Here are some of my notes from the Using Social Media in Missions seminar. They are slide specific. I’m almost tempted to type out my entire presentation. You can download and look at the pdf of the slides by clicking here. The videos that were included have been taken out and replaced with placeholder images of the videos in the pdf. Links to the videos are below.
The context of the seminar is Christian, but there are principles that can be drawn from it for other organizations.
Hope this is beneficial. If you have any questions or feedback, just let me know. Thanks.
Slide 2 – When I first became a missionary, I started using email to interact with supporters. Fellow missionaries, especially the veterans, found this odd and didn’t understand why I wasn’t mailing my newsletters. It was a money saving for me, it was quicker, and it allowed for back-and-forth communication with my supporters. Friendships were developed. Soon, I was giving a seminar at the missions organization on how to use email in your work. (And now email is dying!)
Slide 3 – Social media is ever-changing. You have to be able to adapt on the fly which makes it unpredictable and/or unnerving to users and potential users.
Slide 6 – What does that even mean?
Slide 7 – (video) Social Media In Plain English
Slide 8 – What we’ve seen at Christ Community Church (CCC) is the best way to get response from people, through mass communications, is social media. Not mailings and not emails.
Slide 10 – People had been hesitant to get on social media in recent years, but now almost everyone is on in some capacity. Why? They want to stay in contact with friends and family.
Slide 14 – Christianity population number comprised by people claiming Catholicism, Mainline and Evangelical denominations.
Slide 16 – “Halo Effect” meaning people answer questions in a way that reflects better on them.
Slide 17 – Church shouldn’t be about numbers, right?
Slide 18 – Christians have been commanded to go into the world and share about Jesus. We are also to go into the world and love, help and serve people.
Slide 19 – U.S. church attendance in 1990 was 20.4%, in 2007 it was 17.0%.
Slide 21 – One tool they can use is social media. Why?
Slide 24 – Leveraged the surrounding environment and free resources to his advantage. Spoke in natural amphitheaters or by the water’s edge where the environment would amplify his words. What can we leverage today around us that’s free and available to amplify our words? Facebook, Twitter, blogs, podcasts and more.
Slide 25 – Jesus used stories to draw people into his message. Often, we people hear you are a Christian, or work at a church, their defenses go up. It’s understandable since a lot of people have been hurt by Christians and the church. We can use stories, though, to connect with people. One example of how I’ve done this is through short films and videos I’ve co-produced. The pieces tell stories that draw people in.
Slide 26 – (video) 5 Minutes After… Not only do these pieces draw people in, but the quality of them reflect well on us. The response to pieces like these is always good.
Slide 27 – You could call the Apostle Paul the first church blogger, which a number of other people have done. He wrote from anywhere, even jail, and his words (letters) were taken to people all over the area. Soon, the world. We can do this today. We can update people no matter where we are, drawing them into our ministry. I try and do this all the time.
Slide 28 – Blog entry from my last trip to China. Some of my initial experiences from early on in the trip where I’m encountering people who live on the streets. It connects with people, and they want to read more. People are praying for me, China and the people I’m interacting with every day. When I came back, I met people I didn’t know who told me they were reading my posts from China. Also, when you write while there, it has greater impact than when returning and sending out information to people.
Slide 29 – Another blog entry from China. Telling stories about conversations I’m having with college students about God and pop culture.
Slide 30 – Blogging from China, or other locations, can be difficult. In China, I had to use a web-based application to mask my web address so I could access my blog. However, you can text message in updates to your blog, Facebook and Twitter. This is something I did, in China, from time to time that provided a quick snapshot to people of what was going on.
Slide 31 – You can also post pictures when abroad. People always like looking at pics. While I can’t post pics of people I’m meeting with, I’d post pics of the city and various locations. Here’s a pic of me at Beijing’s Olympic Stadium.
Slide 32 – This is a pic of me doing a video chat with my family while I’m in China. We can now broadcast video anywhere in the world. It’s another way to draw people in and communicate to people the work you’re doing at that moment.
Slide 33 – When interacting with people who weren’t Christians, he wasn’t always quoting scripture. Non-Christians don’t necessarily respect scripture. When Paul was at the Areopagus, in Acts 16, he didn’t quote scripture but did quote two Greek poets in his effort to reason people “to” the scriptures.
Slide 34 – This is a wrap-up post I wrote to a recent conference I attended called Big Omaha. Big Omaha is a gathering of 500 creatives, entrepreneurs and techs. I enjoyed the conference a lot and wrote a number of posts about it. In this post, I pull out points and themes from the conference and share how I apply to my life and ministry work. One of the things that happens is people want to talk more about this post and how it relates to ministry and Christianity. It also shows that some Christians are interested in the latest conversations on some of the trending issues in the world.
Slide 35 – Social media is one way we can bridge the communication gap today. We can communicate directly with people on a number of fronts. Also, we can make them aware of needs. I think this is one reason why there has been an increase in involvement in social justice and humanitarian efforts around the world. People are connecting with needs directly and wanting to help.
Slide 36 – This is a fundraiser a friend of mine did to raise $5000 for a clean water project in conjunction with the Big Omaha conference. Most of the promotion for it happened through social media. I got involved with it and wrote a blog post about the campaign. I tweeted about it and posted something on Facebook about it as well. $5000 came in for the clean water project before Big Omaha. And now almost $15000 has come in. Most of it is due to social media.
