Do We Really Need to Keep (or Start) Doing Digital Ministry? – Episode 262 | The Unstuck Church Podcast

do churches need to start or keep doing digital ministry

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Answering your frequently asked questions

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We can’t blame Covid for the questions we’re facing today regarding digital ministry strategies—that train left the station decades ago. Most of us just tried to ignore it for as long as we could and, even now, many of us are still trying to avoid it…

However, after a few years of trial and error, we have noticed a recent resurgence in the amount of large churches coming back around to address the topic of digital ministry once again. They’re asking us questions like: How do we measure online engagement effectively? Is digital a reach strategy or a discipleship strategy? Or does digital ministry even still matter?

DOES DIGITAL MINISTRY STILL MATTER?

In this episode, we invited Tiffany Deluccia, Director of Sales and Marketing for The Unstuck Group (you may remember her from one of our most downloaded episodes on clarifying digital engagement), to answer the question: Do churches really need to keep doing (or start doing) digital ministry? Listen in as we discuss:

  • Does EVERY church need a digital ministry strategy?
  • How to define the who, what, where, and when of digital ministry
  • Creating an effective digital ministry REACH strategy
  • What churches should do about VR, TikTok, Google Ads, and more
Bad digital strategies are like bad billboards: really effective at destroying your credibility with people in your community. [episode 262] #unstuckchurch Click To Tweet Everything you put out online should have a purpose: helping the people you are trying to reach take the steps you are trying to help them take. [episode 262] #unstuckchurch Click To Tweet Strategy does not exist in a vacuum—it responds to objectives. It’s only after you define exactly what you’re trying to do that you can decide what digital (and non-digital) strategies will help meet that objective. [episode 262] #unstuckchurch Click To Tweet
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Transcript

Sean (00:02):

Welcome to The Unstuck Church Podcast, where each week we are exploring what it means to be an unstuck church. On last week’s podcast, Tony and Amy kicked off our “Ask Us Anything” series, where we’re spending four weeks answering your most frequently asked questions. In this week’s installment, our team tackles the pressing question of whether churches really need to have a focus on digital ministry. Before you listen, though, make sure you stop and subscribe to get the show notes in your email. When you do, you’re gonna get tools to go along with each week’s conversation, all of the resources we mention and access to our archive of podcast resources from past episodes. You can sign up by going to theunstuckgroup.com/podcast. Now, before we get into this week’s episode, here’s a word from Tony.

Tony (00:50):

We’ve talked a lot about focus strategies that are actionable and measurable, but what if the only thing stopping you is time. Think of tasks you never seem to catch up on, maybe it’s sermon preparation, volunteer coordination, or supporting new members. What if delegating those could save you an average of 15 hours per week? Belay, a modern staffing organization with US based virtual assistance, accounting, social media and website services, has helped busy church leaders do just that for more than a decade. And today, Belay has a VIP offer exclusively for Unstuck Church podcast listeners. To claim this offer, just text unstuck, that’s U-N-S-T-U-C-K to 55123. And get back to growing your church with Belay.

Amy (01:50):

Well, hello to all of our listeners. So glad that you’re joining us today. We’re back for part two of our “Ask Us Anything” series where you, our listeners, have been sending us questions that are on your mind right now. And last week we answered the question, is this the new normal for attendance and giving? It was a great conversation, but today we get to take on another big question, which is, Do we really need to keep doing, I guess, or start doing digital ministry? Tony?

Tony (02:21):

I don’t even know where to go from there, Amy, but you’re right. This is definitely a most asked question, even now. For those of you whose churches truly made a shift during the pandemic to create a digital ministry strategy and staffed it during the early part of the pandemic, you can just skip this week’s episode. No, I’m only kidding. You still need to listen and, you do need to listen because joining us today for this conversation is Tiffany Deluccia, and Tiffany, while her main job title is Sales and Marketing Director for The Unstuck Group, but she is also our digital strategist, and probably a big part of the reason why you found your way to this podcast and this content. Because Tiffany, through the years, has been helping us shape what we do through with the podcast. In fact, we had Tiffany on this podcast back in May 2020 to talk about clarifying digital engagement. That’s episode 144. You probably want to go back and listen to that too. And we have her here with us again today to help us answer the questions people are asking today about digital ministry strategy.

