The Speak Conference is coming to Minneapolis tomorrow and will explore how churches communicate online (attend in person for free or watch the online stream, also for free). Even though I hate public speaking, I’ll be speaking at the event (along with a crowd of much better public speakers). I’m planning to talk about sharing your story online, so I thought I’d offer a quick preview here.
Much of my talk will center on my kids. Specifically the Twitter book I created last year, Addition by Adoption: Kids, Causes & 140 Characters, and how I pulled a coherent story out of my Twitter feed that focused on my kids, our adoption journey and changing the world. And it all happened one tweet at a time.
That’s my message in a nutshell for churches: Each piece of online content is a brick in the wall of your story. With a lot a lot of bricks—tweets, blog posts, status updates, videos, photos, web pages, PDFs, etc.—you can build an incredible story that communicates the depth and breadth of the gospel.
So three takeaways for us:
1. No Pressure
Rather than be intimidating, online communication should be liberating. Not every tweet has to preach the gospel. Not every blog post has to give the whole story. You can keep telling and retelling the greatest story ever told, recasting it in different mediums and for different audiences. Take it one brick at a time.
2. Don’t Leave a Vacuum
Sadly, the most common approach churches take to online communication is to do nothing. Maybe they have a website, but it’s not up to date. Maybe they have a Facebook page, but there’s no activity. There’s nothing but crickets in their online space.
The scary thing about this approach is that it leaves a vacuum. And that vacuum is going to be filled by all the other wonderful things on the Internet. Yikes.
Don’t go this route. Tell your story. I know it’s intimidating and overwhelming, but just start somewhere. Start small, and lay one brick at a time.
3. Tell a Story of Substance
The other extreme is that churches approach online communication like housekeeping. They share a lot of announcements and events and times and dates. But it’s all housekeeping and no substance. The story that you’re telling isn’t the gospel, it’s that your church is really busy and does a lot of stuff.
Give us something more. Tell a story. Don’t just talk about what you do, but why you do it.
The church has the greatest story ever told. What story is your church telling?
For more help with church communication, check out the book Outspoken: Conversations on Church Communication, releasing Sept. 15. It includes more than 60 voices sharing incredible wisdom on how to outspoken with the greatest story ever told.