Is your church ready for the holidays? Are you overwhelmed thinking through all you need to do to prepare your church communications for Christmas?
It’s not too soon to prepare for the holidays! Tune into ChurchSpring Live, Episode 016 for the top five ways you can effectively prepare your church for Christmas. Rohn and Isabelle will help you get a jumpstart on action items you need to take this holiday season to welcome guests, ensure communication with your members, and share your church services with your community.
Isabelle Faletti (00:55):
Hello, there. My name is Isabelle. And joining me today is Rohn Gibson, co-founder of ChurchSpring.
Rohn Gibson (01:02):
Good morning, everyone.
Isabelle Faletti (01:04):
Hey, I would love to know who is attending our live event today. It looks like we already have quite a few people joining us live. So, thanks for joining us right on time. I'm not always known to be on time, unfortunately, so I always respect when people show up to live events on time. So, kudos to you. Introduce your church name in your comment, and where you're from in the comments below. We would love to say hello, and see who we have today.
Isabelle Faletti (01:32):
While you are doing that, I do want to welcome a few new members that we have to the ChurchSpring family. So, we absolutely love when we have new churches, new ministries around the nation sign up. So, shout out to Living Word International Ministries from Clarksville, Tennessee. We have Lakeview Community Church from Hillman, Minnesota. And Shadow Hill Baptist Church from St. Mary's West Virginia. So, welcome to ChurchSpring to those of you who are new to ChurchSpring. And maybe you stumbled across this live stream with the random lady wearing a Christmas hat, and you're thinking, "What is this? What am I doing here?"
Rohn Gibson (02:16):
It's going to be a party up in here today, we got the Christmas jingle and everything going on.
Isabelle Faletti (02:20):
Yes. Well, so if you are new to ChurchSpring, we help churches build intuitive, affordable and frustration-free websites. So, thanks for joining us to our live event today. If you haven't noticed, Christmas is around the corner. If you're like me, I was a little surprised when I saw that it was September already. And when comes September, that means snow in Colorado. And Christmas is right around the corner.
Isabelle Faletti (02:50):
So, it is so important to prepare your church communications for Christmas. You need to be prepared, and so you be overwhelmed, so that you can create a really warm and welcoming environment for your visitors and current members. So, we are going to dive into what you need to do to prepare your digital communications for Christmas. But before I give more details of what that will entail I'll pass it off to Rohn here, as he has a couple of important announcements.
Rohn Gibson (03:23):
Yeah. So, as Isabelle was saying, we went to engage with you today. So, if you have questions as we dive into this, please add them to the comments, make sure you give, again, StreamYard access so we can see your face and your comment and questions. So, we can make sure we get as many of those answered during the time today as possible.
Rohn Gibson (03:43):
And then also, if you say something that you're like, "Man, that was super helpful." Please hit the heart or the like button, that just lets us know that the information that we're sharing with you is valuable. And obviously that's our goal. Trust me, we have a lot to do in a day. But ultimately, our main focus is we want to serve you and add value to you, and you liking, loving or even sharing and tagging with a friend, lets us know that we are doing that. So anyway, I love it. Faith Alive Church, "Is that your Halloween hat too?" Oh, that's awesome.
Isabelle Faletti (04:18):
Oh, come October I'll have pumpkins in the back, some fall decor. Don't you worry.
Rohn Gibson (04:24):
Oh yeah. She'll bring it.
Isabelle Faletti (04:25):
Oh, I will.
Rohn Gibson (04:26):
That will be awesome.
Isabelle Faletti (04:28):
This is just a taste of what's to come for Christmas here. Well, it looks like we have-
Rohn Gibson (04:34):
That is so awesome. All right. Yeah. So, last thing just quickly to wrap up. You can always go back as far as show notes and the replay, don't feel like you have to take perfect notes here. We will post the replay to our website. So, you can go check that out, churchspring.com/csl016, and view the recording. See all the show notes with the links, if we mentioned any of those on the episode today. So, just now you can sit back, watch, engage with us. And we're looking forward to just an exciting episode today on such an important topic.
Isabelle Faletti (05:08):
Yeah. Yep. Well, I wanted to do a quick shout out. We have Carolyn joining us from One Voice. Welcome. We have so many great new faces, I guess you could say. Sheila from Hillcrest Baptist Church, welcome. We're excited to have you back. Alice from Antioch, from Memphis, Tennessee. Terry Hopkins, always happy to see you. Hop on here, Terry, I know that you're a regular. And Reverend Christina as always welcome to ChurchSpring Live. We absolutely love having you here every week.
Isabelle Faletti (05:50):
So, if you are joining us now, please drop a comment. Let us know where you're from, so that we can say hello. When you're doing a live stream, it's always nice to know who is on the other side of the screen. So yeah, keep it coming.
Isabelle Faletti (06:06):
I would love to know for all of those of you who are listening, have you started to prepare for the Christmas season? Let me know. Because if you have not started to prepare for the Christmas season, that's okay. No shame. And if you have started to prepare, then we will be celebrating with you and celebrating your win. So, drop a comment and say yes, if you've started to prepare, or no if you've not started to prepare for the Christmas season.
Isabelle Faletti (06:37):
So, it is definitely not too soon to start preparing your church communications for the holidays. So, today we're just going to dive into our content today. We are going to be talking about the top five ways that you can prepare your church for the Christmas, so that you won't be overwhelmed, so that you won't be looking at the calendar on December 1st, then realizing, "Oh, I don't have enough time to get everything ready." So, Rohn and I, we're going to give you a jumpstart on some action items that you can take this holiday season to really just welcome your guests and share communication with your members, so that they know what's going on, and when and where. And share your church services with your community, whether you're live streaming or you will be able to have an in-person gathering this Christmas. So, it looks like we have some great interaction today.
