Without a doubt – other than lack of decision-making – the greatest challenge I find with pastors, missionaries & faith-based leaders is a lack of (true) understanding about the importance of using media in their ministries today. (Especially if they’re over the age of 40 years.)
Even when there is an interest, the common complaints are lack of time, resources & vision.
So, why get involved with Media in your Ministry?
1 – Media helps build an AUDIENCE.
Media is where most of our cultural conversations take place today. Text messaging, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, SnapChat and television are where we exchange ideas. We live in a media saturated society.
So why try media? Using effective media strategies, your group can reach potentially more people in a short amount of time than your leader could speak to personally in a lifetime. Got a church of 100 or 200? It’s very possible to broadcast your message to 500-1000 weekly via live-stream per week by the end of a year or two. Five times the size of your church. That’s the reach of media.
Want to catch fish? You could use a fishing pole. That’s good for a couple fish a day. But isn’t a fishing net more effective? That’s where media comes in…it’s a net. If you cast it wisely, in the right areas of the ocean, river or lake..and cast it often? You’re bound to bring in a haul of fish. Maybe not at first, but eventually.
(By the way, there are principles in live-streaming that can be used to motivate your audience to give to your ministry. That’s a whole new area of tithes & offerings. Some churches today receive up to 1/3 of their giving from their digital audiences in addition to those who give while attending a live service and sitting in a pew.)
2 – Media takes TIME, PATIENCE & PERSISTENCE.
Building an audience via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube takes time…and content. You have to create new content on a regular basis. Otherwise, your new audience will grow bored, and turn elsewhere for inspiration. You have to also manage your followers & viewers.
Give it time. Don’t give up right away.
3 – Media is NOT about the TECHNICAL, but the CREATIVE.
Cameras, lights, microphones and computers are simply tools: They only create what the user designs. Think of yourself as a PRODUCER not a TECHIE. Get that?
Also consider it’s better to have average equipment run by excellent people rather than excellent equipment run by average people. Too many churches buy great gear then spend little or no time building up the skills of the creative or tech team. Leaders value gear more than people. Sad, but true.
CONTENT IS KING! So many churches still see media as only for recording pastor’s message, posting the song lyrics & announcements, or perhaps rolling in clips to highlight the message. That might be great for INSIDE the church. But at least 50% of your media creation should be for OUTSIDE the church too. Here’s why…
4 – Media is OUTREACH, MISSIONS & EVANGELISM.
When you engage people out in the marketplace via a myriad of media platforms, you are in competition with the secular world for attention, revenue, buzz, influence. You can’t be haphazard in your approach. Make your content good, compelling & interesting. Think testimonies, clips of events, music – a compact, cogent inspirational thought. These examples of content both inspire the believers while also reaching out to the unsaved. They are like a two-edged sword.
Be cautious about live services. So many churches concentrate so hard on the weekly worship service – which are quickly becoming rock shows – that leaders lose sight of those outside the four walls. (But that’s another blog post for another time.)
5 – Identify a small band of MEDIA WARRIORS inside your church to help you.
You don’t have to do it alone. I bet inside your church there is a group of 16-26 year olds that are already media savvy. Enlist them. Train them. Set them loose. (I call them Bezelels – see Exodus 31. He was a Israelite teenager who built the Ark of the Covenant based on God’s designs handed down to Moses.)
6 – There are 3 SCREENS today.
In a media saturated world? You can’t just adhere to traditional evangelism anymore (as valuable as one-on-one witnessing can still be.) It’s a new century with new trends. People have short attention spans. The 3 screens of computer, tablet and mobile phone are where to meet them. That’s where so many connections start…or end. (Scores of people are searching for meaning and connection today…are they finding you? Are you searching for them?)
Finally, if you’re going to reach outside your ministry’s four walls you MUST consider media today. Ask God for VISION, create a PLAN, enlist YOUNG PEOPLE, produce CONTENT.
If you’re still relying on an old, outdated website or sending out emails? You’re stuck in the 20th Century.
Time to get some new tools. (And embrace CHANGE.)