trends

5 Facebook Live Ideas for Your Ministry

Facebook Live is the hottest trend in social media right now. We are seeing so much engagement around this new feature and I believe that every ministry has a unique opportunity to use this feature within Facebook. There are many reasons why this is hot, but I believe it’s the authenticity that generally comes out through this function that best captures the attention of Facebook users. Here are 5 ideas that I hope might stir your ministry to begin maximizing Facebook Live:

  1. Ministry Moment – I believe this is the best and most effective use of the platform. Take 2-5 minutes to share a devotional thought or ministry impact story. Keeping it personal and sharing from the heart maximizes the authenticity factor that engages so well through this feature.
  2. Ministry Update – people want to hear from the leader about what is going on in your ministry. Taking just a few minutes to share an update in a very natural way as well as answering any questions live provides great transparency for your ministry and greater connection for those who care deeply about it.
  3. Behind the Scenes – go behind the scenes in your workspace, ministry center, church building, etc. sharing a perspective that those connected to your ministry might not normally get to see.
  4. Meet the Team – there are always volunteers and staff members of every ministry that people might never see or know the work that they are doing. Take a minute to introduce them publicly and allow those connected to the ministry get to know them in a personal way.
  5. Live From – act like a news reporter and go live from a ministry event, worship service, outreach activity, etc. For those who can’t be there physically this is a way for them to feel a deeper connection to the ministry that is happening all the time.

What are you waiting for? Pick one of these and go Live on Facebook right now. I would love for you to share additional ideas in the comments below.

The Future of Online Church

This is one of my favorite conversations to have. Can you even imagine what you would have thought of if you heard the term “Online Church” ten years ago? Today, there are 100+ churches that have an Online Church Campus and I expect that number to more than double this year. When it comes to what an Online Church looks like, it continues to morph significantly as web technologies continue to develop. Here are four trends that I expect to shape the near future of Online Churches:

  • Online Courses - as we continue to see Educational Institutions move online, so will discipleship resources and engagement opportunities.  Online Courses will become a core part of both Online Churches with On-Demand content engagement and live social interaction with course leaders and participants.  

  • House Church Development -  as local churches go global through their Online Church Campuses, people still desire face to face community. Utilizing connected TV devices and apps I see house churches popping up around the world around these Online Church experiences. I believe some will be very intentionally created and many others will be more organically or unintentionally formed.  

  • Multiple Platform Engagement Opportunities - when our Online Campus launched 5 years ago, there was one platform that could be used: a computer (laptop or desktop).  Now almost half of our audience is engaged via their mobile device and a growing number through Connected TV devices. I believe the future will engage multiple devices simultaneously where users can customize their experience and potentially chat with other participants on their mobile device while watching on their TV or divide their TV screen to show the video presentation, a live chat feed, a map of all participants, and sermon notes all at the same time.  

  • Virtual Reality - so, I’m really big on this technology! I genuinely believe that these experiences are so immersive that we will be able to create more engaging worship experiences feeling more connected to other believers during the worship experience.

What do you see ahead for the future? Do you agree or disagree with these predictions?

3 Questions with DJ Chuang

djchuang I am so excited to share this interview with my friend, DJ Chuang.  He is honestly the first person I wanted to interview as he has been a long time student of the church and technology.  I have learned so much from him and am excited for you to pick up a few things as well!  DJ is a freelance strategy consultant, having worked with Worship Leader Magazine, Leadership Network, L2 Foundation, and other churches, ministries, and non-profits. He's also the host of Social Media Church, a weekly podcast for conversations with church leaders about social media.  I was honored to be one of his guest on the podcast several months back.  Here are my 3 questions with DJ Chuang:

 

1) As you have watched the trends of churches embracing technology and the internet, what do you think that continues to keep the church a step behind and do you see this trend changing?