Rohn Gibson (07:33):
This is great. I work better under pressure. We've got some of those people here at ChurchSpring as well.
Isabelle Faletti (07:38):
Rohn Gibson (07:39):
Yeah, exactly. Jeff, "Nope. Not yet. No way, too early." Oh man, my wife and I walked into Costco. It's probably been two weeks ago now. And that Christmas trees up already. And that was the exact words that came out of my mouth, "No, it's way too early for that." So, we've got a couple of no's. We've got, "With COVID? You're kidding, right?" I know. Doesn't it? It feels like that this year. There's so much flying at us in the church. That man, it can feel a little overwhelming.
Rohn Gibson (08:15):
So, our goal for today is we don't want you to feel overwhelmed. But what we want to do is start the wheels turning and give you some ideas to start thinking about as it relates to planning for Christmas. Because believe it or not, it's 106 days away. Yes, I did Google that right before we jumped on the livestream today. So, by the time we meet next week, we are under a hundred days before Christmas. So, again, not saying that to a cause any angst. Don't go breaking out your Christmas decorations quite yet, even though Isabelle got a jumpstart on us with her hat.
Isabelle Faletti (08:53):
Yes, I did.
Rohn Gibson (08:55):
There you go. There you go. But anyway, so the point of today is just to get the juices flowing a little bit. And don't feel like, "Oh, I haven't started planning yet." That's not a bad thing. Because what we want to do is give you some resources that will really help you in the planning process. So, that's really the whole point of our time today. And we're excited about it.
Isabelle Faletti (09:15):
Yeah. Well, Rohn, let's answer the question of, okay, why is it important to prepare for Christmas now? Since it sounds like a lot of our attendees today they're not quite prepared for Christmas. And again, that's okay because we're not, I mean, this is why we are having this conversation, so that we can start being aware of that. So, why is it important that churches start preparing for Christmas now in September?
Rohn Gibson (09:46):
Yeah. So, ultimately, and somebody mentioned it just earlier. And the world's hurting and the world's always been hurting. You've got sending the world, we live in a broken world. And I don't know about anybody else. And honestly, I don't watch the news much. But man, you just feel it, just the heaviness of what's going on in our world right now. And people are looking for answers. People are looking for hope. And yeah, they're looking for peace, and like eternal peace, not just like a little quick thing. And we've got the election coming up, we have a lot of things. And we're not going to make this political one bit. But they're not going to find the hope and the peace they're looking for in this election. The only place that they're going to find true peace and true hope is in Jesus.
Rohn Gibson (10:37):
And the Christmas season is a time, it's such a sacred holiday. That even those who maybe they're struggling in their faith, maybe they've walked away from the church, maybe they've never even attended a church ever, I think it's one of those times that really causes people to stop and think. And that's why around the holidays, we have a lot of visitors that come and attend church. Some of them for the first time. Some of them it's the only, they're Christmas and Easter attenders. And man, such an opportunity this year to reach them and to really truly share the hope and the peace that we have in Jesus. So, why is it important? Because the gospel. I mean, and I could go on and on, but I won't. But ultimately, such a huge opportunity. And I think especially this year, it's even heightened a little bit more.
Rohn Gibson (11:29):
So, next is, I love this quote. I don't even know who it was. It may be a Peter Drucker quote. I don't know. We can say Abraham Lincoln, everything, if you don't know. Just attribute it to Abraham Lincoln.
Rohn Gibson (11:41):
That's right. But failing to plan is planning to fail. So, it doesn't mean you have to have every single little thing planned out. However, you should begin even let this be that thing, maybe a kickoff time for you just to let ideas start marinating on, what do we want to do this season, this holiday season, going into the fourth quarter, building up to Christmas, what are those things that maybe you've done in the past that have worked really well? Obviously a lot of churches are doing things this year that they have never done before. I mean, so many churches are jumping on live streaming. So, many churches are putting way more effort into their digital communications than they ever have before because of the world that we live in today.
Rohn Gibson (12:23):
So, plan. So, failing to plan is planning to fail. And no one wants to do that. I don't think anybody here wants to do that. So, let's make sure that we put a plan together, even if it's just the beginning of one at this stage. And then a lot of the things we're going to talk about today. So, we are going to get specific to a level, to a degree. Many of these things we could talk, I mean, we could put a hundred hours worth of training courses together on some of these things that we're going to talk about.
Rohn Gibson (12:50):
But many of the things we're going to mention today, aren't just a five or 10 minute afternoon task. Okay. So, some of these things are going to take planning. It may mean you need to rally some volunteers around you to help you, if you're the pastor. And let's be honest, in ministry, there's very few people that don't have overloaded plates. So, you may need to recruit some help and bring some people in, or you may even need to look to potentially outsource something to more of an expert in some of these areas. And that's going to take some time. That's not something you want to do last minute whatsoever. So, these are going to take some time.
Rohn Gibson (13:26):
So, why is it important that we talk about it now? Such an important time. We want to make sure that we have a good plan pulled together. And many of the tasks that we're going to talk about today are going to take some time and we want to make sure we give you enough runway to make this Christmas season one, where we reach your community, help you reach your community, maybe like you never have before.
Rohn Gibson (13:46):
So, I may just ask that question. Do you want to reach your community this season more than you ever have before? Is that a goal or a mindset or something you feel like God's leading you to do? So, answer that question. I know my plate broke. I totally understand that. Sometimes there's so much on the plate, you can't put any more meatballs on there. It's just falling off and sometimes it breaks. But let's get back like really, is this season super important for you, and you want to reach people for Christ, like never before in the world we're in? And this is awesome. Love it. Absolutely. Absolutely, all caps. Wonderful.
