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.
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.
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.
In The iChurch Method Vol. 3 book, we discussed Analytics and the importance of analyzing, optimizing, and repeating processes that will help advance your organization online. This is even more important when it comes to mobile because of the amount of information that can be measured in the mobile space. Google Analytics for Mobile provides two types of mobile opportunities for analytics. The first is mobile website analytics and how users navigate websites from their mobile devices. The second opportunity is mobile app analytics and how we interact with mobile apps.
Mobile Multi-MediaThe fastest growing platform for video consumption is mobile. Watching short-form videos, live streams, TV shows, and all kinds of digital video has increased ten-fold on mobile devices. With the widespread increase of Wi-Fi and faster mobile Internet speeds, we are seeing video creation and consumption explode. We have seen this first hand at The Potter’s House, where our weekly rebroadcast has increased 70% - 80% due to people now connecting and watching our services from their mobile devices. Additionally, our live streaming services are now split 50/50 with people watching from mobile and desktop devices. This trend is only going to increase because people want to connect with the ministry on their time from a convenient device. Staying connected on-the-go is beneficial to the online audience, and making the ministry content accessible to people on-the-go is beneficial to the ministry. Studies show that we are never more than 3 feet away from our mobile devices. Thus, we believe by bringing ministry content to mobile devices, we are taking church beyond the walls and to the people.
Another aspect of our digital multimedia strategy is our short-form media approach for our app and Social Media platforms. Since The Potter’s House has archived video that’s accessible on-demand like Netflix, we don’t mind keeping our weekly TV show to 30 minutes in length. Though we still distribute our 30-minute TV show via YouTube, Facebook, and our mobile app, we try to keep most of our smaller videos limited to the length of 2 minutes. We find that people like short videos that get right to the point and provide value to their lives in the short amount of time they are able to give us at any particular moment.
Video-capable social networks, such as Vine (6 seconds), Twitter (30 seconds), Instagram (15 seconds), Snapchat (10 seconds) and Facebook (20 minutes), have put limits on their videos, and this has led to increased viewing of these videos. But, let’s not count out YouTube’s unlimited video length and the BILLIONS of viewers their videos have. The overall point is that, no matter the length, videos have become the most engaging form of content and Mobile consumption will continue to increase.
To learn more about this topic and others get your copy of The iChurch Method Vol. 3 TODAY!
Mobile CommerceMobile Internet revenue will hit $700 billion annually in less than three years, according to the research firm, Digit-Capital. The keys to this explosive mobile growth are mobile donations, mobile shopping, mobile advertising, and in-app purchases. Mobile donations and mobile shopping are leading this growth with mobile shopping vastly outpacing all other categories. As we continue to thrive in the digital age, there are many people coming to church who don’t carry a checkbook. This new approach to managing finances has given the church an opportunity to embrace new, convenient ways to allow their members to support the ministry financially. One method that is growing quickly is giving via mobile devices.
Text-to-Give Since we carry our mobile devices with us everywhere, they are great ways to stay connected and support online giving. One of the important giving methods is Text-to-Give. One of the most important benefits of implementing a text-to-give program is the abundance of smart phones that people have nowadays. Received texts are opened 98% of the time. This is one of the most reliable communication methods available today.
Text-to-give is the process of using texting as a way to give a set amount to your church. Usually, the process begins with you texting a keyword (“Give,”) and an amount (“50”) to a short code such as “313131” (Give 50 to 313131). This allows the online text-to-give software to capture the cell phone number and dollar amount from your device and associate your device with a mobile giving account. Lastly, the software may send you a link to set up an online profile and store your credit card information for even faster SMS transactions in the future.
Additional benefits of a text-to-give program are the options that can be featured such as recurring automatic giving, advanced security, recorded giving history, email receipts, and more. How can you implement this? Well, a great provider for this is Securegive.com.
Mobile App Giving In Chapter 5, we will get more into the Mobile App aspect of The iChurch Method, but let’s look at the giving/eCommerce aspect of mobile apps. If your church or ministry has a mobile app, it’s a good option to have a donation tab or button. Once the donation button is tapped, a nice, mobile friendly donation form should appear, allowing people to easily donate in a few step. But, there is one caveat.
