All posts in Articles

8 Social Media Posts Your Church Should Try

TheCreativePastor.com – 8 Social Media Posts Your Church Should Try

Since social media has become a part of the daily lives of so many people, there is such an incredible opportunity for the local church to use this tool for outreach. In fact, because it’s a part of people’s daily routines, it’s really the perfect tool for connecting with people throughout the week.

I love using social media in our ministry because it’s not only a chance to show people outside our congregation what we’re all about, but it gives our church family something to get excited about Monday through Saturday. And, when your congregation is excited about church, they’re much more likely to spread the word to their friends, neighbors, and coworkers.

When it comes to getting started with social media, one of the hardest tasks is coming up with what to actually say. So, to make things easier for you to begin posting, here are eight kinds of social media posts that have worked well for our church. We use these images on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I would also encourage you that you do not have to use images. It may be a great option for you to start by using text posts to get things off of the ground.

Have you used any of these posts at your church? Do you have any others that you’d add to the list? Let me know in the comments below!

1. The “Sermon Quote”

2. The “#SundaySetlist”

A photo posted by Piedmont Chapel (@piedmontchapel) on

3. The “Meet Our Team”

4. The “Sunday’s Coming”

5. The “Inspirational Phrase”

6. The “Team Selfie”

7. The “#LyricsFromSunday”

8. The “Event Recap”

8 Essentials For Every Church Production Team

TCP-Eight_Essentials_For_Every_Production_Team

More than ever, I have a huge heart for church production teams. Every week, I receive emails from our readers with questions not about the technical side of this ministry, but on topics such as building teams, inspiring change, and avoiding burnout.

It’s almost like the technology is secondary compared to the ongoing personal and relational struggles that come with church production. I’ve observed this is my own ministry, as well. Only about 20% of my time is spent on equipment. The rest is focused on making myself better, building relationships, and keeping our team ready for Sunday.

With all of this in mind, I’ve come up with eight essential tips that work to support these areas. While you won’t find tips here that directly improve your actual production, if you put these into practice, I can guarantee that you will get better every week. In fact, I would be willing to bet that you’ll even walk away feeling more whole and satisfied after each service.

1. Set Yourself Up For A Win

Show up earlier than everyone else. Give yourself enough time to have your area prepared and ready to go before your worship team takes the stage. This will give you the opportunity to work out any glitches and still have time to make improvements.

2. Know Your Environment

Every room is different and comes with unique pros and cons. The key is to use the tools available to you as best as you can to make that room engaging for people. Know your limitations and continually test them.

3. Be Confident In Your Setlist

Whether you’re running sound, lyrics, or lighting, it’s vital that you know the songs that your worship team is singing in service. You’ll have the confidence to act faster when you know what’s coming next. I’ve noticed that this significantly cuts down on stress, as well.

4. Don’t Miss The Big Things Due To Little Things

It’s easy to become so preoccupied with fixing one element (changing lyric fonts, adjusting LED color, enhancing the tone of one microphone) that you neglect making the whole system work together. Focus on the big picture, because it’s likely that most people won’t even notice that tiny detail.

5. Look Up Often

Don’t bury your head in your computer or console. Look up at your audience, gauge their response, and respond accordingly. Don’t become so focused on your particular area that you miss what God is doing around you. Be aware of what’s happening with your team members working alongside you, as well.

6. Do What’s Right For Your Congregation

Industry standards won’t always work for your church family. You may have to make your lyrics slightly larger or reduce your volume, for example. Just because something works in other churches doesn’t mean it will work for you.

7. Step Out of the Booth (and Your Comfort Zone)

Production Team members are often characterized as introverts, but it’s so important to connect with other people in church! Build relationships and trust with your team and leaders. Chat with the musicians and singers before service begins. We’re all better together.

8. Approach Services Prayerfully

Want to know how to give your production team an edge? Pray. Ask God to use you in the service to do more than project lyrics, run sound, or operate lights. Pray that He’ll help you to create a distraction-free environment of life-change.

Do you have any other essentials that you would add to the list?

Small Improvements, Big Results

TheCreativePastor.com – Small Improvements, Big Results

One of the biggest traps that we can fall into is believing that progress can only be accomplished through huge projects or complete overhauls. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, I would argue that one of the best ways to move your organization forward is with small, consistent improvements.

I serve in a brand new church plant that’s only six weeks old at the time of this being written. Although we are only a few services in, this is a principle that I’ve had to remind myself of constantly.

Whether your church is a few weeks old or has been around for a hundred years, there is always room to improve your Sunday services.

It can be easy to get discouraged that any change to make things better is out of reach due to lack of time, money, or other resources. But we’re better than that. God has equipped us for the exact season that we’re in. We simply have to embrace where we are and make the improvements that we can make.

Last week, rather than wallowing in my pile of can’ts, I sought to make small improvements in areas all around our church that would make a noticeable impact on Sunday. Some were technical. Some were practical. All were creative.

  • We created what I call “Pinterest-y” themed centerpieces in our coffee area.
  • We used pumpkin spice air freshener all around our building rather than our traditional scent.
  • We changed our lobby/pre-service playlist to a more spirited, hipster vibe. Listen to it here.
  • We updated the design of our announcement slides.
  • We changed up our stage lighting to include more colors.
  • We started using a new set of motion backgrounds for our songs.
  • We changed our order of service to include a fun, warm opening from one of our pastors.
  • We took more photos on Sunday morning of real people in our church for social media.

Announcement Slide

All of these were relatively easy to accomplish, but made a huge impact on Sunday. People really took notice of the changes and I can honestly say that it was our best service yet.

You’ll also notice that I said we changed, we used, we started…

That’s because I got other people involved on these small projects. Even when it was in the smallest capacity you can imagine. But do you know what happened when these projects turned out to be a success? We celebrated our victory.

Getting people involved in small, tangible improvements is the easiest way to keep your church progressing and your volunteers smiling.

It’s a win-win.

So, what can you do this week to make your church better? Who can you get involved to help you do this? Creative Ministry is more than what happens in the tech booth. Don’t be afraid to use your creativity all around your church.

Small improvements make a big difference.

3 Ways Your Church Can Win On Facebook

TheCreativePastor.com – Three Ways Your Church Can Win On Facebook

This morning, I walked into our neighborhood Starbucks and took my place in line for a Fall classic – the infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte.

This is one of my favorite places to invite people to church.

Several times a week I grab a seat here and as I work, I make an effort to invite people to our church. More often than you would believe, I get a surprising response to my friendly invitation.

“Oh yeah, I heard about you on Facebook.”

Ahhh… music to my ears. As soon as I hear these words, I immediately know that half the battle is already won. (I also consider it a good pat on the back that I’m not wasting my time on social media each week!)

You see, there are three big goals that I’ve established for our church’s social media efforts. They are simple, yet have been totally effective for keeping our posts focused on what will actually result in lives changed.

1. Introduce Yourself To Your Community

Promote Your Pageknown name brings legitimacy. It brings validation. It brings comfort. People want to know that your church can be trusted and that you’re respected in the community.

Leading up to our church plant’s first service, one of my biggest goals was for everyone in our city to have already “met us” online.

While a website was critical for this, I’ve always found it important to go to where the people are instead of expecting people to come to you. That’s where social media really comes in handy.

Make sure that your Facebook Page is a clear representation of who you are as a church. Then, be willing to spend a reasonable amount of money to promote your Page.

Just to be completely clear, you will have to spend money on Facebook for any of this to work. But, it’s a minimal expense compared to the return you’ll see.

Tip: To promote your church’s Page, simply click the “Promote Page” button located on the left side of the Page. The minimum daily budget allowed is $5, so make a plan on what your ministry can afford.

2. Show Your City What You’re About

Social Media SampleOf course, with every name comes a reputation. And if people are going to recognize your church, you want something admirable to go with it.

Make sure that you’re constantly posting messages and images that express what you’re all about as a church. 

I recommend thinking outside of the box on this one. You might be tempted to simply post scriptures and pictures of crosses every day. While that is what your church is about, you must remember that it doesn’t always translate well for your audience.

Instead, post messages that reach people right where they are and that nearly anyone could get behind. Often, this comes back to principles that Jesus taught. Focus on material that is easy to Like and Share.

Here are a few examples:

Today is not just another day. It’s a new opportunity, another chance, a new beginning.

Mondays can be tough. No matter how your day is going, remember that God is always faithful and His grace can get you through anything.

If you can’t get past your PAST, you will never make it to your PURPOSE.

Each of these got a tremendous response for us. And because we paid $1-$3 to boost each of these posts, those messages showed right up on the timelines of our followers’ friends and family members.

