Arizona SCORE had a notable quote in, “How to Avoid What Happened to Sports Authority Happen to You,”
“That last one has to do with changing times. Not adapting to technological and generational changes are the downfall of many companies.”
Houston, we have a problem!
While the article is related to business practices, we see this through the lens of our churches and online ministries. If a business can’t stay in business because of not, “adapting to technological and generational changes,” how is a church going to survive?
According to a Fox News correspondent a couple of years ago, any business that expects to be successful needs to have an online presence. When we are talking about a church, we are not exempt. A business wants to be found and they do everything possible to get found from newsletters, social media relationships, a website, and acts similar to “customer service.” The purist would argue we are not a business.
We agree, but to be found, we still have to use the same tools. If we wish to engage our “customer base,” we need to be where our “customers” are, and the people who do not know Christ are hanging out on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. Your church website is not enough.
It’s a good start–a place where you store your sermons and videos and give them information about who you are and what you believe. That’s what every secular business does and false cults and religious websites. You need to take this a step farther. Let us outline, partly from this article, how we see church in the future:
Train Your Congregation
Train your congregation to know false cults and religions through yearly classes. Help them understand how to build bridges cross-culturally. Help them know theology. Find their giftings and match them with the right social media account. Give technology training on this. The congregation is your best resource. Don’t leave evangelism and missions just to leadership. Stop making your social media presence all about marketing the church.
Keep Up With the Times and Technology
“Analyze monthly what’s working and what’s not working and why,” the article says. Assess your social media activities as a church body and as church leadership. We like “likes” and comments, but engagement needs to happen from the leadership to the congregation member using her social media for evangelism and missions. Experiment with new technology. The world needs to know Christians by their love and then by their truth. Use social media to build a sense of community in and out of your local area. Ask, “what’s working and what’s not working?” Be open to change. Biblical truth should never change, but the platform in which we serve that truth needs to evolve.
“Plan strategically how you want to reach your target market,” the article says. What people groups live in your area? Who, in your congregation, has experience or family in that people group who could be trained to reach that culture online? Know your neighborhood. If you don’t know your area, take daily walks. Drink coffee where they drink coffee. Listen and observe your community.
Don’t Make Your “Customers” Happy
Challenge them to live the Word. Challenge them to be a Monday through Sunday believer. “Read customer reviews and address complaints quickly,” the article says in regards to business. People complain about lots of things. Most of which can be ignored, but some things can be addressed. If God is giving you a vision to execute, we need to trust Him to deliver the results through obedience. This means making some of your “customers” very unhappy for a short time as you set things in motion. The church congregation needs a shepherd, but they also need to be trained up themselves to be the body of Christ on and offline so the care of the body is not resting all on the shoulders of a pastor. Through relationships we can show that care, and what better way to do this than to use our one social media to engage?
A church that doesn’t change will not grow their influence. You can change how you deliver the Good News to people without changing the Good News. It’s not about being in business as a church or practicing better marketing tactics, it’s about loving people on and offline in their own heart and cultural language. Technology is an easy way to connect and there are so many different ways to connect!