When you are doing any type of financial transaction inside an iOS (Apple) app, Apple will take 30% of the transaction! Android (Google) does not have this stipulation for their apps, but, unfortunately, Apple does. For financial transactions, the way to get around this restriction is to send people to a website outside of the app for them to complete the transaction there. Make sure to read the “Mobile” chapter to learn more about the mobile app options that will help take your organization to the next level.
Apple Pay / Google Wallet These built-in digital wallets are becoming the new way to conduct transactions. Whether it’s an Apple iPhone or a Google Android phone, you can store your credit card information in your digital wallet and simply wave your phone at a preset terminal to complete a transaction. Walgreens is a great example of this. They accept Apple Pay and Google Wallet. Churches can get terminals that are enabled with Google Wallet and Apple Pay capabilities for sales of after-service products and even donations.
To learn more about this topic and others get your copy of The iChurch Method Vol. 3 TODAY!
Just as important as “Visual Social Media” is the impact of “Mobile Social Media.” When Social Media first became popular, it was Myspace that ushered in this new “thing.” Myspace gave us custom URLs, and we were able to connect with numerous people on the platform. We even had the opportunity to highlight our top 8 friends and let everyone know who was at the top of our friends list. When Facebook came onto the scene, there wasn’t a mass migration to it until they implemented a feature that changed Social Media as we know it. They made the website mobile-compatible, and they released apps on all the major mobile platforms. This feature was something that Myspace couldn’t match, and the convenience of being able to communicate socially on-the-go became one of the major facets of Facebook’s early success and the demise of Myspace. Let’s not forget that Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion because of its large following and that it is a great, photo-based mobile platform. Twitter followed this same route, making sure their platform was mobile-focused. The 140-character messages, the main focus of Tweets, is based on text messages being 140 characters on mobile phones. Twitter wanted to make sure their messages would be delivered within a single text on mobile devices. Their mobile-first approach has led to their platform being one of the go-to sources for up-to-the-minute breaking news around the world.
Vine and their fully mobile six-second video platform, Snapchat and their mobile platform, YouTube’s mobile app, Pinterest’s mobile app, Tumblr’s mobile app, and Linkedin’s mobile app all show their understanding of how important mobile Social Media is and its unlimited potential for growth.
Mobile Social Media is growing significantly. Here are a few key mobile Social Media statistics:
- 2x more Sharing on mobile vs. desktop.
- 71% of people use Social Media from mobile devices.
- 76% of Twitter access is mobile.
- 50% of Tumblr content is accessed via mobile devices.
- 40% of YouTube Access is mobile.
- 68% of Facebook Access is mobile.
- Mobile devices will increasingly play an important role, considering more than 60% the population access Social Media content using them.
- Microvideo: This type of content will be on the same level as pictures and will become more and more popular.
- 94% of the marketing executives that have invested in mobile ads considered themselves satisfied with the results of using this tactic.
- This year, there has been an increase to 38% from 33% in the use of mobile marketing by the enterprises.
To learn more about this topic and others get your copy of The iChurch Method Vol. 3 TODAY!
I recently made a statement in a podcast that said, if the church didn’t stay up to date with technology, how quickly it’s changing, and understand its influence on society, the church might become irrelevant. The example I used was that we don’t see preachers preaching from stone tablets, scrolls, and parchments. They are using a copy of the Bible which was created using the technology of the printing press. Additionally, many of us have seen a toddler pick up an iPad or smartphone and instinctively know how to navigate/tap it and find their favorite app or game. We’ve also seen teenagers/young adults use texting, social media, photos, and videos from their mobile devices as easily as making calls. They are able to quickly and efficiently use multiple apps, platforms, and features of their devices and stay connected with their friends, celebrities, and anyone they deem important. Now consider that these devices are the oldest technology these people will see.
One of the responses I received was that the church will never become irrelevant because it’s God’s house and the Word of God will never be irrelevant. While I believe that God’s Word will never be irrelevant in the sense of it speaking to the state of the human soul and society, I was focusing less on the message and more on the method. The message will always be effective, revolutionary, and life-changing. However, if the method used to deliver the message is ineffective and outdated, how relevant can it be when the masses are not receiving it?