Tiffany (03:31):

Yep. I’m happy to be here. We took a good long break from talking about digital. I think we were burned out on it. And based on all of the surveys I’ve been reading about how pastors are doing right now, I think they were burned out on talking about digital strategy too. So, I am glad to hear that they’re asking this question again, though.

Tony (03:50):

Yeah, well, we can’t blame COVID for questions we’re facing today regarding digital ministry strategies. I mean, that train has left the station decades ago. Most of us just tried to ignore it for as long as we could. And now many of us are still trying to avoid the conversation around digital ministry strategy, but we should give a caveat right here at the front of the conversation to say, we’re getting this question much more often from larger churches and really that’s appropriate. And here’s a good analogy for why. Many years ago, back when I was living in my hometown, we had this local neighborhood grocery store. In fact, that’s an overstatement. It was just kind of a convenience store. And it was called Nolan’s, and Nolan’s did absolutely no marketing because they were just designed for their neighborhood. And everybody who used it, it was just word of mouth. You just knew where Nolan’s was if you lived in the neighborhood. We also had a community grocery store and it was called Grissom’s Super Value. And Grissom’s, they did a little bit more advertising because they were trying to be a grocery store for the community. So they would put ads in the newspaper, just the local newspaper, and local advertising on the radio. But then nowadays I have all kinds of friends, including Amy’s husband, Jason, they do their shopping at Costco. He’s probably there right now. Costco, as you know, they’re trying to become a regional grocery store, and they’re doing all kinds of advertising beyond just the region, online, apps, because they also foresee themselves being a national, if not a global, grocery store. And I share that analogy because I think churches are similar. We have some neighborhood churches. I don’t know that they necessarily need to be concerned about digital strategy, because the people they’re trying to reach are right in their local neighborhood. There are, though, churches that are trying to reach a community or trying to reach a region. And for your churches, you really need to pay attention to this conversation. This is, this is really not a conversation that you can avoid any longer. So that’s why we brought Tiffany back. I think, again, it’s one of the reasons why larger churches are asking the question. So I’m looking forward to today’s conversation with that in mind.

Amy (06:26):

Yeah. And you know what I think, Tony, you pointed them to episode 144. I think they all listened to it, because I think it might still be the top listened to podcast in our library. So we just needed to spike our engagement again, so we brought her back to see if that what would happen?

Tiffany (06:43):

Oh, yes.

Amy (06:45):

So Tiffany, let’s start with a big question. Do large churches really need to keep going with digital strategy?

Tiffany (06:51):

The short answer is yes, absolutely. The more nuanced answer is yes, but only if you commit to understanding why and getting better. I think bad digital strategies can be like bad billboards. Really effective at destroying your credibility with people in your community. I’ll give an example here in town. I live in South Carolina. I won’t say the name of this person, cause there’s no reason to be mean, but this we’ll call him Bill Brown. This real estate agent moved into town here in Greenville, and he put up billboards, I mean, everywhere there was a billboard, he purchased them. And they had the most cheesy, obnoxious ads. They had his face all over them. It was just like everybody in town was talking about “Who is this guy?” And how obnoxious his billboards were. And it happened so fast. He came in and he just blitzed. So everybody knows his name and pretty much all of us would say he’s the last person we would ever hire when we need to sell our house or buy a house. So I think sometimes bad digital can be like that. And a lot of churches in the pandemic they got on Instagram or Facebook, either for the first time or they really ramped up what they were doing for the first time. And they blitzed their community with a lot of things that destroyed their credibility and that’s what we want to avoid at all costs. So even though the answer is yes, we’ve gotta get better. So that’s my first thought in answering that question. Second is I think we need to be honest about where we are today. The last couple years, everybody tried. Few tried strategically or really staffed appropriately. And it was taxing, and it was ineffective. Amy used analogy all the time of writing with the wrong hand. You can do it, but it’s not gonna be very good, and it’s going to wear you out. You’re gonna be slow. I think from just the churches that are even asking this question, what we’re really hearing under the surface is they’re really ready to throw in the towel and move on and just say that was something we had to do, but we don’t have to do it anymore. On the flip side, I think there’s an easy way out when people try to turn it into a theological argument. I hear things like we don’t believe people should spend so much time on social media, so we’re not gonna be on social media. Or we don’t do online because we believe ministry happens in person. And I think we have to be honest. You’re not gonna influence how much time people spend on social media by just not being there. You’re not going to influence how likely they are to come to in person gatherings by taking that position. So it’s really relinquishing our opportunity for influence and as much, I don’t know, it seems harsh, but I think it’s a cop out. And the bottom line is that it’s about our mission field. So if there’s a pastor out there who can tell me honestly that the people he or she is trying to reach in their community, in the place where God’s placed your church, do not use smartphones or iPads or social media or Google, then they can completely ignore this topic.