Rohn Gibson (14:30):
Well, we're going to give you some things to think about today and some things that you can even start taking action on. And I don't want to give it, I'll just stop there. I just want to dive into the next thing here and start giving these ideas. But anyway, let's do it. Let's get out there. Let's take that passion. Let's take that desire. Let's take that calling that God has given us, really be led through his spirit, being in prayer, being in the word and say, "God, what do you want me to do to reach my community for you? What do you want me to do to equip and enable people in your local gathering to actually take part in ministry? Not just to be a consumer, but actually to be actively involved in the work of the ministry." And we're going to give you some ideas on how you can do that today.
Isabelle Faletti (15:19):
Yeah. That's great, Rohn. I think to your point, it can feel overwhelming if your plate is already full, if your plate may be just shattered as DJ, from Faith Alive mentioned. It can be overwhelming to start planning ahead because you have a lot going on. And it can be difficult to have that mental clarity. So, I love that. Yeah, we need to have the right mindset. And remember what we're placed on this earth to do and how this Christmas season is an amazing opportunity that we can reach our community.
Isabelle Faletti (15:56):
So, to prevent overwhelm I want to unpack top five ways that we've identified that a church needs to do to prepare the digital communication for Christmas. So, for everybody who is listening this is the beginning episode of how you can prepare your church digital communications for Christmas.
Isabelle Faletti (16:23):
So, in the next couple of weeks, we are going to really dive deep into these topics. I mean, we are going to be talking about things that Rohn actually mentioned, that people charge for. We're going to be talking about how to optimize your website, digital advertising. I mean, the content that we have planned for you is incredibly valuable. So, this is an intro to just get the wheels turning, so you can start jotting things down on your note pad, put things into your calendar, so that you won't be overwhelmed. Again, that is our goal, so that you won't be overwhelmed, and that you will be prepared to communicate to your members, to bring in new guests this year. So, all right, enough of that. Rohn, what are the top five ways that a church can prepare their digital communications for Christmas?
Rohn Gibson (17:16):
Yeah. So just real quickly, before we jump into that, actually two things. Number one, I'm just going to give an amen. I think it was DJ, mentioned his name earlier here, "It's always important." I could not agree with you more. So, I'm just going to leave that there because it is absolutely always important. And honestly, that's why we do this. That's why we jump on air every single week, not just around the Christmas time, but all throughout the year to share these resources. So, anyway, totally agree with that. I can just sit there unpack on that, but I'm not going to today.
Rohn Gibson (17:48):
So, we're going to talk about again, the top five things. And we're not going to go into these at a one inch level. So, we're going to talk 30,000 feet today. And then as Isabelle said, over the next several weeks, we're really going to get down into more of the nitty gritty details of each one of those things. But this at least starts to put it on your radar of things that you should be thinking about as it relates to preparing for Christmas.
Rohn Gibson (18:12):
So, number one, optimize your website. I know that's a surprise. I know that's not a huge surprise. Your website is the thing that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for your ministry. So, you want to make sure that your website is optimized for this season. One thing to think about is that you want it to be optimized for your current members, right? So, one of the things we talked about over the last, well, many episodes is what is the number one outcome you want to receive from your church website? We've heard time and time again, effective communication with existing church members. So, you need to be thinking about existing church members, what do they need to know and see on your church website.
Rohn Gibson (18:52):
And then next for many it's also, we want to reach new visitors. We want to reach new people in our community and have them walk in our doors, if you're able to gather. So, we want them to walk through our doors many for the first time. So, you want to make sure that you remember those audiences and really think through what types of content do each of those people need to see.
Rohn Gibson (19:18):
So, again, we're going to go into this a lot more actually next week. We're going to spend the entire episode just specifically talking about more in depth things that you can do on your church website to really get ready for the Christmas season. But one thing I'll just share here is, think about adding a page to your site specifically for Christmas. So, we call that a landing page in the marketing world. It's a dedicated page that if somebody wants to know about a specific topic, you don't want all this information about all the other things going on in your organization or your church, you want to keep it very specific and have a centralized place. So, what I would recommend that you do is you can go under your about page... So, there's multiple ways you can do this. But one of those is you can go underneath your about page and just put, join us for Christmas or Christmas at Faith or whatever the name of your church. And then start putting information on that page that somebody would need to know specifically for Christmas.
Rohn Gibson (20:14):
So, one thing I'd recommend, and I know we've talked about this in the past even on the plan, your visit page or things you should know, actually having a video from the church leadership on there, whether it's the pastor, whether it's maybe somebody who was in charge of your welcome ministry, actually have them. Again, it can be on your phone. Does not have to be anything too crazy. But just say, "Hey, we'd love to have you join us at Faith Baptist Church for the upcoming Christmas season. Below you'll find..." Put the information they're going to find below. I would list your events there. If you have any questions you can also use. If you're a ChurchSpring user, you can actually add a block with a contact page right there on that specific page, on that landing page, that if they have questions about your Christmas events, they can reach out to you right there. You don't have to send them over to a different contact page. It can be right there on that landing page.
Rohn Gibson (21:05):
So, really think about adding a landing page, is what we're going to call it, a Christmas landing page to your church website. Make sure it includes a welcome video, other things that they should know, if you are offering childcare, if their Sunday school classes or whatever that would be, where to park, all those types of things, it's a great place. You could also include, if you're live streaming currently, and you're posting the recordings of those videos, you can actually take one of those and also embed it. Say, "Hey, here's an example of one of our services of what you can expect during our Christmas service here at our church." So again, list events, and then I would also add that contact us block. So, if they have questions, make it super easy for people to reach out to you.