So the question was, “Why does technology permeate so many aspects of our lives but we go back in time when it comes to the church?
Technology is defined as the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment. Let’s look at two historical examples of technology currently being used by the church (Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/technology)
1. Chairs and Pews - Throughout most of the history of Christian worship, there were no pews or chairs. Not until the fourteenth century did seating gradually encroach upon the open space where the congregation stood and walked about during worship. In the late Middle Ages, the congregation sat down on the job and there was a drastic change in Christian worship—perhaps the most important in history. People, in effect, became custodians of individual spaces they occupied throughout the service. In other words, for the first fourteen centuries of Christianity, people stood throughout the worship service. (Source: http://thesecondeclectic.blogspot.com/2012/12/churches-without-chairs-how-christians.html)
2. The Printing Press - This technological advancement put the Bible in the hands of the masses. In 1455, the Gutenberg Bible was mass produced in Europe. Without the Bible, how would this have affected the impact of the church? One of the main informational resources and understanding of the Christian faith is the Bible, and the popularity of Christianity ties into how readily available the Bible is to everyone.
With these two technological implementations, the church transformed it’s worship experience and it’s distribution model. Today, with digital tools, we can touch all aspects of the church experience. In church, we have a variety of tools that can enhance the music, lighting, sermon, and other aspects to create an interactive, immersive worship experience. On the other hand, with websites, social media, mobile apps, internet tv, and internet church campuses, we have a variety of tools and platforms to reach people regardless of where they are and the device they use. We can connect with, engage, minister to, and change the lives of millions through something as small as an iPod. Therefore, with over 3 Billion people accessing the internet in 2015 and over 6 Billion mobile devices around the world, we have the largest digital mission field that is primed for the life-changing Gospel.
The question, now, is whether the church will use this technology to fulfill the Great Commission in taking the message to the uttermost parts of the world?
Over the last three years, The Potter’s House Church of Dallas has seen significant growth in a very nontraditional way. While most churches measure growth by attendance in the sanctuary, The Potter’s House saw a huge increase in their online presence. Going from a platform that reached thousands online to one that reaches millions was a strategic, focused effort and opened up new ministry opportunities for the church. With this type of growth, the one question that we are often asked is, how did you do it? Well, let’s look at one of the most important initial steps we took. Social Media, Internet Church, Internet TV, Mobile Apps and a myriad of other digital buzzwords are always thrown around when it comes to describing digital impact, but at The Potter’s House we started with our main platform, our ministry website. Our website was the most important online platform that we as a ministry had. Our internal research showed that up to 80% of our new visitors checked out our online properties first, more specifically our website. It was our largest welcome ministry, our largest information resources and the largest representation of the ministry. Our website spoke to people at times and in places no one else was speaking. The reason it was constantly speaking to people was that our website was made to be accessible, innovative, simple and practical.
One of the most innovative changes I have seen regarding websites in the last 10 years has been responsive design. Responsive design is a development style that creates websites that adapt to the device the user is on. Once the website is created, if a user is on a mobile phone, ipad or desktop computer, they are still able to use your website accordingly. This feature is very important because we are seeing many organizations design websites for desktop usage but people are increasingly viewing websites from mobile devices. Studies show that we are never more than 3 feet away from our mobile devices and we check them over 40 times a day, thus our mobile phones are the way we continually stay connected. As we checked our google analytics, we saw that our users we coming to our websites from their mobile devices more than traditional desktop computers and we had to make sure our websites could adapt to this shift in browsing behaviors. Additionally, we have created more engaging experiences online that mimic the social media experience. While people want to come to websites that are informative and educate people on what they were looking for, the customized engaging experience is one that allows people to stay on our site longer and helps us better understand what our online users are looking for in their online ministry experience.
We didn’t just want the external part of the website to be easy to use, we also wanted the internal (back-end) part to be easy to use as well. In order to complete this we moved all of our web platforms into content management systems (CMS). Wordpress is one of the best website content management systems available and with the numerous templates and add-ons, you can make some powerful websites that are innovative, responsive, engaging and impactful. But the best part with using a CMS is that multiple people can work on a website at the same time and make updates without being super technical. Content Management Systems provide the technical prowess for tech geeks like myself as well as the ease of use for nontechnical people like our admins who want to update a few words of text on the about-us page.
