Welcome to 2017, another year full of ambitions, outlooks and predictions. We here at The iChurch Method have quite a few things on our plates that we are looking forward to. We also are looking forward to implementing some key technologies for our clients in the church-tech / faith-mobility space.
The echurch Summit is a three-day, interactive conference focused on connecting leading growth and engagement experts of fast-growing churches with pastors, church leaders, and church staff. Attendees will learn about church growth and engagement through best practices in leadership, communications, and technology.
There are a variety of technologies that provide a multitude of ways we as church communicators can reach and grow our online audiences. Whether it’s social media, websites, podcasts, mobile apps, live streaming and much more, the tech we currently have available to us is astounding. But what makes this so much more fascinating is that in addition to the current technology, there are emerging technologies that are providing amazing ways for the church to reach and engage with more people in the digital mission field. Here are some of those technologies:
Location-based marketing technology
What is it? - Location based marketing technology or geofencing, is the ability to market to people based on their location. The messages that people receive are based on their location and/or proximity to a business.
Church Uses - Churches will be able to completely reach their audiences in new and real-time ways, thanks to the rise of RFIDs and iBeacons.
iBeacons are small, inexpensive transmitters that use Bluetooth low energy (BLE) technology to detect nearby devices that can be housed in specific locations. Once a user passes this location and message can be broadcast to their phone via a Mobile App or SMS Text. A great church example of this could be to have an iBeacon located near the bookstore and let people know about flash sales that are going on once they get near the bookstore.
A radio frequency identification (RFID) is a small electronic device that contains a chip and an antenna, providing a unique identifier for that tag. RFID wristbands, cards and apps enable church attendees to interact in new and engaging ways.
Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality
What is it? - The most basic answer is that it’s a three dimensional, computer generated setting or environment that can be explored by someone using the appropriate equipment.
Church Uses - Virtual/Augmented Reality technologies will inevitably have a huge impact on the way the church can engage people. With the ability to literally tell 360-degree, interactive, immersive stories, churches will be able to engage like never before. A great augmented reality example will be the way we can add digital components to the traditional church experience to tell better stories. Imagine if the youth pastor was telling a biblical story and as the kids watched it through the churches AR app, they were able to see disciples act out the story while the pastor was speaking.
The Internet of Things (IOT)
What is it? The IOT is the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment. Basically, anything that’s connected to the internet, but more than the traditional things we are used to like phones, tvs and computers. The IOT consists of things such as smart clothes, smart appliances, smart light bulbs, smart cars, smart glass, smart watches and so much more.
Church Uses - Wearable technology, appliance technology and the numerous things we interact with daily all give us an opportunity to connect with people and share a message of encouragement with them. Smart watches, smart appliances and smart mirrors for example, can be places that the church shares daily devotionals. Right now we think of sharing devotionals via email, SMS texts, websites or apps, but if we want to take the message to people no matter where they are at then we have to think about using all the things that will be internet connected in the future and use them to connect.
Overall, as we continue to develop our digital strategies to reach people online, do not be limited by what’s out there today, make sure to consider the new technologies that are growing in popularity and will position your church as a digital leader well into the future.
It’s that time again and I am looking forward to stepping back into my role as a spokesperson for AT&T’s Inspired Mobility campaign. Inspired Mobility has continued to grow and it has been quite a pleasure to watch it evolve from the announcement at Blogging While Brown in 2014 to what it is today. In 2014 I had a panel of church communicators which included myself, Tiffani Robinson and Chip Dizard. In 2015, I had a chat with grammy winning artist Lecrae about his use of technology and how he inspires and Rev Run was added to the campaign.
Let’s recap a bit for those who may not be familiar with what has occurred, AT&T began the Inspired Mobility conversation, by looking into the increasing acceptance of device use in houses of worship. Next, AT&T revealed how people of faith were using mobility to stay connected to what inspires them whether they attend a house of worship or not, which by the way, African Americans lead the way in these activities. In 2016, the dialogue moves forward to explore the many ways people are using their devices to enrich themselves and the lives of others no matter where they are.
This conversation will kick off in D.C. this year at the 2016 Blogging While Brown conference. Here are the details.