Rohn Gibson (21:51):
And we're going to talk about the specific use case of other ways you can use this landing page here momentarily. But for now, we're just going to leave it there, because we're going to dive more into this next week. So, that's a little teaser. So, join us next week. And literally the entire episode is going to be about specific things you should do even beyond the landing page to really prepare your church website, to get the most benefit for your existing congregation, as well as reaching people in your community with the gospel during this time of the year.
Isabelle Faletti (22:22):
And hearing you outline this landing page Rohn, it makes me think I'll just go ahead and create a demo lit Christmas landing page. So, then next week when we do talk about how to optimize your website specifically, we can show everybody what it looks like. And then you can use that as a template, as yet another thing to take off your plate, so that if you're not thinking creatively, you don't have that capacity, you can just follow the template that we've outlined. And I like to see things and hear about it. So, we'll get that ready for you next week. So, make sure to attend next week. I know, I feel like this is a promo for next week.
Rohn Gibson (23:05):
We've got more to cover than just this though. Oh yeah. Yeah. And one thing that we may want to do for next week, I'm going to say it, we're not committing, but even setting up a demo that just is literally optimized for Christmas, so they can go and just specifically see the example and then translate that over. Sometimes it's good to hear it, but many times I know I'm a visual learner, it's way better just to see that content.
Rohn Gibson (23:30):
So, let's keep going here. So, the next thing is you want to make sure that you're tracking what's going on your site. So, I'm in a previous episode, actually. So, if you go to churchspring.com/csl for ChurchSpring Live, CSL008, you can watch a more in depth episode on Google Analytics, what it is, why it's important. But ultimately, the main thing we want to express here is that you want to track what's going on your site. How many visitors do you have coming to that Christmas landing page? Are they filling out the contact form, if you're doing that? Are they reaching out to you in some way? So, make sure that you are tracking what's going on in your website. And again, there's a great tool called Google Analytics. We'll link all this up in the show notes. But make sure that you're tracking. So, that's number two.
Rohn Gibson (24:19):
Number three is live stream. And we've just went through how many weeks, four plus weeks of talking about live streaming. So, whether you're a beginner, intermediate, advanced or professional, we've got content for you specific in live streaming. But this information can really help somebody set their expectation of what this is going to be like before they even walk in the doors. And I think many people who are in the church, we don't value some of those things enough, because we're in it and we're so in it, we don't realize that there's a lot of anxiety for people for a lot of different reasons, whether it was bad experience, whether it's just social anxiety, whatever that might be. Putting some of those recordings on there or even, because you're live streaming, allowing somebody to attend your live stream, even prior to the Christmas holiday, that could be a great building block to actually get them to come and walk in the doors there at your church.
Rohn Gibson (25:24):
So, live stream your services. It helps set the expectation for that potential visitor. And again, if you are like, "We don't live stream." Well, I would just ask you, what are you waiting for? You can literally do it from your phone. I was just literally at church here in my town. I think they run less than 50 people live streaming from their phone. It was great. So, if you're not doing that, definitely go check out one of the previous episodes, specifically starting with ChurchSpring Live episode 11. So again, you can see there on the screen churchspring.com/csl011.
Rohn Gibson (26:03):
And again, we don't want this to be like, we're just promoting previous episodes, but we want to make the best use of your time. And if this is relevant for you, go back and check out the episodes. If you've already watched those episodes, which I know many of you already have, then go back and revisit them, if you're not doing it. Otherwise, we'll just keep on moving forward here.
Rohn Gibson (26:20):
So, number one, optimize your site. Number two, track the traffic, what's going on in your site. Number three, make sure you have live streaming setups, so somebody can have the experience virtually before they walk in the doors for the first time. Mitigate that anxiety, let them know what that experience is going to be like before they even pull their car into your parking lot, or take a first step into your church building. I think that's so important.
Isabelle Faletti (26:45):
Yeah. And if you are new to live streaming, then make sure that you are testing out your live streaming. And even if you're not new to live streaming, or if you have a new camera, I know, I think it was Faith Alive Church, yeah, DJ, you said that you're planning a whole new system and cameras. That's awesome for one thing, congratulations. That's a big step in increasing that production level of your live streaming. But with new cameras, new setup, will come new roadblocks that you aren't expecting.
Isabelle Faletti (27:16):
So, make sure that you are testing your live streaming from the very beginning. If you use a ChurchSpring website, create a test event, turn on live stream event, so that you can see how it works on your website. And then do a test live event on your Facebook page and your YouTube, wherever you are streaming live. This will really help take away any last minute stress and pressure that you may face if your live stream doesn't go well. Or if you run into an issue during your live stream event on Christmas or on Christmas Eve then you will know how to address it, because you may run into a similar situation in your testing. So, I can't stress that enough from the customer happiness side, that is what we encourage all of our members to do, test, test, test. So, if you hear anything, test your live stream.
Isabelle Faletti (28:13):
And then if you have questions about how it's set up or about what to use, reach out to us. Whether you're a member or not a member, we at ChurchSpring, we want to help you and answer any questions. I know live streaming can be confusing. That's why we did four series on ChurchSpring about it. So, don't hesitate. We're here to help.
Rohn Gibson (28:34):
Yeah. And having Zach on last week, if you're confused on the hardware, what you should do, Zach did the work for you. He created some amazing packages. And honestly the pricing, you couldn't buy it individually on Amazon for that. He's done an incredible job there. So, definitely go check out the previous episode. That would be 015. And we give you the link specifically that you can reach over and reach out to him for assistance.
Rohn Gibson (28:59):
So, number four on our list is use organic social media. So, you may be asking, organic social media, do you buy this at Whole Foods? Yeah, exactly. How does this work? So, organic social media in short is just a media that you're not paying for. So, you posting to your Facebook page that you're not paying for, that's what we're talking about as far as utilizing organic social media. So, make sure that you're posting to your page.