Overall, we find that the online experience and numerous platforms that we have created at our ministry are very effective in reaching people all around the world with the gospel. But we have realized that the most important digital platform that we have is our website and we want to make sure it represents the ministry with excellence and gives people the best experience online.
When considering the best way to take a message around the globe or take a message to the people, we have to consider mobile and how widespread mobile internet accessibility is globally. As mobile device adoption increases, we are seeing a great opportunity for ministries to reach people on their mobile devices. Here are some key statistics, there are currently 2 billion mobile devices being used in this year, 7x times the number of PCs. Additionally, 6 billion mobile devices are expected by 2016. The average person checks their phone 150x a day and 85% of the time spent on mobile devices is using an app. Texts are open 98% of the time and usually within 5 minutes of receiving and the average teenager/young adult sends over 3300 texts per month. Lastly, we are never more than 2 - 3 feet away from our mobile device, in other words, it’s alway within arms reach. With this type of device adoption, this shows how important mobile devices are in our lives. Thus, the question is how can Churches use the “mobile explosion” to their benefit? Well the answer is twofold, the first thing is that churches need to think mobile first when it comes to their digital strategies. When digital content is created for the ministry (social media, multimedia, web, online video, etc..) it needs to be understood that it will be consumed via a mobile device rather than a desktop. Secondly, the mobile experience needs to be easy, fast (as in fast loading) and productive (easy navigation and providing useful content).
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk strategies. There are three main areas that churches can focus on when looking to reach people via mobile, they are:
Mobile Website - How your website looks on a mobile device is very important because numerous people will be checking it out while on the go. More specifically, if someone is looking for your location or service times, while on their way to your church, they will need the website to provide that information quickly and effectively. A good way to resolve this issue is to make sure your regular (desktop) website is responsive. Responsive design is a programming technique that makes websites adapt to the device they are being viewed on, whether it’s a desktop, laptop or mobile device, the viewer has a great online experience and the information is fast, easy and useful.
Mobile Apps - Apps are the highlight of our mobile devices and on average we have at least 40 apps on our phones. From the bible app to follow along in scriptures to social media apps where we share our pastors words of encouragement, apps are the most interactive aspect of our mobile experience. Creating an app for your church has become something that any size ministry can accomplish with the help of great companies such as Roarapp.com and Churchapp.com. They normally charge an upfront fee (around $500) and a nominal monthly fee (around $50) to help you create an app for Apple iOS and Google Android devices. A good layout for an app is to have the same information that is available on your mobile site. When given a choice, the average user will open an app then use a mobile website 70% of the time.
SMS-Texting - When ministries are developing their mobile strategies, they initially think about a mobile apps or websites, unfortunately they very seldom consider the impact of texting. Yes, mobile websites and apps get the most media and are the hot button topics but when it comes down to getting results, texting is the best start to an effective mobile strategy. Text to give during natural disasters is what brought texting as a communication tool to the forefront for nonprofits and large organizations, therefore the church should utilize this revenue generating opportunity as well. Texting has the highest read percentage as well as the highest response percentage of any mobile communications. The main drawback of texting as a communication tool is the high opt-out rate it has because people don’t want to be spammed via texting so take heed to not abuse your texting strategy.
Finally, here is a parting thought to consider, when creating content for your church’s mobile strategy, video content is highly engaging and useful. Video sermons on YouTube, Vimeo and Apple Podcasts are consumed by the hundreds of thousands on mobile devices (this includes live streaming services). Also, Social Media is a great driver of the mobile movement and one of the main uses via mobile devices. Facebook is the number one app downloaded on all devices and 60% of all social media content is consumed from mobile devices. It’s time we look at the benefits of mobile and take the ministry to the people.
Instagram for Ministry An interesting transition is happening in the world of social media, Facebook is undoubtedly the king of the hill and Twitter is up there as well but the popular new kid on the block is Instagram and it’s here to stay. Instagram now has 300 Million users, over 20 billion photos shared, 1.6 billion likes daily and 60 million photos posted daily (instagram.com/press). With this type of impact it’s no wonder that Instagram is one of the best social media platforms we use for our ministry (our main ministry account is instagram.com/bishopjakes).
