The Speak Conference is coming to Minneapolis—and streaming to your computer—on Sept. 8. It’s a free event that will explore how churches communicate online. Speakers include our own Justin Wise, the Table Project’s Jason Wenell, YouVersion’s Jason Bouse and more (including yours truly). Sheepish Design is organizing the event, so we sat down with their social media specialist, Darrell Vesterfelt, to get some more insights.
What prompted you to launch a free event for church communicators?
Darrell Vesterfelt: To be honest we were somewhat blinded with the opportunity. In planning for another youth conference in the area called Ignite, we were presented the idea to gather some church leaders in the area to talk about church communications. The idea began to gain traction and contributors, and before we knew it we had the idea for an event that could potentially benefit several churches and church leaders in the Twin Cities. The Sheepish Design team is passionate about the church’s role in online communications, so when we connected the idea with the opportunity we began to run.
Why do you think churches need so much help online?
Darrell: I think that some churches are beginning to innovate in their online communications, which is exciting to us. I am, however, concerned that the rate that the Internet’s influence is growing in our culture is not being met by the church in areas of innovation and strategy. I am passionate about the gospel message, because it is the hope of the world. That is why I invest time in helping the church communicate it’s message online.
Why is online communication such an opportunity for churches?
Darrell: We are seeing a sizeable shift in communications in our culture. Mass media is slowly becoming less effective; while social and others online medias are increasingly more effective and desirable. With the shift the church has the oppurtunity, in my opininon, to explore another way to tell its story. The amount of people exploring the Internet in their every day life is astronomical. I hope to be a part of conversations that will help resource the church in finding its voice online.
What’s one easy thing churches can do to improve their online communication?
Darrell: One easy thing churches can do, is start the conversation. What I mean by that is most churches are still not putting nearly enough strategy into their use of social media. It’s great to start using social media, but it’s a whole other conversation to put strategy behind how it is used. I really hope churches are having “the conversation” of the whys and hows of social media and online communications at their church. Simple strategy can go a long way.
Can you tell us about how you first heard about Church Marketing Sucks and what kind of an impact it had on you?
Darrell: When I was a sophomore in college I came across the Church Marketing Sucks blog. I still remember sitting at my 19 inch HP laptop in my dorm room when I first opened up the site. Two hours later, my life was not the same. I remember thinking, “They are communicating very clearly what I am seeing, experiencing.” It eventually caused me to change my major from youth ministry, to business administration with a focus on marketing. I remember that moment, being a shaping moment in my pursuit of my career. Fast forward six years and I am now working for Sheepish Design and hosting the Speak Conference. I look back at that moment, and am amazed at the journey that was initiated that day in my dorm room.
Check out Speak Conference to learn more.