In November I was able to spend a week with key leaders in ten countries for some strategy and encouragement. Â Part of my job is to network with leaders. Â Another key piece is to resource those leaders. Â Over the past two years, the vision for how a denomination is connected has been evolving. Â We’ve changed most communication strategies and wineskins to something new. Â Part of my job in Europe was to share with the missionaries some of these new tools. Â I also presented to the European leaders on some innovative ways they can be intentional about being connected. Â Here are a few of the highlights:
You Must Have a Web Presence
Many of our churches either don’t have a presence on the Web or it was built and not nurtured. Â I gave them some statistics on how many people are Online in Europe and broke it down into countries. Â After making the case, I offered them resources to build simple WordPress sites with a strategic partnership I formed with Sharefaith. Â Depending on what country they are in and what type of community they serve, a Web site can be a powerful tool.
Connect to Social
The second step is to connect the information for your church to social networks. Â With 800 million people on Facebook and 300 million on Twitter, we can leverage these simple and free tools to bring to bear for the local church. Â There was some great conversation on how to best use Facebook. Â The second step beyond having a Web presence and social networks is to use the networks to push to the Web site. Â Old models assume people will come to a Web site through a Google Search. Â In church planting or non-profits, it’s word-of-mouth. Â The most powerful word-of-mouth Online today is Facebook. Â Social drives traffic. Â Engage on social. Â Push to Web.
There is no “one size fits all” approach to connecting with a community. Â I presented an open-ended strategy for the leadership and encouraged them to ask questions before they implement. Â If we simply build without asking what people need, we run the risk of being irrelevant. Â Listening is one of the most important things we can do in building a strategy.
The big picture for the sessions was to incite leaders to develop a strategy for the work in their country and encourage them that it doesn’t take a lot of money to accomplish this. Â With the right kind of listening, thinking, and simple strategy, any church can increase reach and develop deeper community by some simple steps.