In order to be effective on Social Media you must have a strategy, and Instagram is no exception. Before we post a single graphic or video, we make sure we have an overall strategy for Instagram and an idea of what we consider success. Overall, our strategy for Instagram includes consistently posting photos/graphics and videos that are inspirational, informational and conversational. Now let’s break that down, first thing we make sure is that we have a consistent flow of content and posting between 2 - 5 times daily. Next, we want to post inspirational content that uplifts and inspires our audience, we also want to post informational content that keeps our audience updated on things going on with the ministry. Lastly, we want to make sure we keep our posts conversational by responding to comments and questions as often as possible.
Now that we have our strategy laid out, we have to actually create and post the content. Devotional memes are created using our graphic artists or apps like Tweegram, we basically take the daily devotional we post on Facebook or Twitter and add it to a meme and post on Instagram. When we have events we make sure we create flyers or posters that we post on social media, including Instagram. Normally, our flyers are 900x1500 and we make sure we have a 600x600 version created for Instagram. One of our most engaging posts are based on our sunday services where we take an action shot of our pastor and add a quote from his sermon to the photo and post it. Also, we take 15 second clips from his sermons and post those as well, which for some people is the only ministry they receive and we understand how powerful this platform can be. Lastly, one of the things that our audience loves most is the personal and family moments that are posted by our pastor, Bishop T.D. Jakes. Whether it’s a banana pudding he baked for his family or a hug he is sharing with his children, people love to see his transparent moments as a father, husband, family man and regular individual.
Overall, Instagram is yet another platform that our ministry uses to visually tell our story as a ministry. We have so many individual stories from our members, leaders, staff and volunteers that showcase how impactful this ministry is and how great the gospel can be. And the best part of it all is through all of the photos, videos, devotionals, quotes and everything we post, God gets the glory. Amen.
Jason Caston (@jasoncaston) is the author of The iChurch Method (ichurchmethod.com). Additionally, he is also the Digital Platform and Innovation specialist at T.D. Jakes Ministries.
What is a Mobile App? It’s a program that works on your mobile device and allows the user to perform some function. For example, I have one on my smartphone that turns it into a flashlight so I can see in the dark. Other apps allow you to keep track of your calories, your goals or your to-do list. Mobile apps can do just about anything and are so popular that they have become an industry all to themselves.
Mobile Apps Stats - There are over 800,000 apps in the Apple app store. - Google has just reached 800,000 apps and will soon overtake Apple. - Most people have 108 apps on average and spend 84 minutes a day using them. - Google Android has 56% of the mobile market, Apple iOS has 23%, Blackberry has 7%, Windows has 2% and the rest have 12%. - This year Apple is projected to have 30 billion downloads and Google is projected to have 15 billion downloads.
Why Should My Ministry Have a Mobile App? At first, your ministry will have a website. When users access your website through their mobile device, it will be a somewhat imperfect viewing experience. Later, when you upgrade to a mobile website, the user will have a great experience. But to take it to the next level, you will want to have a mobile app. For example, I have an ESPN app on my phone. When I want to check sports scores, I simply press the red colorful ESPN app button and up pops everything sports. If I didn’t have that app on my phone, I would have to find my web browser (Chrome, Safari or Internet Explorer) and physically type in the letters E-S-P-N. When the ESPN website displayed as a choice in my browser, I would select it and see all my sports information. If I turned off my browser or phone, I would lose the site and have to do it all over again. With the mobile app, all that is eliminated.
When I am asked which should my ministry have: a mobile website or a mobile app, the answer is both. However, if you can only afford one, a mobile website comes first because it can be accessed from any device. A mobile app however is built specific to each device and can be added later as your ministry and budget grows. But make no mistake about it, data shows that a mobile app connects your followers to your ministry in a way that is much closer than anything else. With one touch on their mobile device, they are instantly connected and engaged to your ministry. The mobile ministry apps that I have on my iPhone are the Saddleback Church app, Elevation app, Cottonwood app, Mars Hill app, iHop-KC app and Harvest Church app. Check them out.
