technology

Check out my new VLOG

Hey guys, as you might have noticed, I have been a little quiet here lately. That's because I've been working really hard on my new VLOG on YouTube. Take a look at the Intro Vlog:

It would mean a ton if you would subscribe the VLOG and engage in the conversation on YouTube. I will be releasing a new VLOG every week on the channel (every Thursday). I would love to know what you think and look forward to the continued journey of learning out loud as I transition from Blogging to Vlogging. 

FREE Maximizing Video for Ministry Webinar

This Wednesday, I will be hosting a FREE webinar with my friends Jay Kranda and Chris Tripputi. We will be discussing how to Maximize Video for Ministry. You won't want to miss it! To learn more and register, click the link below:

The Future

The future is incredibly hard to predict. Many people make predictions about the future and most are wrong. I’ve made predictions and been wrong many times before. This month, I will be writing a series called The Future Of and we’ll be looking at the future of various things like social media, cars, TVs, etc.

As we look to the future, I will be sharing my opinion on how certain technologies will develop. I might be wrong, but I do want to clearly communicate that these opinions are based on the trends I have seen over the past decade along with the constant research that I do toward the future.

I will also be sharing my opinion on how these developments can impact the future of the church and ministries in general. The reality is that we live in a world that is changing fast in many ways due to the rapidly changing technologies all around. These changes impact our daily lives, our homes, workplaces, entertainment and even ministries.

It’s my desire that ministries will not only be reactive to these new technologies, but lead the way in how these technologies might be used for gospel opportunities. For instance, mobile and language translation technologies allow for the gospel to reach into regions that the gospel could not go into before. We also have opportunities here in North America using technologies like Virtual Reality to share the story of the gospel in new and creative ways.

The truth is that industries like the pornography industry are leading the way in many of these new technologies like Virtual Reality. The church doesn’t have to lag behind. We can pay attention to these growing trends and make strategic efforts to reach people in new and creative ways. My hope is that these posts might stir an idea in your ministry context as to how you might pioneer the new ministry frontiers.

 

The Mobile Friendly Church Website

Will you do me a favor as you begin reading? Go to your church’s website on your mobile device and see how it performs. Is it easy to read? Is it easy to navigate? Is it mobile responsive (do you have to pinch and expand a lot… if so it’s not mobile responsive)? Are you quickly and easily able to find what you are looking for through the mobile site.

Will you do me another favor? Will you go to your Google Analytics account (I hope you have one) and check how much of your traffic is mobile?  My guess is that it is around 50%. If it is less than that it’s probably because you don’t have a very good website for mobile and mobile visitors aren’t returning.  

The bottom line to this is that your church’s website needs to be “mobile responsive.”  That means that it responds to the platform that it’s on whether a desktop, tablet, or desktop to deliver the optimal experience for that device. You likely don’t know how to do that. I don’t know how to do that! Website developers do. If your website is not mobile responsive today you need to make this a top priority and either hire a developer to make it responsive or build you a responsive site or move to a platform like Squarespace or Wix that automatically makes all sites mobile responsive.  

Having a mobile responsive website will also optimize your Google ranking and provide so much value to your visitors.  Just having a mobile responsive site is not enough though. Your content must be optimized for a mobile user. You don’t want to be too wordy or have too many images that force too much scrolling. You also don’t want to have long forms that people will likely abandon if it requires too much information. Your site should be simple in nature communicating clearly and directly with simple calls to action.  

Likely, your visitors are coming to your site for 3 reasons: 
To visit your church/attend a service
Watch a sermon
Make a Donation

Test out these 3 things on your mobile device and see how easy it is to get this information/navigate an online donation. If it’s frustrating for you it will be frustrating for others.  Take time to visit some other church websites on your mobile and see how they communicate these things and how you might be able to learn from their website layout.  

The mobile trend won’t be slowing down anytime soon and you will likely need to begin thinking through how your website functions on a watch or tv as these various technologies and integrations continue to expand the world of mobile.

The Core Technologies that Enable our Online Church Campus

Our Online Church Campus at Community Bible Church is powered by the Gospel, but enabled by a few key technologies. These technologies have changed through the years and many will likely change again. Here’s what we’re using right now:

  • Facebook – I can’t imagine doing Online Church without Facebook. Our Central hub for Community is our Facebook Page. We then use Facebook Groups as our Hub for Connection as these our where our Groups stay connected throughout the week. We also use Facebook Ads pretty significantly to reach new people. All of these aspects of Facebook work so effectively together making Facebook our core technology.
  • Media Socialthis is our Online Worship Center or our Online Sanctuary. This is the technology we use where we gather to worship. The integration with Facebook is what makes this platform work so effectively for our Online Church Campus.
  • Zoom – I wish this technology existed when we launched our Online Church Campus. The ability to gather 20+ people easily for a video conference has personalized our Online Group gatherings as well as our volunteer training sessions.
  • Google Adwords – Please tell me that your church is taking advantage of Google for Nonprofits FREE offering of $10,000/month if Adwords Ads. This was game changing for our Online Church Campus 3 years ago and continues to help us reach thousands of new people each week.
  • RightNow Media – this is our video curriculum.  I recently found out that we were the second church to sign up for RightNow Media’s Bible Study Library! This has been game changing for us offering thousands of video Bible Studies to our Online Groups through this easy to use platform that functions so much like Netflix.
  • MailChimp– Email is far from dead and the central communication tool for our Online Church Campus. We love the simplicity of MailChimp. We used to use Constant Contact and with no regrets jumped over to MailChimp for all of our Email Marketing.
  • Social Media – while Facebook is our primary social network, we also engage significantly on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
  • Formstack– capturing follow up information is critical for a physical church campus as well as an online campus. Formstack has been an incredible tool for us when it comes to New Believers, Prayer Requests and other online data collection points.