Amy (09:47):

You and Tony are two peas in a pod.

Tony (09:51):

Yes, that’s right. Yeah. So, for the church that tried and rode that up and down wave of feeling like digital ministries were worth their time and then weren’t and then got burned out. What do they do now, Tiffany?

Tiffany (10:08):

I think now is a really good time to go back to the basics, and anyone who’s read anything I’ve published for The Unstuck Group before probably knows where this is going, but a good strategist always starts with moving the starting point towards clear and simple. I think if you can imagine creating a folder in your mind right now for everything you felt forced to do during COVID or cajoled into by a Gen Z worship pastor on your team, even the things you heard from us that you tried to execute on your own and felt like it failed, just clear that desktop in your brain, dump everything into a folder called pandemic, and let’s start fresh. And ultimately I think that digital ministry strategy can’t be an addition to your real ministry methods. You’ve gotta dig all the way down to the foundation of your ministry and start answering these key questions. I used to work at a marketing communications firm, and anytime we signed on with a new client, we start with these basic questions. You can’t develop any kind of communications plan, strategy, it doesn’t matter what the methods are, if you don’t answer these questions first. So who are you trying to reach? How are you reaching them now? What’s already working for you? Like what’s driving growth where you’re seeing it? If you’re losing people, why are they leaving? What are they choosing instead? Who is your competition? And that’s not other churches. How is culture attempting to meet the needs that only God and the local church can truly meet? How are you perceived in your community? And is the perception true? Or do you need to change it? What are your goals for trying a new strategy? How will you know you’re winning? And who does what on your team? And those sound really big picture, not related necessarily to digital strategies specifically, but it’s because they are. I was thinking about how to communicate this again when I was preparing for the podcast, and this is what stuck out to me. Strategy doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It responds to objectives. And I think that’s where a lot of the missteps I saw and I’m still seeing in digital strategy with churches seems to be. It’s like, we’re just putting things out there. They’re not responding to specific objectives. And if there’s an objective, it’s probably this one. Let’s say all you’re trying to do as a church is to get people to come back on Sundays. I sure hope that’s not all you’re trying to do, but if it were, how could you use digital strategy to help meet that objective? Just putting the full service online every week is probably the last thing I would try if that were my only objective. And that seems to be the baseline for what people are doing right now. So if you know what you’re trying to do, then you can decide what digital strategies, and non-digital ones can help solve problems and meet an objective. But if you don’t know what you’re trying to do, I mean, I would pause all proactive digital strategies and get clear on that first. Otherwise you’re in that camp of you could be harming your message. You could be counterproductive to what you’re trying to do with digital if you’re not careful. Everything you put online should have a purpose, and that’s helping the people you’re trying to reach take the steps you’re trying to help them take.

Tony (13:08):

Let me just jump in, Tiffany. I think that’s so wise. You’re encouraging churches to ask those key questions and develop strategies, but even more importantly, once the strategies are developed and implemented, just asking the question is what we’re doing actually working and that’s been a bit of a concern that I’ve had through the years related to both reach and spiritual formation strategies in churches. I think more so for the reach strategies, because it would not be uncommon for me to ask a church, you know, what is your reach strategy? And they might rattle off, well, we’re doing things in the community. We’re encouraging people to invest and invite. We’re intentional about weekend services. We’re engaging digital strategy. But then I ask the question, are you actually seeing new people coming to the church? And many times they don’t know the answer to that, or they don’t know if there are new people that are engaging. And so I love the fact that you’re kind of going back to the foundation of, let’s ask those key questions that we should be processing as a ministry. Let’s design the strategy, but let’s also be honest whether or not the strategy is actually working.