A good mobile app should include but not be limited to: - Locations and Service Times. - Online Media. - - Live services. - - Archived Sermons or past TV shows. - - Podcasts. - Online Resources - - Daily Devotionals - - Online Bible - About Us. - - About the Pastor. - - About the church/ministry. - - Volunteering/working at the ministry. - - Mission/Vision statement. - Online Giving - Ways to Connect with the Ministry - - Social Media Pages - - Email - - Phone - - Text
After you have implemented a great social media strategy and have seen people respond and interact with you on your networks, it’s time to analyze your results, optimize your strategy and repeat. Many organizations don’t analyze their social media results; they take the approach of “just put it on Facebook or Twitter” and hope for the best. If your ministry takes the time to develop a social media strategy then it should take the time to measure the results. Analyze Your Results In order to effectively measure social media results you need to assess quite a few things such as: • How many people are seeing the posts, tweets? • How many people are sharing your posts, tweets? • What is the demographic of your online audience (age, sex, location)? • How many people are following your social media links back to your website? • How many people are clicking on the links that you are posting? • Who are your most important and influential followers? These stats are measured and calculated by quite a few online software programs that your ministry should utilize. SproutSocial.com or SimplyMeasured.com are social media analytics companies that take your Facebook and Twitter profiles and provide analytics on your social media strategies. Facebook insights is the analytics section on Facebook Fan Pages that provides demographic information on your pages’ fans. Hootsuite.com is a great software that we spoke of earlier that helps manage social media strategies by scheduling posts to a variety of networks and it also has analytics reporting features that can help your ministry measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. Finally, Google Analytics has a Social Reporting feature that reports traffic that comes to your website from Social Media networks. This feature is called Google Social Media Analytics and it is very important in measuring the impact of your social media campaigns.
Optimize Your Strategy Looking at your social media analytics and comparing the data of what you posted, when you posted, how often you posted and which networks yielded which responses, we can now look at ways to optimize our results. First, you want to see which times people responded to your posts. On average this is between the hours of 7am – 11am and 6pm – 11pm. Next, you want to see which days garner the highest response, and more often than not this is Saturdays and Tuesdays. Additionally, as you optimize your strategy you want to continue to create and distribute visual content to your networks. Continue to find ways to create innovative and inspiring photos and videos that will engage your audience as well as compel them to share. If they are not sharing, liking, retweeting or commenting enough to your content, then add more calls to actions in your posts. Finally, utilize your hashtags on Twitter, Google+ and Instragram. Hashtags can help you create, get involved and control conversations that occur about your ministry as well as give you numerous opportunities to reach people where they are at and conduct ministry.
Repeat When you know better, you do better and knowledge is power! With that being stated, now that you have analyzed your results and optimized your strategy, it’s time to repeat. Repeat the process of posting to your social media networks at the optimized times with the optimized content to achieve optimized results.
Welcome to 2015, The iChurch Method is taking some great steps this year to helping organizations advance online and we have some great things in store. Here’s a preview of whats coming real soon.
1. The iChurch Method Vol. 3: Digital Missionary Field - April 6, 2015 is the release date of the latest volume in The iChurch Method series. This book will continue to focus on the five main areas of the iChurch method, web, multimedia, ecommerce, social and mobile, as well as take things to another level with topics such as internet church, internet tv, mobile apps, responsive design and much more.
2. Social Connections: Connect With and Engage Your Audience - April 6, 2015 is the release date of the first book in the new Digital Connections series by Jason Caston. This social media manual will help any organization connect with and engage their social media audience.
3. Mobile Connections: Reaching an Always Connected Audience - August 10, 2015 is the release date of the second book in the new Digital Connections series by Jason Caston. This mobile manual will help organization understand how mobile is changing the internet and we are always connected via our mobile devices.