Slide 37 – His 95 Theses were a blog post, or a post in an online forum. This church was known for having disputations, scholastic arguments, posted on their doors. He posted his thoughts for everyone to see.
Slide 38 – He wasn’t handwriting his 95 Theses to get the word out. We sometimes need to acknowledge the old way of doing things isn’t the best way to do things in the present.
Slide 39 – He made sure the Bible was accessible to people. We need to make sure our message is understood when we talk to people. Not just in language, but the words we use. When we insulate ourselves in churches and Christian circles, we tend to use words only Christians use.
Slide 40 – R.R. Brown is the founder of CCC. He was initially reluctant to do radio, but kept at it once he realized the impact it had at the time. He was a visionary. He saw beyond what radio had been mainly used for up until then.
Slide 41 – Did R.R. Brown continue to do other ministry activities? Of course, but he focused in on radio because that’s where people were. There was a huge return on investment (ROI).
Slide 42 – Last year CCC started doing ads on Facebook. This is an example of one of our campaigns. Over two weeks we had 3.5 million impressions in the Omaha area. 1,200 people clicked on the ad. Because of the ROI we had, and since it was a fraction of the cost of advertising in newspapers (a declining medium), we dropped newspaper ads. We go to where the people are and they aren’t reading newspapers. Plus, we can interact better with people on a Facebook ad than a newspaper ad.
Slide 44 – Porn sites had been the #1 destination on the web.
Slide 46 – We can promote events, answer questions, host original content and have an interactive resource on a site where there are 400 million active users. 400,000 of those from the Omaha area. And, it’s free.
Slide 47 – Would R.R. Brown focus so much of his energy on radio ministry today? Probably not since radio’s market share isn’t what it use to be. He would use podcasts, mp3s and videos to get his message.
Slide 48 – This is a page on Vimeo with all of our Sunday messages. Free to anyone.
Slide 49 – This is the message podcast on iTunes. Free to anyone. We have five different podcasts on iTunes.
Slide 50 – YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world, so we post our original creative content there so people can come across it when searching for videos.
Slide 51 – The media page on the CCC website where message mp3s and videos are available to download for free.
Slide 53 – If someone misses a Sunday, or a radio broadcast, they can download the message audio/video at any time for free. If someone does a search, they can find CCC’s messages. For example, I’ve been emailing someone in Iraq about some issues they are going through. I can direct them to materials online they can download and listen to to help them out.
Slide 56 – We’ve shown how people are congregating through social media.
Slide 57 – His message was targeted. As a church, who are we reaching?
Slide 58 – He went to people in their environment and culture to engage them. He listened and adapted his message to the surroundings.
Slide 60 – Twitter is like a modern day marketplace. You can view culture, you can listen to people. You can also do searches for people in a particular city or zip code. I love Twitter. I’ve met new friends and made a ton of new contacts through the service. Despite the 140 character limit, I’ve had a ton of meaningful conversations through it. Then, when I meet individuals offline I already have an idea on them because I’ve heard them talk through Twitter. I’ve met all kinds of people. People that think they’d never step foot in a church or have been burned by Christians. I have an opportunity to be a positive reflection of Jesus to people who have a negative opinion of Christianity and/or Jesus.
Slide 61 – TweetDeck is an application that allows me to track specific Twitter people in columns. I’ve set up lists, and here are a few. My Omaha list tracks people with Omaha ties, obviously. I follow a lot of people in Omaha because I want to know what people are talking about it. If I’m called to an area, how can I make an effective impact if I don’t know what the people are interested in and talking about?
Slide 63 – A group is considered “reached” when 2% of population is evangelical and 5% is adherent. Still leaves many in people group to be reached.
Slide 64 – I get complaints from Christians I don’t talk about Jesus enough on my social media communications. Whatever. I’m not interested in reaching people who are already “reached”. I’m interested in reaching the “unreached”. Besides, if they want more Jesus talk they can start their own social media and do it. I want to talk about things I’m passionate about. That’s Jesus, but also the Huskers, pop culture, the show Lost and more.
Slide 66 – Just do it. I started everything on my own with social media. At work, I looked around and saw we needed to be in social media to remain viable. I started out on my own, but when leaders saw the return on using social media they encouraged me to incorporate it into my work more and more.
Slide 67 – There’s a line from the movie Wag the Dog that goes, “A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow”. This is true with social media. Post content and do it often. At first, you may not see a lot of followers, but if you keep at it you’ll see a jump in viewers after 6-9 months.
Slide 68 – As it’s said in Field Of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come”. If you create content, and don’t mind what other people think, you’ll reach people. All along as I’ve tried to leverage modern media in my work, from email as a missionary to social media at CCC, I’ve heard from numerous people that it was silly, wrong, a waste of time and more to use those media tools. Don’t mind people. Don’t mind the random person who thinks your post about some topic is stupid. There are a number of people who do like your posts, who do like your work. Believe in it.
Slide 69 – These are four basic principles I have with social media. Jason Fried, co-author of the bestseller Rework, talks about “focus on what doesn’t change”. This is key to know for your work. For example, to me it means to focus in on the Bible. Not focus in on things that change. like a particular social media tool. Email is dying, MySpace is irrelevant to many now. It’s why you need to be flexible on things that do change. Facebook could be irrelevant in five years. You need to be flexible and adapt to things that change.
Slide 70 – These are some good examples of organizations that do social media well.