Tip: I’d also note that it makes a HUGE difference when you add images to these posts. I create square images that we can use on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We use these with posts 1-2 times a day.

3. Get The Word Out About Services/Events

Social Media SampleTo successfully promote your church’s services and events on Facebook, the key is to not talk about them much at all. 

While it can be tempting to post messages about services or the next church picnic frequently, it will simply drive people away. Instead, focus on 1-2 great posts per week that have exciting images.

Then, pay a little bit more to boost those posts ($5-$10, perhaps). This will allow more people to see it without bothering your faithful followers with repeated posts.

Keep in mind that churches have a reputation for being all about themselves. Because of this, you must tread lightly with posts about you.

Post messages that are important to your audience on social media, not just what’s important to you. Then, when it comes the time for you to promote your next event, your audience will be much more likely to listen to what you have to say.

Extra Tips:

Be sure to have your church’s staff and faithful attendees be quick to offer a supportive Like and Share to get the ball rolling on all of your posts.

Your church’s social media is only as good as your willingness be social. Be sure to answer messages and comments when they come in. Pastors, add new Page likes as friends and build relationships.

To see more of what my church, Piedmont Chapel, is doing on Facebook, check us out here. Feel free to get inspiration for your social posts and photos from our page.

 

3 Essential Elements of Video Announcements

Three Essential Elements of Video Announcements

Today’s post is from my friend, Brady Shearer. He is an extremely talented blogger, podcaster, and church media guru. I highly recommend following him on Twitter at @BradyShearer.

Video announcements for churches can be a toss-up. When they’re done well, they’re enjoyable to watch, informative, and brief. But when they’re done poorly, video announcements can be painful to endure.

In the last year alone I’ve produced more than 1000 different editions of video announcements. I’m the founder of ProVideoAnnouncements.com and we create video announcements every single week for churches across North America.

We’re continuously refining how we approach and produce video announcements. Instead of simply making minor tweaks, I like to find easy changes that produce maximum benefits. For instance, rather than obsess over motion graphics or perfect lighting, I’ve identified what I think are the three most important elements of quality video announcements. If your church can focus on these three core values, your video announcements will be excellent.

3 Essential Elements of Video Announcements

1. Tell a story. Don’t tout information.

Observe the following two examples…

Announcement Example #1

“Men’s Retreat is next week. The cost is $85 per guy. Make sure you get your money in to Pastor Dan before Friday at noon. We’ll be meeting at the church at 5:00 PM and leaving from there. Don’t miss it!”

Announcement Example #2

“Men’s Retreat is next week. [Insert hilarious story from last year about the flag football game] Every detail you need is on the website. Don’t miss it!”

Despite popular belief, the purpose of video announcements is not to share details, specifics, and extensive information. The purpose of video announcements is to inform your church of the most important things happening, and compel them to get involved. The two examples above are very similar. But in Example #1, every possible detail is crammed into the announcement. The problem with this approach is that people don’t remember details!

Hoping your church remembers dates, times, phone numbers, or email addresses mentioned during video announcements is a losing approach. If you want men to attend your men’s retreat, share a story that connects with them. They can always find the details later on your website.

2. The perfect length is…

Using stories is a smart approach, but it won’t really matter if your video announcements are eight-minutes long. We’ve found that the perfect length for video announcements is three-minutes or less. Anywhere between two-minutes and three-minutes is the absolute sweet spot. This works out to approximately five announcements included each week.

Remember, the purpose of video announcements shouldn’t be to share an exhaustive itinerary of church life. The purpose is to share what’s most important, and compel your church to get involved.

3. Don’t put that person on camera

Church on the Move in Tulsa, Oklahoma produces some of the best video announcements around. They’re a church of more than 10,000 people, and can you guess how many video announcements presenters they have? Fewer than 5.

Presenting on camera is unlike any other type of presentation. I’ve seen the most dynamic pastors freeze in front of a camera as soon as it begins to record. Growing to be a quality on-camera presenter takes time – a considerable amount of time. Be conscious of whom you’re putting on the screen.

Conclusion

Of course, I think outsourcing your video announcements is a great idea. When I was the Media Director on staff at my church, I spent more than 10 hours per week coordinating, scripting, producing, and editing our weekly video announcements. I can help with that.

The best question to continuously ask yourself is – what are we trying to accomplish with this announcement? Share stories, keep it brief, use a quality presenter, and your video announcements will be excellent.