4. Speaking - Here are Key Speaking dates - ichurchmethod.com/calendar *dates are subject to change HIM Conference - Honolulu, HI - March 20, 2015 - himonline.org CLA Conference - Dallas, TX - April 14, 2015 - christianleadershipalliance.org/outcomes-conference Pastors and Leadership Conference - Orlando, FL - April 30, 2015 - pastorsandleaders.org Biola Digital - Biola University - June 3, 2015 - events.biola.edu/bioladigital/ MegaFest - Dallas, TX - August 20, 2015 - mega-fest.com Group eConnect - Loveland, CO - Nov 4, 2015 - group.com/econnect
5. iChurch TV - with new book releases come new episodes for iChurch TV such as internet tv, internet church campuses, social media strategies, best networks to use and much more. YouTube.com/ichurchmethod
6. AT&T Inspired Mobility - As I continue to be the spokesperson for the AT&T #InspiredMobility Campaign, I will continue to speak on how we use mobile devices to enhance our personal and spiritual lives as well as teach how The iChurch Method can help organizations connect with growing online audiences. Look forward to events coming soon. http://inspiredmobility.com
Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We at The iChurch Method are always looking for better ways to help organizations advance online and your encouragement helps motivate us to continue to develop innovative ways to fulfill those tasks.
Continuing my interview on the state of the church and technology, I gave the following insight on my thoughts on the church and technology.
The church as a whole, I’d say maybe there are about 5% of churches that really have a good grasp of technology. They have the resources to actually utilize a lot of the new things that are going on out there, but 95% of the churches I see out here just don’t have the resources. They know what they want to do but they don’t have the resources and expertise to actually implement it. They might have a volunteer come in and do the website; someone that really has a good heart but just doesn’t have the knowhow to make it look as effective as it could be. Or they may hire somebody that doesn’t have the integrity that the people in the church have. If they don’t have that integrity then they might just basically take them for their money and not give them a high-quality website.
So, in seeing those types of situations, I started to realize what they needed was someone they could trust and someone that also has the expertise to allow them to take advantage of the technology that we have out here because it changes rapidly.
[Question: How are people receiving the ichurch method strategy] It’s being received with resounding success. I think that once the light bulb goes on and people understand and realize that the method that I’m producing and the way that I’m presenting it to them is bringing down the technological barrier and helping them actually be able to utilize technology on a level that they understand, then they realize that they can use this to actually help advance their ministry online and not be intimidated by technology.
Continuing The iChurch Method TV series, here's the transcript from the video above.
The lines are being blurred between offline and online. If you look at something like Facebook or FourSquare, they have features where when your online friends are near you in the offline world, they’ll alert you. So, if I’m downtown and one of my Facebook friends is near me, my phone alerts me. That’s blurring the line because you’re basically saying this online friend is near you offline, and that’s where social media is going to go. It’s going to continually just become where it’s a part of your life and a utility of your life where no matter what you’re doing offline, it somehow has an impact online, and what you do offline is going to impact your life offline.
I have a mobile strategy that I explain to them and I basically lay it out to them. I say, “Now we’re going to talk about mobile here and we’re going to look at what we need to do next with mobile.” Of course the initial question is, “Should I do a mobile site or a mobile app?” I let them know first let’s do a mobile website because it’s accessible from a variety of mobile devices. That way you’re reaching all the mobile devices and then let’s talk about doing a mobile app because that’s for specific devices; if you have an app for your Apple iPhone, or your Google Android phone, or your Window’s phone. Apps are more specific but websites are more encompassing.
That type of stuff is what is going to become more common where churches are going to need apps because people just seem to connect more with a mobile app as opposed to a mobile website. Now, they’ll use a mobile website, but they’ll look forward to a more in-depth connection with that mobile app
For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of “The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online.” or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School.
Innovation is defined as a new method, idea, service or product that creates value. Most often innovation is initially misunderstood, seen as impossible, implausible, unaffordable and unattainable. Roger's innovation curve has 16% of people as innovators (2.5%) and early adopters (13.5%) of new ideas, while the other 84% are the early majority (34%), late majority (34%) and Laggards (16%). This example shows that there are always a small few that see things coming over the horizon and get on board as others still take the wait/hope/resist-change approach. But as time progresses, what were once innovative ideas become the norm and it's time to start the innovative process again. for early adopters, then the early majority Now let's look at innovation in the church environment and how we innovate 4 Jesus. Preaching from iPads is sometimes seen as a huge innovation but it's the same as advancement preaching from bibles instead of scrolls. Watching streaming services online is very innovative and initially we did that from our desktops and laptops but now watching services on the go, anytime, anywhere from anyplace via our mobile devices is indeed a great example of innovatively taking the ministry to the people.
