Things have changed quickly for businesses and organizations. As state after state enforces shutdowns and curfews due to Covid-19 there are many that are left trying to figure out how best to connect. We posted a few Covid-19 Resources and marketing ideas (also below) but I wanted to provide some specific ideas for churches to navigate this ever-changing time. While it seems that every industry has been disrupted in some way, I wanted to write this specifically for religious institutions like churches to hopefully understand and leverage some of the options and opportunities they have at their disposal to continue to reach out to their congregations.
Understand that while many expect things to go back to “normal” after things are over and are waiting on the “sideline,” we are in the midst of a transformational period when habits are being disrupted, adjusted and recreated forever. There will be a NEW normal and I'm betting it will include more digital connection. Many ways that we use to connect during this period will be the primary way that businesses and organizations are being conducted. One of my clients is a large church and a few smaller churches in Northern Virginia and needed to reach their congregation.
While every church and congregation is different, I wanted to add this list below of some ways and ideas that you and your church leadership can stay connected to each other and your congregation during these times.
- Using a YouTube Channel to create weekly messages from the Pastor or Church leadership
- Using Zoom for small group meetings and breakout sessions for more intimate sessions.
- Using social media channels to go live for weekly services (e.g. Sunday Worship, Bible Study)–Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and/or Livestreaming on YouTube
- Using Free conference call for morning prayer sessions or Zoom for leadership meetings
- Using email newsletters like Constant Contact or Mailchimp to continue to engage with the congregation and send weekly updates of what's going on.
- Set up online donations and tithing using Paypal, Stripe, Authorize.net or other payment processors.
- Creating a Facebook group to engage with the congregation through posts and polls
- Create a hashtag and using it on social media platforms like Twitter to create a conversation and engage during a specific time (e.g #AskPastorJohnDoe every Thursday from 8pm-9pm)
- Send text message alerts to members of the congregation with start times for events “Bible Study is starting in 5 minutes, click this link to join…” OR “New message from the Associate Pastor, please click the link to view…”
- In addition to name, email address and phone number, include social media handles and/or links to Zoom and skype for members in a church directory.
- Develop an app and set up notifications through the app to connect with your congregation.
- Create an online challenge to engage the congregation (e.g. It could be a biblical word find or a 30 day reading challenge)
Bonus – It has never been a “out of fashion” to pick up the phone and call someone. Remember that these ways to connect are not in contrast or conflict of other ways to connect. They are complimentary.
While these are tailored to churches and religious institutions, many of these ideas can be used for any industry. If we can help out with brainstorming or helping with any of the above, please let me know and schedule a time HERE or complete the form with a Strategy Session HERE.
What ways are you using currently using technology to stay connected with your congregation?
Bonus: Ways to Market During a Bad Economy