Churches – This Easter, Five Options Better than the Connection Card
As churches around the world plan for Easter, we know that many are looking for new and innovative ways to engage with their visitors, especially in light of increased reliance on digital experiences. Today, we are excited to share a guest blog post with you from our friend Jeff Reed, founder of THECHURCH.DIGITAL about several ideas to help you connect and follow up with your audience.
We’re heading into the final days of Easter prep with another round of Phygital (Physical + Digital) Holiday services coming in early April. As great as we want our physical and digital experiences to be, those experiences are only as helpful as it gets people connected into your church. Follow-up is so crucial for churches in physical & digital space, but that’s even harder digitally.
The hardest part of being a church online is discovering who these people are that are watching the church services online. One church reported to me Easter 2020 they had close to half a million viewers of their online Easter services. When I asked how many connection cards they received from the almost half a million viewers, their response was not nearly as impressive… 11 connection cards.
Connection Cards, unfortunately, often ask too much invasive material or get lost in the shuffle of your service. And if you don’t have any information for follow up, then we’ve missed an incredible opportunity to connect with and engage with people during another holiday service. But are there better ways to engage people online, other than the Connection Card?
Let’s talk about Five Options Better than the Connection Card.
- Text “Connect” to ######. There are so many church-friendly texting services these days. Even ChMS databases are building this feature in. This is a quick and easy way to get bare-bones information from digital attenders. Don’t try to collect too much information here. Just collect the necessity and move on.
- Rather than collecting invasive information like cell phone and email address, what if your church asked them to join a Facebook Group (and then build relationships within the group). Working through platforms like Facebook and Instagram are much easier to connect with new people.
- Anyone who likes, comments, or shares your church service online, or your church’s social media post, this is an opportunity to reach out to them directly via that platform’s messenger app. Try building relationships with new people. Churches are reporting as high as 80% response rate on “cold/lukewarm calls” via Facebook and Instagram messenger.
- Make the Connection Card a signup for a Next Step Event/Class. Put some weight on that connection card. So few people are filling out anyway, get those filling it out to commit to attending a Next Steps event in the coming weeks.
- Create shareable content, and then train people to personally follow up on the digital invite. I’m not just talking about an Easter Graphic… what if we we the church created a library of content (not sermons) that is aimed at helping people far from Christ answer spiritual questions… and then we (the church) equip our attenders, our members, to share that content with their friends who have spiritual questions, and also follow up with their friends? The church could look immensely different if we empowered others to do ministry.
Some of these you could probably pull off by Easter 2021. Some of these, well, it may take more of a philosophical shift long-term. But, recognizing that post-COVID our churches will need to be both physical and digital, this is a great time to shore up your digital strategy.
About Jeff Reed
In June 2000, Jeff led his first Online Bible Study, taking 75 people around the planet through the book of James using a text-based system called Ultimate BB. Since then, Jeff has focused his energy serving the church in the digital/technological realm by working on church staffs, as well as running businesses that resource or complement the Church. Ultimately, his passion is to help churches expand their ministry by utilizing digital platforms, further embracing the idea of Phygital Church and Digital-Only, Location-Independent expressions of Church to reach people for Christ and to bring people who are far from God closer to Him.
In April 2018, Jeff founded THECHURCH.DIGITAL with a calling to help churches better understand the strengths of digital, especially in disciple-making environments. In January 2020 Jeff took a position with Stadia Church Planting as their Director of Digital Church Planting.