But the real questions are what's coming next in terms of innovation for ministry and how can churches take advantage, well I'm glad you asked. Join Justin Blaney, Nils Smith, Rich Birch and myself via Google Hangout as we discuss Innovation in ministry and how the church will advance in the digital age. We will talk about Internet Church Campuses, Mobile Apps, Online Streaming, Google Glass, Virtual Reality, Internet TV and so much more.
Tune in Tuesday, September 2 at 1pm CST (11amPST/ 12pmMST/ 2pmEST) via Google Hangout at http://www.i4j.org/tech
Continuing The iChurch Method TV series, here's the transcript from the video above where I am talking about Real Time ministry and the impact of Digital Ministry, positive and negative.
Let’s look at the positives first. What I stated before was social media; the Facebook page was one of three or four ministries that I’m aware of that has over a million fans. That’s a lot of people that you can reach via social media and minister to. We see maybe we’ll put out a daily devotional or some snippet from the sermon or something like that, you see real-time ministry. You see somebody watching a clip of a sermon or reading that daily devotional and you see them saying, “That helped me today. That transformed my life. That impacted me.” So, with those types of results you really get a chance to see ministry going on around the world in real time, and nothing can top that. That’s amazing.
Likewise, with the internet church, when we do conferences or if there are sermons going on over the weekend then we have chat modules that might be next to these online video players and we’re seeing people chatting and ministering to each other or our online ministers are ministering to them. So we see all that stuff happening in real-time.
Obviously if people are online they’re chatting more and they’re speaking more so you’re hearing more than you may hear if you’re in an actual sanctuary. They’re not worried about who’s watching and stuff like that because usually they’re in the comfort of their own home or on their mobile device or something and they’re saying how they really feel about what’s happening.
Now let’s look at the downfalls. Social media gives our pastor a voice, it gives our leadership a voice, but it gives everybody a voice. I’ve seen people who may disagree with the pastor or disagree with the ministry, disagree with the theological approach or just disagree because it’s Tuesday. Those people are able to voice their opinions and some of the things that they say—words are very powerful—and the way that they slander the ministry or slander the pastor or just slander other people who are trying to better themselves or just get ministry for themselves, you just see how hurtful it can be. It takes you back to your school days; if a child hears some encouragement, it really impacts them. If they hear discouragement, that really impacts them too. We see that in the online environment via digital media and social media especially.
For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of “The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online.” or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School.
If you go to a mega church, you will likely observe a sprawling sea of buildings. You will also find a huge variety of places to go and things to do. There might be a women’s conference in one building. A group of men will be having a Bible study in another. There may also be a live service in the chapel. Some churches even have bookstores where you can buy the latest Christian books and movies. The fact is, this large physical campus gives you many choices to pursue your faith.
So, what is the Internet Church Campus? It’s the same thing as the campus described above except for one difference: it’s all online. The official definition of an Internet church is as follows: a multimedia-driven church experience that is entirely online. An online user can attend a Bible study, donate, attend live services, watch past services, attend a conference, buy the pastor’s book and do just about everything you can do in a physical church except the laying of hands. And it’s all driven by video, audio, images, chat and documents.
Here’s how far we have come. In the good ole days, you went to church Sunday mornings and then possibly to Bible study or another service on Wednesday evenings. Now, instead of you going to church, the Internet Church Campus brings the church to you. And the church doors are open 24/7 365 wherever you are because your mobile device, tablet or computer allows you to attend. That’s pretty exciting!
Chat Live One option for your Internet Church Campus is the ability to chat live with your friends. If you were in church, you could lean over and chat to your neighbor about the service or message. With Chatroll.com, the Internet Church Campus can duplicate that. Some users really love that feature especially if they are watching the same program but from different locations.
Groups and Communities Another great feature of Internet Church Campuses is online groups. Online groups are small groups that meet online to discuss Bible lessons, minister to each other and give the online group a sense of community, very similar to the home-based groups that are in some of the largest mega churches in the United States. Online groups use common group features provided by Facebook Groups or Google+ Communities. These social network group/community features allow a set number of people to interact online, share information and documents and form an online community all within Facebook or Google+.
For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of "The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online." or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School.