AT&T Inspired Mobility: Enabling good. Activating Everywhere
SESSION TIME: SATURDAY, JULY 16, 2016 AT 3:30PM
AT&T has teamed with faith and mobility expert Jason Caston to host a casual session to discuss how people are using mobility to inspire themselves, others and the masses. As an evolution of the #InspiredMobility conversation, we'll take a look at how mobile technology is enabling people to connect with positive content that can enrich lives. Ever been accused of "not being present," checking work e-mails or playing games on your device, when you were actually engaged in something more positive and enriching? AT&T invites conference attendees to join in this open discussion about how positive and inspirational interactions are happening more often than you think. This conversation is for everyone, so pick up your device for a change and join us.
Moderators: Jason Caston (iChurch Method) and L. Michelle Smith (AT&T)
Hope to see you there!!
I am looking forward to teaching The iChurch Method at the 2016 #FICWFM #Braveheart2K16 Conference. This conference will be in D.C. July 12 - 14, 2016 and I have the opportunity to teach on Thursday at 11:30am.
The thing that I am excited about with the FICWFM conference is that I have taught there before but this year there has been an increase in attendance, visibility and an audience that appears to be more receptive to the digital impact of ministry online. As we continue to see how the digital mission field is growing and how these digital platforms are creating new opportunities to grow ministries online and reach the world, I am always appreciative of another opportunity to teach The iChurch Method to church leaders.
Join me in DC and register today at http://www.ficwfm.org/convention.
The world has been changed forever by mobile technology, and one of the most common ways we see this play out is through the availability of video cameras on mobile devices. There are few events that go undocumented, whether it is video of a gathering, newsworthy event, or our everyday lives, video is a part of it.
As we continue to progress in 2016, let’s look at how to be more focused on growing our online platforms and increasing engagement with our online audiences. While there are no shortage of ways to do this, it seems that creating an online strategy is quite elusive for many organizations. One of the most important aspects of building an online presence for your organization is to develop a digital strategy, “before” you join any networks or start communicating online.
One of the most significant accomplishments in my life was moving from Chicago to Los Angeles in 2007. Once I landed on the west coast, a series of events would start to unfold that would change my entire existence. In April 2007, I accepted my first position working with a megachurch. My job title was Web Developer, but my job description was to fix all things online the ministry did.
There are numerous stories and people behind iconic images and moments in African-American history. To tell the story of all of them would take a lifetime but for the next 28 days, AT&T has challenged all of us to investigate moments that matter in Black History. In addition to Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and other names we hear referenced often during February, we should look into the stories that are not often mentioned and learn how vast African-American history is and the many people that have played a significant part in shaping our history.
When my children were younger I would give them iPads to hold their attention while I had to tend to other things. This early introduction helped them become comfortable with technology at an early age. Many of us have all seen toddlers who have been given an iPad or smart phone and watched them “click and swipe” to their favorite apps or watch their favorite netflix cartoon.
There is a huge difference between an app and a website, and companies of all size need to consider whether theirs is a "one or the other" or "both" situation. While it is a given that any business has to have some accessibility for mobile devices of the Android or Apple varieties, many are unaware of which choice is the best. To help you make the right call about your company's needs, let's take a moment to compare a mobile website versus mobile apps.
You don't need to take our word for it, just look at any of the latest reports, studies or articles about the future of marketing and you see one word over and over again - video. However, along with that word you tend to see another - YouTube. Content is king, to be sure, but a YouTube video does double or triple duty as it can boost your SEO results, help you appear at the top of any SERPs, and be used for almost any purpose.
Inspired Mobility – Exploring the Relationship Between Mobile Technology and Faith...Do you use any faith-based, inspirational or worship-related mobile apps? Have you ever donated to your church through a text service or application? Have you enjoyed watching a live streaming sermon on your phone, laptop, or tablet? More and more people are answering “Yes” to these and other questions about mobile technology and faith practices, but others are still hesitant.
Working with AT&T has been a great experience and it continues on Friday, October 23, 2015 at 12pm CST. AT&T Inspired Mobility will host a live chat with social media guru, James Andrews, and author, producer, DeVon Franklin. Join us next Friday as we discuss social media for social good. I look forward to seeing you all there, RSVP at the link below.