DJ: Firstly I confess that I'm one of those bleeding edge guys, an experimenter who loves to try new innovations even before they're proven, so my own thinking patterns may differ from the mainstream conventional wisdom. I don't think churches by necessity have to be a step behind with how the rest of society uses technology, though a majority of churches do seem to fit that description. 4 common reasons for why churches are lagging in technology use --

[i]: Churches aren't in the business of using the latest technologies, their purpose is making disciples. I think that means the church would use the tools that most of their people would use, and if the people attending the church aren't techies, neither would the church as a whole. I'd like to think that means churches located in a high-tech area like Silicon Valley would be more in-step with using the latest technologies.

[ii]: Churches are typically organized as non-profit organizations, so those tend to be organizations that run with leaner budgets than its for-profit counterparts, and couldn't afford to buy and use the latest technologies.

[iii]: Church leaders, like most institutional leaders, tend to be risk-averse and prefer to use proven technologies rather than experiment with new technologies.

[iv]: There's no time for the steep learning curve associated with new technologies. Learning to use new technologies can take considerable time and effort when the tutorials haven't been published yet.

While the tendency will remain for a majority of churches to be slower in using new technologies, I think a growing number of churches will actually stay in step with using new technologies. This new kind of tech-savvy church are motivated by some, or all, of these 4 reasons for why the church could and should be on the leading edge of technology use:

[i]: Using new technologies can reach new people in new ways. The pastor of an often-recognized innovative church, Lifechurch.tv, Craig Groeschel, has said: "To reach people no one is reaching, we have to do things no one is doing." And that church actively uses new technologies as well as builds from scratch new technologies in order to reach more people.

[ii]: The people of God are created in the image of the Creator, and therefore, the church should be the place that fosters the most creativity. That would include both the arts and technology.

[iii]: The American church on the whole is in decline, so churches need to be developing new ways of doing ministry. That will require more research and development, trial and error, especially using new technologies in a technological age.

[iv]: Christ-followers are to be culture-makers that shape and influence culture, rather than merely reacting to what comes our way. The church can be the shining example for how new technologies ought to be used.

 

2)  As you look at all of the new churches embracing social media and Online Church, what trends really get you excited about the future of the Church Online?

DJ: I'll mention 3 things that could be trending and would be most exciting to me --

[i]: people can be the church wherever they are because they're constantly connected. The physical gathering of people attending a church service still holds meaning for a majority of church-goers, and that shared experience prompts people to stay connected on social media throughout the week. Relationships now can stay connected both online and offline, and that increased interaction can result in both deeper spiritual formation and mobilizing people to serve real needs in their community.

[ii]: The development of online education has grown fast and furious in the educational sector of colleges and universities. Even my teenage son in freshman year of high school has already taken 2 online classes. I'm starting to hear of churches developing online classes and courses for Christian education and leadership development. At the heart of the church is an educational component, and the Internet enables and empowers the maturing of Christ-followers through low-cost content distribution.

[iii]: The church has a story to tell the nations. A typical church has an amazing amount of capacity that's dormant among the many people that are gathered in the weekly attendance. Many of these people have a voice (or artistry) to communicate valuable content to the whole wide world though the world wide web. In other words, churches have more than sermons and worship songs to share with the world. Churches are beginning to share real-life stories as an integral part of their church communications, as I'd mentioned 4 examples on Social Media Church podcast episode 21.

 

3) Other than the Bible, what 1 book has most shaped your ministry leadership and why?

DJ: The book that I often reference when I get into those ministry leadership conversations is Andy Crouch's book, "Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling", and, for me, leadership is about defining and creating culture for a people in a particular context. The book itself is a call for Christians to engage and shape the culture of the society we live in, and yet I find the perspectives the book offers is very applicable in the church. There are a great number of books about the strategies and tactics for leading people in an organizational fashion. The a-ha moment with this book for me was: you change culture by creating new culture. And in established churches, there are times when change is necessary and quite challenging to make. The call of leadership at that moment is, thus, to create new culture.