Rohn Gibson (29:30):
A lot of people don't realize, we talked earlier on in this episode about, you may need time to rally people to help you for the Christmas time. You may need, maybe don't have a welcome ministry at your church and you need to create a welcome ministry at your church, or maybe you're working on setting up a live stream and you need to get volunteers to help you with that. It's a little difficult to run a live stream and preach at the same time. So, you definitely want some help. So, you may even utilize just posting to your church Facebook page, just say, "Hey, we're looking for help in these areas. If you're interested, contact these people for these specific ministries." So, it can also be used for those types of communication as well. So, just something to consider there.
Rohn Gibson (30:15):
Schedule content, again, via your social scheduler. So again, if you're a ChurchSpring member you can automatically schedule. So, as you create your events for the holidays, you can go ahead and schedule your organic posts to your social media platforms right inside of ChurchSpring. So, instead of over-complicating it and trying to have all these different systems that are disconnected, now it's a super easy right inside of ChurchSpring. You can schedule all of those posts. Even I know, 90 days out may feel like man, that seems like a little weird. But contextualize it, make it relevant and you can be driving people to your Christmas landing page even 90 days out, potentially.
Isabelle Faletti (30:59):
Yeah. And that's also a part of giving a good first impression to visitors who are coming to learn more. So, Rohn had mentioned live streaming and uploading sermons to your website that just gives guests an idea of who you are and how your church functions. Social media is also another way of that first impression. So, there's a lot of different reasons why social media, we'll talk about that, actually I think in two weeks, about really how to optimize your Facebook page for your church. But it's so huge in this digital world, whether you use Facebook or Instagram because visitors do... I mean, I call it social stocking. That's not really what they're doing, but they do look at your online presence, your website and your social channels. So, if you have outdated content or if you have posts that are linking to broken pages or pages that don't go anywhere, that is part of their first impression of you. So, organic social media is key and really preparing how your members and guests are perceiving your church and communications.
Rohn Gibson (32:14):
Absolutely. And then lastly, under organic social media is encourage your members, number one, to follow your social media profiles. So, that should be, I mean, every service, if you have announcement slides they should be on there, follow us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter. Or whatever social media platforms you utilize, you should be encouraging your church members to go and follow you there. And then take the next step and actually encourage them. So, as you start getting closer to Christmas, the Christmas services, actually encourage your church members to share them. So, it's super easy. And I mean, you could even create a slide just for that to say, "Hey, help us reach our community. You can do that as simple as just sharing our social media posts on your Facebook page to let people know about the upcoming services."
Rohn Gibson (33:06):
So, I highly encourage you to do that. It's one of the easiest things that people can do. I mean, literally it takes less than 30 seconds to post that into invite people to your service. And the very best people that you have to reach your community, isn't your website. I know, I know, I know, we're a technology company and we're saying it's not technology. It's the people in your church. It's those people going out and actually being evangelists, and being what God's called them to be in their local community. And they can do that just by leveraging social media and sharing that to their friends and their community that you may not be connected with through the church Facebook page. So, I highly, highly encourage you to do that.
Rohn Gibson (33:52):
And then lastly, here to round off number five is consider paid digital advertising. I know a lot of people, your mind maybe just exploded a little bit because that seems overwhelming. There's a lot of options in paid advertising. So, first of all, what is paid advertising? We're talking about, and you've seen them, that's probably how you sign up for ChurchSpring actually. It was a Facebook advertisement that you saw probably of me on the screen, inviting you to a demo. And then you attended the demo and then sign up for ChurchSpring. That's how a lot of people find out about ChurchSpring. So, Facebook ads, Google ads is another avenue, but those are things that you pay for, what we call the pay to play.
Rohn Gibson (34:37):
So, digital advertising now is extremely economical. It used to cost a ton of money to do things. And now you can reach people with a minimal advertising budget. So, I would just encourage you to start thinking about that. Actually, I'm going to ask this question, let me phrase it that way, has your church ever used paid advertising, whether it's through Facebook, Google, or otherwise to reach your community? So, give us a yes, give us no, in the comments. There's no shame if you haven't. So, don't feel like you can't comment and say anything. But let us know, have you ever utilized digital advertising to reach people in your community? And if you haven't done it, there are specifics times of the year that I would absolutely recommend it.
Rohn Gibson (35:32):
I mean, honestly like the comment earlier, it's always time to reach your community. Really, it's not like, "Oh well, just Christmas." No, it's always time to reach your community. You should always be doing some digital advertising, paid advertising. That should just be a monthly line item in your budget that you are utilizing to reach your community. With targeting today, if your advertising, so why is it important? Well, people coming into the Lord is really important, and advertising is a great way to connect with people.
Rohn Gibson (36:03):
So, extremely, extremely economical. Targeting, I mean, you can target just very specific places. And I'm sure you've seen it. I would say this, if you've done advertising, paid advertising and it hasn't worked for you in the past, it doesn't mean that paid advertising doesn't work. It probably means you need somebody helping you with it, that knows what they're doing to start driving results.
Rohn Gibson (36:30):
I'm super excited. We're actually going to have a close friend of mine over the next, not the next two, but over the next probably five or six episodes. His name is Peter. This is what he does, he is a digital advertising marketing expert, works with churches. Has come up with some incredible campaigns to drive results, actually drive people walking in the door. I was just so blessed that he's even willing to jump on. He's a pastor son. He's what used to be called a Google fiber specialist, meaning he's got all the certifications that Google offers. Genius when it comes to Facebook. He's been a huge help for us. So, we're excited to be able to introduce you to him in the future.