Amy (14:23):

Yeah, Tony, that was a great segue because I think we talk a lot about the need for churches who want to have healthy growth to have both a reach strategy and a discipleship strategy or spiritual formation. Tiffany, can you unpack where digital strategy fits into that conversation, on both the reach and the discipleship side?

Tiffany (14:41):

Sure. Yeah, we should think of it as a tool in the toolbox for both, but if you have to prioritize one over the other, prioritize reach. I think discipleship happens best in the context of relationships, and chances are you already have mechanisms for developing relationships and discipling people. Most churches do. So it’s not that you couldn’t use digital to improve those or to continue to, you know, better and get better in discipleship. I just think it’s the other side where we’ve got the biggest upside. So I was thinking of a few tips for how you can, if you’re focused on reach, how you can use digital strategies to reach new people. And baseline, first things first, you’ve gotta pick an audience, and name the personas. Get really specific. It’s like we talk all the time about churches having a strategy. It’s not that you’re saying we’re not gonna reach anybody else, but, especially in digital, if you haven’t identified who you’re speaking to, you’re just going to vomit all over everybody with something that’s not really helpful. So you need to get really specific. And then once you’ve got that audience in mind, who you’re creating digital content for, then start asking, okay, what are the right strategies to reach those people?

Amy (16:00):

Hey, so, Tiffany, I was just reading the other day. They said, think about who you want to be in the seats of your church and then do things that will reach them. I know it’s a different way of just saying what you said, but that persona, and you said get specific. I mean, Tony, we often talk about what’s that age range you’re going for, you know, 10 year range, 15 year range. What are their names? What do they do? Where do they hang out? How many kids do they have? What are their names? Like going deep on that one, I think, helps whoever’s thinking of the digital strategies, then, really get to know that person. So pastors, you know, look at your congregation this weekend. Maybe who’s missing? Where could we target our digital reach strategy?

Tiffany (16:45):

I love that question about who’s missing. It seems like people have approached this as all right, we need to be on Facebook or Instagram. We need to be wherever. And so we need to have something for every member of our church on each of those platforms. And I think that’s a miss. I think instead if you focus on, okay, maybe we’re missing young families, then you’d start saying, okay, so where are the parents in young families spending time online? How do we reach those people specifically? It doesn’t mean you need to have a strategy for everybody, especially if you don’t have this team, you know start. You can start really small. Like it’s really okay to start really small and pick digital strategies that will reach those specific people. So then you’re, you’re picking the right channel, and you’re picking the right kinds of content that will help you reach those people. The third thing I would say is think local. It seems like early in the pandemic, do you guys remember this? Early in the pandemic everybody was telling us about, wow, we’ve got people watching our online service from 45 countries. And it seemed like the win was look at all the places where we’re reaching people now. And I think people tend to downplay or miss the fact that especially social media is very effective at helping you discover who is right around you, to build connections right around you. And if you forget that, then you start designing content just for eyeballs. And as a local church, God put you where you are on purpose. You already have a built in community right where you are. I think that social media in particular is such a great place to show how your church is for your community and to celebrate and be part of the community online. Even the way the algorithms work can work in your favor in this particular area. Like if you think about when you’re on Instagram and you get those little buttons that’s telling you here’s some recommendations for you. It tends to draw on the connections you already have. So if your church follows several, maybe you’ve got several nonprofits that you work with locally that you serve the community through. The more you engage with those people, the more it’s going to serve up more people like that nearby that you can be engaging with. So I think that that’s an area where churches could really take social and go very local. Fourth, know what you’re trying to accomplish. This is kinda what we said earlier, but your win doesn’t have to be any other church’s win, and that’s 100% okay. This is kind of a silly example, but I’m a gardener. A lot of my friends like gardening and are really interested in that, but they were intimidated to get started. So I had a few friends that said, would you just start sharing what you’re learning on Instagram? And so I started this little gardening Instagram. My goal for it was 100% to find other people where I live who are interested in gardening and just build relationships and connections. No other objective. That’s what I’m trying to do. So for me, it doesn’t really matter how many followers I get. What matters is how many people have I built a new connection with that we can share this love and this passion around gardening? I think taking that same sort of approach: churches need to be less concerned about what’s the overall count of people who are following us. What’s the overall, you know, number of likes we get on such and such set? Some objectives you can say very clearly we met the objective or we didn’t. So maybe it’s, you know, how many new people did we connect with on social media that then we were able to find out later they attended a service or that they joined a group? Or maybe it’s we wanna be for our community, how many new connections can we form with people who are serving our community well in an area of passion and mission for our church? I guess my point is that you don’t have to just take the default wins that the social media platforms give you, especially things like vanity metrics, like likes and follows. You can set a different objective and use the tools to accomplish it.

