What could we create online that would reach people outside the faith and the church?
In April of 2020, when we were having conversations around re-imagining our first pandemic Easter, Tony mentioned something that still stands true:
“It’s still a great time to connect with people outside the church and outside the faith, but our messaging will need to be more intentional—a lot simpler and a lot more compassionate to the needs of people around us. And we’ve got to put the emphasis on building connection, not so much on great production.”
Quick note: this post will be focusing on your online Christmas experience. And if you think that you don’t need to have one because things are “back to normal” and people would “rather come in person,” I want to warn you that the data says differently.
In fact, a recent survey from Qualtrics found that “only 41% of Americans feel comfortable attending religious services.”
It’s our job as church leaders to make the good news accessible to everyone. So with that in mind, there are 2 key questions that need to be asked as you’re planning your Christmas services:
1. “What could we create online that would reach people outside the faith and the church?”
Start there. Because if we don’t, we’ll do what we’ve always done—which is to put our best energies into designing an in-person experience—and then use our leftover energy to figure out how to put that experience online.
When we do that, we’re making the in-person experience the primary venue we’re designing around. In actuality, the primary venue for the people we’re trying to reach needs to be online.
Give your best energy to designing an online experience first.
So—brainstorm with your team—what online Christmas experience could you create that would reach people outside the faith and outside the church? Who are you trying to reach (age/demographics/interests)? What kind of messaging would work well for engaging them? What online platforms should you use?It might not feel like it, but this Christmas is still a great time to expand your church’s “front door” and reach new people with the message and hope that Jesus brings. Click To Tweet What could we create online that would reach people outside the faith and the church? Click To Tweet
2. “What online Christmas experience could we design that our attendees would love to share with their family and friends?”
People like to share remarkable things. How can we make the Christmas experience remarkable?People like to share remarkable things. What online Christmas experience could we design that our attendees would love to share with their family and friends? Click To Tweet
What’s remarkable you ask? You can see what people consider remarkable pretty quickly with a “Christmas” search on youtube. What has the most views? What videos are people engagement with or commenting the most on? What do you see your friends sharing online? If it’s remarkable it will cause people to “remark” about it.
We have an opportunity this year to equip our attendees to bring church to their family instead of bringing their family to church.We have an opportunity this year to equip our attendees to bring church to their family instead of bringing their family to church. Click To Tweet
When Amy and I were talking about reimagining Christmas services last year on the podcast, we each imagined our own Christmas gatherings and how easy it would be to watch the online experience in the flow of our Christmas gathering—before the meal, after the meal, after presents, or whenever.
But if you are expecting your attendees to do that, they need to know that it is an experience that will be relevant for their family and friends who are not connected to the Church. It needs to be an experience that is welcoming, interesting, and a message that is applicable.