Meeting today’s churchgoers where they are should never mean compromising your message in order to be “hip” and “cool” (oh, how cringeworthy those buzz words are…).
That being said, we cannot deny that times are changing, especially when it comes to technology. If we can adapt to the advancements of technology, and understand that utilizing technology to our advantage does not mean the death of tradition, we will be able to reach a lot more people with the Good News.
Here are a few ideas to help:
Meeting Today’s Churchgoers… Online.
Let’s just talk about the “big one” for now. As of March of 2017, nearly 2 BILLION people use Facebook.
2 BILLION people!?!?
I think it is safe to say there are several users right in your own congregation. The first thing that you need to do is make a public Facebook Page for your church.
Let your congregation know that you have made a new page, and encourage them to go “like” and “follow” the page.
From there, you can post encouraging thoughts and general insight into your church.
A great addition to the public page would also be a private group for your parishioners to join. That way, you can share much more detailed information with your faithful members. For instance: prayer requests, especially if you want to keep the information given safe within your Parish Family.
Reach out to your parishioners and attendees for five star reviews, too. Don’t shy away from specifically asking for five star reviews, either! You are not being pushy; you are positioning yourself to receive some great feedback.
You can also use Facebook to inform your community and parishioners about upcoming events and outreach programs. This helps to get a good idea on head counts, as Facebook users can indicate if they are “going” or not.
Arguably the easiest, most “user-friendly” survey platform out there is Survey Monkey.
Create surveys for every bit of feedback you would like to have, for instance:
- Pre-Cana attendees – what they liked and what suggestions they have for the class.
- Special events.
- General thoughts on your Parish.
This is all vital information that will surely help you understand where today’s churchgoers are at!
MailChimp is a great option for sending out e-newsletters. You will not only save money on having to print and mail physical newsletters, you can also learn from great analytics using the dashboard.
E-newsletters are perfect for sending out quick and encouraging thoughts, prayer chains, and exciting news to keep your congregation well-informed.
Videos and Live Streaming
Finally, any and every moment you are able to record video, do it.
Record your homilies or quick teachings as resources for your Parishioners and Attendees. These don’t have to be Hollywood-style productions. People today desire authenticity.
Live stream your Masses.
The biggest apprehension that I hear all the time that Parishes have about live streaming their Masses is, “What if nobody physically shows up anymore and they just watch Mass from home?”.
You have to look at live streaming in a different way.
Folks will be able enjoy Mass anywhere. It opens up the option to those who might not normally be able to make it to the physical building and gives them the gift of their Home Parish right where they are. People with disabilities, people in nursing homes, people from out of state, young people who are away at college…
The list goes on and on.
Instead of worrying if you’re going to not see as many faces at Mass, think of all of the people from all over being able to enjoy Mass who, again, might not otherwise be able to make it to Mass physically.
As an added bonus, you can keep each live stream in an archive of videos, so your parishioners and attendees can reflect back on a particular message that resonated with them.
These additions to your ministry’s toolbox will make a substantial difference in truly meeting today’s churchgoers where they are. Your parishioners and attendees will feel empowered and that they really are a part of something great.
Again, as I have mentioned before, keeping with the times does not mean the death of tradition, nor does it mean you are compromising your beliefs. You are simply using today’s methods to further advance your message. In the end, your ministry will do a better job at meeting today’s churchgoers where they are.