Amy (20:48):

That’s so good.

Tiffany (20:49):

Okay. Number five. Don’t put insider messages in outsider spaces. This is my biggest pet peeve when I look at what churches are doing on social media and on their websites. I think you’ve gotta filter everything you’re doing through the lens of your mission field, especially if you’re trying to use digital for reach.

Amy (21:08):

What’s an example of an insider message?

Tiffany (21:10):

It’s I think this comes down to language a lot. So I’ll see churches talking about how they are going to win everybody in their community for Jesus or their mission is to reach the lost and save them. And they’re putting that out there in front of the people they consider lost in need of saving or the people, you know, so it’s about language. If you filter everything you’re posting through, would I say this to a person that I’m trying to reach and lead towards…And they’re just not, I mean, even a lot of the content during the pandemic that was very focused on here’s your daily devotion or here’s all of our prayer requests, you know, and were putting all of that out in public spaces. I think you just need to define what are our insider spaces and what are our outsider spaces? And then be really intentional about staying in those lanes. So an example might be your Facebook page versus your Facebook group. One is out there for the people you’re trying to reach, written for them. One is insiders. This is the community. This is the family. It’s the family conversation versus the stranger conversation. You’ve gotta filter everything that you’re posting online through that lens. And this is an area where, like I was saying earlier, you can really damage your credibility with just a single post. You know, one post that goes viral can damage your credibility irreparably with the people that you’re trying to reach. Another example, it doesn’t have to be social. Email is a great way. Have your insider content in your email channels. Have your outsider content on your website, and even your website. I think it was Katie Allred in an interview that we did last year, who said she was shocked by how many churches don’t have anything about Jesus on their website?

Amy (23:02):

Yes. Yes, that was her.

Tiffany (23:03):

What a miss, you know? I think that most church websites I come across, and I look at a lot of them on a weekly basis. Everything about them are written for the new person or the person who just moved to town who’s already in your denomination. If you went to the website, that’s who I would say the audience for this website is, and that’s a very simple area to improve.

Tony (23:25):

Yeah. Tiffany, I’m actually more surprised by the churches that don’t have their address, like their street address, on their website, which is a clear indication they’re not expecting anybody new to show up to the church. I mean, it happens. We run into several churches that I have no idea how to get to their church because there’s no address on the website to find where the church is actually located.

Amy (23:49):

Yeah. I remember that conversation, Tiffany. Katie said, there’s always like statements of our belief, but there’s not a place to go to actually discover who Jesus is.

Tiffany (24:00):