Rohn Gibson (37:15):
So, if you're thinking, "Oh man. Facebook ads..." which is what I'd recommend, every church be doing honestly with Facebook ads. But if that just seems overwhelming to you, sit tight, we're going to bring in the Facebook ad experts who works with churches and actually have him share what you should be doing.
Rohn Gibson (37:34):
But I mentioned earlier that some of these things may be more than a five minute task. This is an example of something that is more than a five minute task. Okay? Especially if you don't want to do it on your own. So, you can do it on your own. There's a lot you can do on your own. And we're going to do a lot to educate you over the coming weeks on how you can do it, you know, the do it yourself model.
Rohn Gibson (37:59):
However, if you're like others here who have said their plates are broken because they can't take any more on their plate. And I just basically said, "Hey, you should be doing this." And that's like something else on your plate. Well, we're going to give you resources, and even somebody that you can reach out to over the next several weeks to help you with advertising during this time of the year. And Lord willing, you see the results from it in your community, you're reaching people like you've never been able to reach them before. And therefore it just becomes part of something that you do all year long.
Rohn Gibson (38:31):
So, many pastors, man, I talked to so many pastors. My father-in-law is a pastor. One of the things he actually had shared with me was just how the website and digital really has replaced the phone-book. It used to be, no, you just need to be in the listing in the phone-book. Well, that phone-book now is basically a doorstop. It's this big thick thing that you use to keep the door open. So, having an effective church website is so important, and having digital advertising that strategically takes people.
Rohn Gibson (39:01):
Do you remember earlier, we talked about the Christmas landing page. Well, if you start doing Christmas promotions, so there's types of content. We may even come up with some scripting for you that you could even utilize in the video for an ad, where then you can send them to that landing page, that where Isabelle committed to writing for you for next week. So, that's awesome. That then you can send people to, to get them to then engage with you and walk in your door, Lord willing even before Christmas. Because it's always a thing. This isn't just a Christmas thing. This is an always a thing. But this strategy is ultimately to drive people and help introduce people to your ministry during this Christmas time. So, super excited about that.
Rohn Gibson (39:43):
So again, just to summarize. Number one, optimize your church website. Number two, make sure that you are tracking. You can utilize Google Analytics. That's a free resource. Again, we'll link up to that. If you're not familiar with it or aren't using it, we'll link up to that in the show notes. Number three, make sure you're live streaming your services. At the minimum, make sure that you are uploading recordings, whether it's just audio or ideally video of your services, so people can understand what the experience is like before they even walk in the door. Number four, make sure you're utilizing organic social media. So, that's just you posting, you're not paying anything. You're just posting to the different social media outlets that you utilize there at your church. And then lastly, leverage the power of paid digital advertising to reach people in your community with the hope of the gospel.
Rohn Gibson (40:35):
And we're going to talk again more about all of these things in very minute detail over the coming weeks. So, stay tuned. But those are the things. So, the purpose of today, again, isn't overwhelm you or to leave you with, "I can't believe they're talking about Christmas already." Because honestly, I can't believe we're talking about Christmas already, 106 days away by the way, a reminder. And I know I wasn't supposed to say that again, based on what somebody said in the comments. But it's true. It's coming and we want you to be ready for it. So, really consider all of these tactics and we'll dive more into that.
Rohn Gibson (41:10):
So, do we have any questions? Has there been any questions that have come in? Looks like we've got some good confirmation on the ads. That's been super helpful. That's great.
Isabelle Faletti (41:19):
Yeah. Yeah. It looks like we have a handful of people being comfortable with using Facebook ads or digital advertising. And some who've never used it before or some... Yeah. Yes. And it's been awesome. Antoinette, you said, "I've once used $10 on Facebook." That's good. That's a little step in the right direction. And you're getting familiar with the platform. That's important. We have a couple of nos, not yet. Tom says, "We did it once on Facebook." Yeah. So, the Facebook digital advertising aspect that we'll talk about in a couple of weeks, it'll be super important for all those who are listening, whether you've done it with 10 bucks or maybe more of a monthly campaign or you're super new to that. That would be a definite must-watch.
Isabelle Faletti (42:09):
And yeah, I love Peter. Peter is so fun. Rohn, you're going to have to reign us in, because Peter and I when we get going, there's no stopping us.
Rohn Gibson (42:16):
Yes. Yes. Oh, it's going to be a blast. And I mean, honestly Peter's willingness to jump on, and he just wants to serve the church. And this guy is one of the most talented digital marketers. And I've worked with a lot of them at my years in advertising and digital advertising and marketing. And he is just amazing, amazing. So, we're really excited to bring him on over the next... Let's see. It'll be three weeks from now, I think if I'm not mistaken.
Isabelle Faletti (42:46):
I believe so. Yeah.
Rohn Gibson (42:47):
Awesome. Stay tuned for that. But man, I mean, honestly next week, I'm getting thrilled about next week already.
Isabelle Faletti (42:54):
Rohn Gibson (42:54):
I've been deeper into this. So, anyway.
Isabelle Faletti (42:57):
Yeah. So, it looks like DJ from Faith Alive Church, he says, "Okay, I'm feeling overwhelmed." So, we don't want that DJ. Rohn, what can we do after listening through the top five action items? What is the next step that church leaders can take to prevent from feeling overwhelmed and be prepared for the next upcoming months and Christmas season?
Rohn Gibson (43:26):
Yeah. I think the very first thing I would say is take a deep breath. All of this doesn't have to be done today or even over the next 30 days. So, take a deep breath and just pray that God would give you wisdom on what he wants you to do. It may be one of these things. It may be absolutely none of these things. It may be just, okay, we need to rally the people in our church and give them some tools and the resources, even just verbally of how to invite their friends to church, how to engage with their neighbors.
