That Church Conference is a two-day intensive church communicator and marketer conference that focuses on how to communicate with your church body, how to use social media, how to build meaningful connections, and much more.
Unlike other conferences with a keynote and breakout sessions, this conference boasted one large gathering of people with six sessions the first day, and five the second day. Speakers delivered a 45-minute talk, then each table had a table leader that led group discussions related to each session right at your table. It was an excellent way to ask and digest questions, hear from other church communicators and staff, and provide great tipping-off points for extended conversation during breaks and lunch. A big shout out to Justin Dean and the ThatCC team for creating such a practical and inspirational environment for professional growth.
Overall, this conference was well worth the flight to Atlanta and three-day stay. I was able to talk with church communicators from all different states, from church plant to megachurch. Sitting next to me the first day was a church communication dynamo that served as her church’s creative director overseeing all design, marketing, as well as print and online communication. To my right was a lead pastor who came to be encouraged with his team to embrace digital communication in new ways. Meeting, discussing, and eating with like-minded church folks was such a treat.
Overall, I highly recommend this conference if you are in charge of social media, advertising, church bulletins, church announcements, church Facebook strategy, and ministry marketing of all kinds.
Here are five church communication takeaways from That Church Conference 2018:
#1 – Your Church is More Than a Service
Building a church is more than a service; we are creating cultures that are all about connecting with people to live out a shared purpose and to use our God-given gifts and purposes.” – Jenni Catron, 4Sight Group
Everything we say and do as church communicators is a part of what has been built by our existing culture. Churches must be intentional about building a culture that slows down, sees people for who they are, engages with them, and helps people in using their God-given gifts. Overall, the power of a leader is the power to help people steward their gifts and talents well. This will bless your church and it’s outreach every single time.
# 2 – Your Church Must Equip, Not Merely Instruct
Churches often make big ‘asks’ of their members and attenders. “Invite your friends!” “Bring your neighbors!” But rarely does the Church equip people to actually follow through with these initiatives. Often churches think it’s enough to put it out there that this is a ‘bring a friend’ or ‘bring a neighbor’ event. People need more than instruction; they need equipping. Equipping means to “provide with (something) usually for a specific purpose.” Without provisions, how are people supposed to go forth and spread the Good News?
When churches follow through with tools to equip people, success can be high. Some church marketing equipping tools include print invitation cards, Instagram graphics for people to share in their feeds, and custom gift card holders with church event details printed on the outside.
# 3 – Your Church Should Focus on the Boring
Every day is more important than the big day.” – Michael Lukaszewski, Leadership Consulting
When you think about an arch, like the St. Louis arch or the arch in an old stone church building, the center stone is the one that supports the entire weight of the arch. For churches, this means identifying your ‘keystone’ ministries and focusing on the day-to-day priorities of who you most need to reach through services, programs, and events. If you canceled these ministries, you would lose your grounding in your community. What are these ministries for your church? Identify these and put the majority of resources to these ministry areas. It might seem boring to focus on the mundane, everyday ministries instead of the exciting Christmas productions, fall festivals, and Easter egg hunts, but in the long run, you’ll have a more devoted church base of people who are behind the day-to-day vision of your church.
# 4 – Your Church Should Think Beyond Your Sunday Service
What would your church post online if there was no Sunday service?” – Brady Shearer, ProChurchTools
The ProChurchTools team did a huge study on social media use by churches and pastors. The survey measured response rates and interaction in light of how promotional the pastor or church’s feed was. The big takeaway from their study showed that not promoting church events and services more than 1-2% of the time leads to greater interaction online. Shearer goes further to ask, “In fact, if you’re church didn’t have a Sunday service, what would you be posting?” He advises that these are the things you should be posting now. Also, good news, you can scrap the super-polished videos and posts. Raw, unpolished, quick videos and images that show ‘behind the scenes’ performed much better than highly produced social media posts.
# 5 – Your Church is a Way of Life
Is church an event for a couple hours each weekend, or is church a way of life 168 hours per week?” -Nona Jones, Strategic Partnerships for Communities at Facebook
So many more people are on Facebook than would ever step foot in our churches. We have to place this community in a valuable position. Churches need to start thinking ‘social ministry’ not just social media. Jones is concerned that Church has become a program to watch, and not a people to be. Community groups on Facebook can unite, support, and connect our church families and reach many thousands more. Many churches have a Facebook Page, but so much more can be done by connecting this to a private Facebook Group. Here, your members and affinity groups within your church body can dive deep and connect authentically. Jones wants to see churches harness the power of Facebook Groups to drive community connections and involvement to take ministry far beyond the church building.
Register now for That Church Conference 2019.
[Editor’s Note: This post includes affiliate links. Lauren Hunter was given a press pass to attend this conference and report on it.]