Or positioning that says it’s okay to ask us questions. You know, it’s not written in a way that says we wanna talk to you about this, that we’re open to what you wanna ask us about this. Yeah. Related to that, I’d say my next thought is that you can equip your insiders to share the outsider content. And I think this is a great way to monitor and evaluate how you’re doing with your outsider content. So if you are creating stuff that you think maybe it’s video, maybe it’s a YouTube series. I saw one church did this YouTube series over the last few months on deconstruction. And it was a conversational format. The quality of it was really good. The content was all for people who were still inside the church and hadn’t hit a point where they were like walking away yet. And I thought, okay, so the positioning of the whole thing was that it was for people really wrestling with deconstruction, but the content itself was for people who weren’t wrestling that hard yet, you know? People who were still inside the fold. I think that you can monitor how you’re doing with the effectiveness of what you put out by how well your people share it. So if you think we’ve got some great content, some great videos, or some great blog posts or whatever format you’re doing. This is really designed to reach that persona in our community. And then we’re gonna equip our people to share it, and they don’t? I think that that’s a pretty good indication that the content’s not actually gonna resonate with the people that they know or the people in their lives. That’s a good way to evaluate. Two more. Have one person on your team who oversees the alignment of your digital strategy to your ministry strategy across all ministry areas. So I think that you’ve got to have one person that keeps all your leaders on the same page about the digital strategies you’ve decided on—how they’re gonna be used and how you’ll measure wins. Otherwise you’ll have the kids ministry doing one thing, and the student ministry doing another thing, and the women’s ministry. And you’ll have people using email here, and there’ll be three different Facebook pages. And if the goal is that digital is just a tool in the toolbox for your overall ministry strategy, somebody’s gotta own alignment amongst everything your church is putting out online. So that’s a pretty simple shift, I think, for churches to make is just to have somebody who’s owning the overarching strategy that everything else runs through. And then last. This is just the reality of what this is. You have to try, evaluate, double down or abandon and repeat. I mean, everything is testing. Everything is we think this is gonna work. Let’s put it out there. It worked, or it didn’t work. If it works, let’s do it again. If it didn’t work, let’s not, let’s move on. And so you have to have a high tolerance for both failure and for testing new ideas. One example from us internally. We’ve been doing Unstuck Webinars for years. They continue to be effective. We see lots of new people discover us through webinars. We see lots of people take next steps because of webinars. We get great feedback. We get great engagement. We’ve been doing it a long time. It’s still working. We’re gonna keep doing them. They’re free. People ask us for the replay. We just, we see all these metrics of this is serving our audience really well. We tried master classes for a while. Not saying we won’t ever do one again, but we put a lot of time and investment into them. Sometimes they seemed like people were engaged. Sometimes it seemed like people weren’t. So we put a pause on that for the moment. I think this is just an area where you have to be willing to say we tried it. It worked. Or we tried it. It worked pretty well, but we could get better and just keep trying and repeating and evaluating.

Amy (27:59):

In these cases when you’re measuring the right things, you can fail forward, right?

Tiffany (28:03):

Yes.

Amy (28:03):

You’ve learned from that experience. And it’s gonna just get you more targeted and more clear on the next things you should try.

Tiffany (28:10):

Absolutely.

Tony (28:11):

And Tiffany, just to let you know, I am not following your gardening Instagram.

Tiffany (28:16):

That’s really okay. It’s not for you. Amy is because Amy’s a gardener.

Tony (28:23):

Okay. All right. Well, all of that, very, very helpful. I love how you just bring that practical wisdom around what can be a fairly complicated topic. And with that, though, I’d like to kind of finish up today with maybe a little bit of a rapid fire of digital ministry related questions. Are you up for that?

Tiffany (28:42):

Sure.

Tony (28:44):

All right. Well, this should be fun. Here’s the first one. What about VR? Some of the largest churches are experimenting with virtual church services and gatherings. What are your thoughts on that?

Tiffany (28:54):

To quote a New York times article I read recently. It’s still pretty unclear whether VR has anywhere near the mass market appeal that social media does. I know some of the most innovative churches are pioneering VR church experiences, but it’s not where I’d spend my time if I were on a church staff. I’d focus on reaching the vast majority of people in your community who are spending the vast majority of their time online in other places for the time being

Tony (29:19):

All right. That’s good to know, because I don’t wanna wear. I just think the VR things look dorky. So I’m not, I don’t know if I’m ready to do that yet.

Tiffany (29:27):

From a return on investment standpoint, I know that a lot of churches that are trying this are much, much larger and have very large budgets, and they’ve got the team in place to pioneer. But for the vast majority of churches, I don’t think it’s gonna be a good return on your time.

Amy (29:41):

Tiffany, what about TikTok?

Tiffany (29:45):

I’d say don’t do it unless you’re gonna let young adults who use TikTok regularly drive. There’s a lot. Just.

Tony (29:53):

I think I’m off the hook then.

Tiffany (29:58):

It could go so wrong. Yeah, if you’ve got young adults in your church who wanna help, then I think that you can explore it, but otherwise it could get bad. PS, there’s a lot of weird pseudoscience, conspiracy mysticism, build your own religion, alternative spiritual guide stuff on TikTok. And it’s actually super popular content. It’s probably because Gen Z seems to be less trustful of institutions. But in general, I don’t know that it’s a space to have a church branded TikTok, but with some creativity, there is opportunity to cut through the clutter with the hope of the gospel. But it’s probably going to have to be with a personality from your staff who is developing credibility in that space.

Tony (30:46):

It’s interesting too, with Gen Z, I know TikTok is popular, but actually YouTube, I think, is the most popular social platform for Gen Z. Am I right about that?