Rohn Gibson (43:58):
Let's be the church in our communities and start serving our neighbors and loving our neighbors more like we should. So, I would just encourage, take a deep breath, pray about it. Ask to be led by the Holy Spirit to do what he's calling you to do, to reach people in your community during this time. And also, in addition to praying about it, just continue to ponder. What is it that God wants you to do? Here's some resources. We're going to give you even more resources in the coming weeks. But don't feel like it all has to be done today because it doesn't. And I know a lot of overwhelm comes from, yeah, maybe trying to think too far ahead. And instead of just being like, okay, right here, right now, today's task, pray about it. Take a deep breath and pray about it and just say, "God, show me what you want me to do to reach my community." And he will lead you.
Isabelle Faletti (44:55):
Yep. Yep. That's good. And then another action item can be to keep attending our ChurchSpring Lives because we will be diving into, okay, what is it look like to talk to my user website? What does it look like to prepare your social media platforms for Christmas for really digital communications? So, you're not alone in this. So, if you are thinking, "I just don't know where to start, understand the need. I get it, but that's just a lot. How do I know how to update? How do I know how to launch Facebook ads?" Make sure to honestly put it on your calendar next Thursday at 10:00 AM Central, we'll be talking about your website. And then week after that, we'll be talking about Facebook, social media. So, we've laid out a roadmap for you from now until Christmas of how you can be prepared by planning ahead. And I'm not a planner. So, this is so important that we're talking about this now in September, because we don't want last minute panic to come about.
Rohn Gibson (46:02):
Yes. Awesome. So yeah, as far as the action, let's talk about taking action now, right? So, obviously you're here, you care about this topic, otherwise I'm sure you have many, many other things you could be doing at this moment. So, what I would encourage you to do again, pray about it, and really start thinking through what action items do you desire to take.
Rohn Gibson (46:22):
And like I talked about earlier, what is the outcome that you're looking for? I think that's, define success. And I know that can be a little difficult in a scenario like this, on the really define success and then say, "Okay, what actions do we want to take to even get five people who have never been to our church to walk through the doors?" What are the things you need to do to get five new people to walk through the doors? And maybe a big part of that is just praying, very intentional about praying that God would move in the hearts of people, and even in your own congregation to reach people in their neighborhood. Or maybe it's one of these tactics we've mentioned today.
Rohn Gibson (46:57):
But also attend one of our upcoming episodes. We are going to be taking more of a deep dive into each of these five things and more. So, make sure you've got it on your calendar. Again, Thursdays 10:00 AM Central Time, we're going to be diving into this all leading up to that Christmas service. And we're going to be giving you a ton of resources along the way. So, you don't have to feel like you have to do it all on your own. I think what is about there is so powerful and that is that you're not alone. You have a community of people. And we're going to be sharing resources. If you have great resources that have maybe worked at your church in the past or ideas, put them in the comments, let's share and be a community for other people of what's working, and really truly do it together.
Rohn Gibson (47:49):
So, if you're not currently at ChurchSpring member, I know we have so many people that watch these episodes even months after the fact. So, if you're not currently at ChurchSpring member, and some of the things that we talked about today are like, "Yeah, I wish it was easy to do some of those things on my website." Join us for a demo churchspring.com/demo. Join myself, our co-founder as we walk through ChurchSpring literally, how to launch a church website, and then we'll walk you through many of those features of that. And then we have live chat support where you can ask questions during business hours, and we'll answer as many of those as we can during that time.
Rohn Gibson (48:24):
And then also, if you're, maybe you're like, "Hey, I just want to try it." Great. Well, we offer a seven day free trial. You can go sign up churchspring.com/trial. See if it's a good fit for you. It's one thing to get attended demo. It's another thing to actually sign up and see if it's a good fit. I know we had a comment either last week or the week before, "Don't sign up because if you sign up, you're going to stay." Which praise the Lord, that means we're adding value and it's a critical part of your ministry. So, we're just beyond blessed and thankful for the ministries that God's allowed us to partner with to reach people with the gospel. So, very excited about that.
Rohn Gibson (48:58):
We've got a new feature update here. We've been rolling them off. I'll tell you the team, Mike Harrison, all our entire team has just been working so hard to roll out new enhancements, new features, new resources. And we've got an exciting one here for you today. So, Isabelle, why don't you give us a walk through here.
Isabelle Faletti (49:23):
All right. Yeah. I'm so thankful for creative people such as Mike, our co-founder. He is incredibly creative and always looking at website best practices and how we can keep ChurchSpring websites up to date on new designs, on best practices. So, you can always be confident that your website is top of the line. And you don't have to pay for new website design. So, I'm really excited to introduce our latest new website design. I'm not as good as doing the drum roll like Rohn is.
Isabelle Faletti (50:05):
So, I'm just going to share my screen here and share with you all our new design called Esther. It is of course, one of my new favorite designs. It is a really, really stunning, more traditional and elegant design. So, you can see here that we do have the slider buttons to the left and the right. They are not as much of the focal point. So, the focal point really is the sliders, the background image. As you scroll down, you'll see that the mid bar service section right here, that is positioned a little differently in this design. So, it overlaps the top header image and the bottom section. So, it creates a really great flow and continuous look, so that visitors just want to keep scrolling down.
Isabelle Faletti (50:59):
Two of my favorite aspects of this new design that Mike, our co-founder he created, one of them is the event layout here. So, for the events block, we have a gorgeous circle for the date here. And that's also carried over in the main events page. So, I'll show you that in a couple of seconds.
Isabelle Faletti (51:24):
And then another key feature for this is the sermon section. So, on the sermons block layout, it's highlighting the latest sermon here to the left, and then it's listing a couple others and more of a subtle way. It doesn't have a slider with forward and back arrows. So, I think all of our other designs we do have the slider arrows for people to side through the sermons. And this is a cool new take on the sermons.
