I’ve been to numerous conferences where the question is asked, “When can we start using [ENTER NEW WEB TECHNOLOGY HERE] for our church?”
The answer is always something like “When your audience has the capability to use it, or are saavy towards it.”
I understand this answer when it comes to hardware. For example, it doesn’t make sense to design a 1040px wide website if a majority of folks accessing it are all on 800px wide monitors.
However, for everythiing else, I’d like to turn this thinking around.
Instead of being frustrated with the lack of saavyness visitors to our website have, why don’t we think of creative ways to take them by the hand and impart knowledge through “baby-step” experiences. In return they’ll champion it to other novice users.
The hi-def plasma experience.
Think of it this way, folks watching the Superbowl on a television built in 1990 will still see the same game and commercials as someone watching it on a brand new, big screen, 1080p, hi def plasma television. The difference is the experience — Crystal clear, like-your-at-the-game picture.
In the same way, look for avenues to pepper in perks to reward users of popular technologies, and offer non-users a glimpse of what could be without penalizing them.
We recently created a Facebook Fan Page for The Chapel. At the time of this post, there are close to 400 users.
We don’t expect every church attender or visitor to be on Facebook, but I have seen folks join Facebook just to join in the conversation on the fan page.
More notes on Facebook:
- This doesn’t replace our main website, but we do offer additional features through daily-updated news feeds, videos, event notifications, etc.
- The public, non Facebook members, can view content on our fan page, but they can’t take part in the conversation.
- All content can be shared. Our fans are getting the word out about what’s going on, just by clicking “share.” In return, their non-fan friends get exposure to The Chapel and decide to become fans.
- We link to several event pages, located on Facebook, from the homepage of Chapel.org. Again, anyone can read them, they just can’t comment unless they’re logged in to Facebook. This generates interest in the technology.
There is only a small percentage of Chapel attenders using Twitter, but enough to make an impact.
For the past several months we’ve offered the ability for Twitter users to tweet upcoming events.
Again, non Twitter users still have the ability to automatically email their friends to get the word out about upcoming events, but Twitter users get the added benefit and cool factor.
In addition, we’re tinkering with the idea to encourage tweeting during weekend services. We have a group of folks utilizing the hashtag #thechapel when talking about The Chapel, and we’ll probably eventually aggregate these on Chapel.org.
One step at a time.
Facebook and Twitter are just two of the many popular items churches can embrace.
You might also want to consider introducing new technology such as group texting, txt voting, a mobile version of your website, or iPhone apps.
The take home
We’re hired to be experts, but it doesn’t end there. Let’s lead our congregations when new Kingdom-impacting technologies jump on the scene. Stop waiting for it to catch on. The possibilities are endless when we give folks enough knowledge to be “dangerous.”
What are the technologies you’re leading folks to embrace at your church or ministry?