desperate. We’re the most connected and the least connected we’ve ever been in our lives and probably in our society. And people are desperate to feel like they’re really there especially if they’re still going to church virtually and they’re not in person being able to showcase, you know a Sunday morning on stories, not something I’d recommend. The photography team can even take on is just doing quick videos with their phones, with photos with their phones, uploading it to stories really quickly. So that’s kind of how I approach stories versus you know, your feed, your feed is there forever. The stories disappear in 24 hours. So those don’t have to be as perfect and as professional, if you will, whereas the feed you want it to be a little more formal.

– I wanna hit on a question not to skip your Brian and Lauren on that one. But I have a question that just popped up and we’re starting to run out of time, but it was, I think that the suggestion was and I’m not sure I said, Michael Brooks. I’m not sure if you’re a pastor at church but he says they kind of have, they have Facebook page that is just for church members where they really put their announcements information and then their kind of their church Facebook page for anybody out there that wants to like it. That, that targets more. That seems like that could be a, a really good possibility. I, don’t know. Michael I don’t know if you’re asking that it sounds like a pretty good possibility to me, I don’t know if that would… I’m gonna do something real quick. As we’re starting to wrap up in the in the chat section, there’s a, there are some some web links for each of our panelists for for Brian and Lauren Dogwood Media Solutions. You can find that for Breezy Content. Savannah’s both of those, both of those companies, both of those businesses can provide you some really good help. If you’re in a church you really just can’t find anybody to kind of oversee your your social media strategies, get in touch with one of them and talk to them. I’m sure they have different price points and different options and and they can be of help to you, Matt Burford who is in the Alabama State Board of Mission Office but he’s also the founder of Tactical Faith. And did that, I think, did that website get on here? Did that web link get on here? I don’t see it, but you can go to the of Alabama State Board of Missions which is where Daniel Wilson is the Evangelism Director. There it is from any of those. If you have questions about evangelism if you have questions about sharing your faith and that kind of thing, those guys that are on there. So we’re running right to the end. And I thought, my mom will, we’ll go ahead and wrap this up and keep it in an hour. Listen guys, for those of you who are attendees, I’m gonna drop my email in here real quick and ask you if you don’t mind I’d love to hear from you as to what was helpful for this. If it was something that, that you would come back to if there’s something that you, you like, what what was difficult, what you didn’t like what didn’t get answered. So who knows, maybe we do another one of these down the road. And so for, for Brian and Lauren, thank you guys. God bless you both. Savannah. thank you for being on here. And I look forward to Matt and Daniel. God bless you guys

– Johnny, let me say thank you for taking leadership to help assimilate this group, assembled this group together. And you did a phenomenal job guiding our discussion leading this panel. Thank you, Johnny, for your ministry and everyone who, who was, was, was participating today. Thank you for being a part of this hour with us.

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