Isabelle Faletti (51:58):
So, I'll click through and show you what the sermon's page looks like. So again, you can see this mid bar on the design, how it's positioned, again a little differently with overlapping that top section. And then a gorgeous layout for the sermons.
Isabelle Faletti (52:19):
I'll take a look at the events page here, so you can see how that circle date is brought into this area also. So, I really like this events page. This I think is my favorite events page layout. With this little arrow just pointing to the title, it is stunning. So, go ahead and take a look at this new design. I will pop up the banner here. You can check it out at esther.churchspring.org.
Isabelle Faletti (52:52):
If you are a ChurchSpring member, you already have access to Esther. This design is already loaded in your website designs. So, to do that, you just log into your website, go to your settings. So, click on your settings, click the website tab, and you'll see all of the websites, the designs that you have access to. There's no cost to change. You can always change back if you don't like it. You can keep your current images that you have or you can choose to update it with some of the header images that we've uploaded in Esther.
Isabelle Faletti (53:32):
Every new website or every website design is optimized for mobile, for different screen sizes. So, no matter which screen size a visitor is looking at your website on, it will look stunning. So, go check out the new design Esther, just a really elegant design that I'm excited to see churches start using on their website. So, shout out to Mike for producing yet another beautiful design for our ChurchSpring members.
Rohn Gibson (54:03):
Yes. And again, like Isabelle said, as a member of ChurchSpring, you get access to all these new features. There's no more expense. If you're a member, you get access to all of those new designs. So, we are super excited about this design. If you do decide to use this, I know Sheila mentioned she loves the new design. So Mike, if you're listening in here, there you go, Sheila loves the work you're doing, and we do as well. So, thanks for that, Sheila greatly appreciate it.
Rohn Gibson (54:28):
If your church does end up moving to this design, come back and put it in the comments. We'd love to go check it out, see how you're utilizing it. That would be really cool to see that there as well. So, feel free to circle back around to this video on Facebook or even on our website and leave us a link. We'd love to check out how you're utilizing this design there for your local gathering.
Rohn Gibson (54:48):
So, let's see. Are there any other questions that have come in? I know we covered a lot of ground at a very high level today. It looks like we are good to go. We did have, tell me is the prayer tab. It's not the prayer tab this week. But I do agree, it's a pretty cool update. We're excited about the prayer tab update as well.
Rohn Gibson (55:10):
And I guess one question I'd have, and I think this is DJ, at Faith Alive Church we'd love to know what specific features are you most looking forward to in the prayer tab? Obviously there's a lot of things that can be done inside of a prayer tab. So, I'd love to know, and our team would love to know, what is the thing specifically regarding the prayer tab that you are most looking forward to utilizing there at your church? So, give us a shout out there, or others. I know DJ was the one who mentioned that, he was really looking forward to it. It seems like the prayer tab, we get a little shout out for that every single week [crosstalk 00:55:48]
Isabelle Faletti (55:48):
Rohn Gibson (55:49):
We want it to. We are excited as you are about what's to come there. There you go, Sheila, you got a, "Glad you like it," from our co-founder Mike. So, Mike, thanks for giving a quick shout out there.
Rohn Gibson (56:00):
So, we have got some exciting episodes coming up. And I know we say that every week because they are. Hopefully, we're delivering value and that's why we have... It's really cool to see a lot of the same names coming back and the new people sprinkled in.
Rohn Gibson (56:15):
So, we are super excited about some of the upcoming episodes. Again, next week, so join us next week, episode 17 Thursday, 10:00 AM, Central Time, where we're going to dive into how to optimize your website specifically to welcome new visitors. So, and we talked about that earlier on about the different audiences there for your church website. So, next week, we're specifically going to talk about how to optimize your website to welcome visitors this Christmas season. So, if you're not quite sure what to do there, definitely join us next week. We're going to answer a lot of those questions. Isabelle's promise to deliver some incredible content that we're going to make for free. So, we'll share that then. So if you needed an incentive to come, there you go. And we may even have a few other goodies for you as well.
Rohn Gibson (57:06):
So, tune in next week, ChurchSpring Live episode 17, and we're going to give you the top things that you can do to make your church website into a really a visitor generator for your local gathering. You absolutely do not want to miss that episode. So, if you're confused, maybe a little overwhelmed, you're not exactly sure, "What are the specific things I need to do? I want a little bit more detail." Well, join us next week. We are going to break that down for you and make it super easy for you to implement on your church website, regardless of whether you use ChurchSpring or not, we want your website to be effective. We want the gospel to be spread. So, regardless of whether you use ChurchSpring or not, it doesn't matter, come back and we're going to make those resources available to you.
Rohn Gibson (57:56):
So, any last questions we need to answer? Otherwise, my goodness, we're under an hour.
Isabelle Faletti (58:04):
That was our goal. Our goal was to keep it around an hour on this episode and we did it.
Rohn Gibson (58:10):
Yes, yes. And most importantly, we want to make sure that we're adding value. So, if you've you got one tip or tool or resource from this, that is a massive win for us, and is for you as well. I hope you feel that way as well.
Rohn Gibson (58:26):
So, we look forward to seeing you all next week again, episode 17. Well, we are going to dive in to very specific things that you can do, even starting next week, to start optimizing your church website for the Christmas season. So, until then, have blessed rest of your Thursday. And we cannot wait to engage and see you all next week. So, have a great rest of your day, everyone. And we will see you next week. Again, Thursday, 10:00 AM, Central Time. We'll see you then. Bye, bye.
Isabelle Faletti (58:55):
See you then.