by Greg Curtis: The quarantine has made it easier than ever to access good teaching about Jesus and the life his death and resurrection makes possible. It has not made it easier however to connect with others to experience that life everyday.
Or has it?
Sherpas-leaders at your church are the ones who help guests reach the summit of a full connection with God and others. How much more are they needed when the guests are climbing the “cyberssimilayas?”
Here are some things we learned about connecting people during the quarantine that we never anticipated. I chatted about these for a half hour on facebook live last week (watch that here) and he is a brief summary of that chat.
Four lessons learned after the 3rd weekend of doing church exclusively online:
Decide on an online gift for guests that has value for them
Our guests leads online are staying between 25 and 40 per weekend. Though much lower than when we physically gathered, we are getting traction by offering a free 5 minute daily video from Gene Appel (our Senior Pastor) to start their day. It’s informal and from his home while he is under quarantine as well. It is important to make sure the video is offered to guests after they experience Gene and know him enough to want to hear from him more.
Determine your new way of recording attendance.
The number of devices logged-in during services has replaced the number of people on campus for our weekly attendance number.
The trouble is there are multiple people watching your service from one device, sometimes just one. Andy Stanley and others have data to support that your real worship attendance in this new world is the number of devices logged-in times 1.7.
Another discovery was that our average time a device was logged-on our website was 22 minutes but only 2 minutes through facebook (no clue why. If you have a clue, let us know in the comments at the bottom). So we subtract facebook attendance from the total altogether.
So our equation for weekend attendance now looks like this:
All Devices times 1.7 minus Facebook =total weekend attendance
Drop your most important ask in the sermon.
If the average attender is staying 22 minutes, odds are they are logging-in late and leaving early. That means that if you make your announcements before or at the the beginning or your service or at the end, they will not be heard.
So pick your most important “Ask” and have your Lead Pastor share it at the beginning or appropriate part of his message.
Develop an engagement pathway not an engagement pitstop for guests online.
When we went online, we fell back into the “engagement pitstop” plan most churches invite their guests into when they gather physically. Pitstops are places you stop to take care of an issue but that’s it. They are one-offs that lead no where else and it is easy to offer announcements that lead to dead ends, offering no clear next steps at the end.
An “engagement pathway” is where you take all your asks of guests that lead to pitstops and begin asking them one at a time in the order that respects the current trust level your guest has with your church.
Not sure what to ask of a guest when? During the Facebook Live, I used this illustration/exercise:
In a dating relationship, what order would you put these asks in?
Saying I love you
Meeting the parents
Spending a day together
Asking them out out a date
Asking for their phone number
Think about it. Mentally put a number next to each bullet point that would put these asks in a reasonable order given where the relationship is at.
You probably noticed that I simply placed these asks in reverse order of what a normal dating relationship would experience.
So if I flip them back in the correct order, you can more easily see the equivalent ask you would initiate in your online relationship with a guest:
Asking for their phone number=Asking for their email at your digital One Place to receive a welcome gift)
Asking them out for a date =Inviting them to your One Program for connecting guests
Spending a day together=Being with them online for all the sessions of your One Program
Meeting the parents=Discussing service with a ministry team leader or attending an online small group for the first time
Saying I love you=Committing themselves to Two Placements on a ministry team and on a small group for the long haul
This creates your engagement pathway, each stop ends with an ask to the next one. Can you also see why asking something too early in the relationship with a guest might result in disengagement?
Engagement, not your Content, will get a guest to return to your church online.
So I also suggested another online engagement idea that is getting traction at Canyon Ridge Church in Las Vegas. It involves inviting guests at the end of a service into 15 minute group chats at the end of the service. I would suggest they wrap around the 3 questions they are asking themselves during the quarantine:
How can I manage my money different during the quarantine?
How can I parent differently during the quarantine?
How can I help someone else in need during this quarantine?
Each chat group could be organized by an expert in your church or on your staff in each area. They could follow a similar format:
Financial Management during Quarantine:
Introduce yourself and set up of Financial Peace University Online
Show the promo video for FPU
Q & A
Share link for sign up. (plan to launch small groups out of the experience)
Parenting during the Quarantine:
Introduce yourself and set up of Online Groups for students
Show the promo video for your online groups for teens (see ours here)
Q & A
Share link for sign up.
How to Help Others during Quarantine
Introduce yourself and set up of Idea of local compassion
Show the promo video for your local compassion efforts (see ours here)
Q & A
Point out how to sign up.
I am very excited to share some things we learned about incorporating text into guest engagement online, the dos and donts of that, and how we ended up with more decisions to follow Jesus than I can ever remember when we met physically. Join me live at Facebook.com/gregcurtis63 8am PST Tuesday April 14.
To hear more about how to increase guest engagement online during this season, let me know here: