As both a church leader (atxtribe.org) and a marketer (thirddrive.co/me), I have some perspective on both the importance of the impactful biblical teaching and the power of that teaching being amplified through well-implemented media strategy.
Every week I speak to people who show up because they found us online. We baptize people whose first impression of the church was a welcome video, a sermon online, our Facebook page, a printed invite, or our website.
I believe that Jesus and the Apostles would embrace media communication as an essential way to spread the Gospel message because of the strategy they use in the book of Acts. They went where the people were. Down to the river, the synagogue, the marketplace, and the Areopagus.
Online media is the modern Areopagus. This is where people form their opinions, share their passion, and enter into debates about most things.
Paul wrote his powerful words about “being all things to all men” to the Corinthians as a statement of flexibility for the sake of the Gospel. This particular verse is both a motivation and a challenge for me as a leader.
“…so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Cor 9:22).
Does this principle of using “all possible means” apply to having an excellent, robust and compelling media presence? I’m talking about more than the bare minimum, out-of-date cookie cutter stuff most churches use. Some of our members cringe when a link to the church website is sent to their friends. The Gospel is important enough for us to continue internalizing these words of Paul and applying them to all dimensions of life. It’s time for the church to stop lagging behind and start leading. The Gospel is irresistible, and we need to communicate it with power and excellence.
Just a few church stats to illustrate. They point to lack of engagement as one of the reasons we might not have growing numbers of millennials in our churches, just to point out one key main point I hear from many church leaders.
- 54% of millennials watch online videos about faith and spirituality (Source: Barna Group).
- 62% of churches use social media to connect with individuals outside of their congregation (Source: Facts & Trends).
- 70% of nonprofit communicators consider social media one of their most important communication channels.
Personal evangelism will always be central to disciple-making, but most people we invite personally will first check out the website before they make a decision to attend. Many of them will decide against it just based on their first impression.
I want to ask a few questions that might help your church determine where you are and where you want to go:
- Does your church have a media strategy?
- Is your church branding modern, relevant and recognizable?
- Are your graphics impactful, expressive, and consistent?
- Are you using video as the most consumed medium online?
- Is your social media seamlessly and beautifully branded?
- Is your website clean, responsive and attractive?
- Would your younger members say they are proud of your media outreach?
If there are more no’s than yes’s, it is time for decisive action.
The modern Areopagus awaits bold and decisive leaders willing to engage in ways that are relevant in the 21st century.
(For more content equipping believers and faith organization for high impact, check out www.thirddrive.co/faith.)