Tiffany (30:55):

It is. I actually read an article from HubSpot last week that said TikTok is, I’m trying to remember exactly how they wrote it. They had done some pretty extensive research and found that TikTok was the most popular with Gen Z, but they actually spent more time on Instagram and YouTube.

Tony (31:15):

Okay.

Tiffany (31:15):

Which I found interesting.

Tony (31:15):

Yeah. So, how about Facebook pages and groups? What are your thoughts on that?

Tiffany (31:21):

This is up for debate. I’ve been a part of some really bustling Facebook groups. And I’ve been in some where it feels like nothing happens. The the fact remains that if you post content to a Facebook page, it almost never gets seen unless you’re advertising. But if Facebook makes sense for the audience you’re trying to reach, so for the age range for the personality, the people you’re trying to reach, I think I would still suggest groups for insiders. And what you post on your page be more outsider focused content. I just in general probably wouldn’t rely on either to be an effective way to reach new people.

Tony (31:56):

Yeah. And so as specifically for multi-site too, I think it would make sense for each location, each campus, to have a group, but only one page for the church as a whole. Do you agree with that?

Tiffany (32:10):

Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. We get that question a fair amount from multisite churches saying, should we have different Facebook pages for different campuses? I think you should have one page that’s a lot easier to keep on target to keep focused on outsiders, to keep the content right. But you could have a group for each campus.That’s the family group, you know, that’s the insider group.

Amy (32:31):

Hey one last one, Tiffany, you mentioned advertising. What about Google ads and digital advertising?

Tiffany (32:37):

Don’t do it unless you can measure ROI in terms of actual next steps you want people to take. And you can, but you’re gonna waste money if you’re just putting ads out there, and you don’t have the mechanisms in place to say this turned into people joining our email list or people visiting our church for the first time. So you can. You can do it, but make sure that you’ve taken the time to evaluate how we’re gonna measure that this worked or it didn’t work.

Amy (33:03):

Well, Tony, any final thoughts you wanna cover before we wrap up today’s conversation?

Tony (33:08):

Yeah. You know, I’m listening to this conversation again. So practical, so helpful, Tiffany. So thanks for joining us. However to me, it just, it takes me back, and I’ve used this analogy several times as we’ve talked about digital ministry strategy. We would never consider building a building without first thinking about the ministry that’s going to happen within that building. And we would actually design the building with the strategy first as the priority. And likewise, I just see, and you alluded to it a moment ago, Tiffany, a lot of churches they’re trying to get on platforms. They’re trying to get in spaces online, and I don’t think they’re thinking about the strategy first. And so it goes back to those key questions that Tiffany mentioned a little bit ago. We need to get back to who are we trying to reach? How are we trying to connect people to church and faith? How are we trying to help believers take their next steps towards Jesus? And then we can begin to design an effective digital strategy to help us accomplish that mission. So, that’s my final thought today, Amy. I just think we need to be thinking more holistically about the mission we’re on, the ministry strategies we’re trying to engage, and then we can find the people that are gifted in digital ministry to come alongside us to help us accomplish that mission. But if you wanna learn more about how we help churches design their digital ministry strategies, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at theunstuckgroup.com, and we would love to help you take your next steps, not only related to your overall mission, but specifically around what you’re trying to do online to reach people for Jesus.

Sean (34:51):

Well, thanks for joining us on this week’s podcast. As we mentioned at the top of the podcast, our friends at Belay have a VIP offer exclusively for Unstuck Church Podcast listeners. Belay’s modern staffing solutions have helped busy church leaders delegate important details for over a decade. Their US-based contractors provide virtual assistance, accounting, social media and website services to level up your church through the power of delegation. To claim your VIP offer, just text unstuck that’s U-N-S-T-U-C-K to 55123, that’s 55123. And get back to growing your church with Belay. Next week, we’re back with another brand new episode. Until then, have a great week.

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Founder and Lead Strategist of The Unstuck Group. Started in 2009, The Unstuck Group has served 500 churches throughout the United States and several countries around the world. Previously, Tony served on the senior leadership teams of three rapidly growing churches including NewSpring Church in South Carolina. He has five published books including, The Unstuck Church, and, with Amy Anderson, he hosts The Unstuck Church Podcast which has thousands of listeners each month.

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