13 Dec 3 Tips to Win at Digital Media Ministry this Christmas
The big Christmas questions for church staff are:
Who is coming to your church this Christmas? Why are they there? What do they expect? And what can you do to help them encounter God and learn to love God’s church?
The answers are:
- 91% of Americans celebrate Christmas, including 62% who follow other religions and 55% who are atheists
- 69% think Christmas should include a visit to church.
- 47% actually attend church during Christmas week up from 19% in ordinary time.
- In England, and probably in the US, church attendance at Christmas is increasing.
- About half or more of occasional churchgoers hold to orthodox views of Christmas-related Bible stories.
- 94% said their motivation for attending church at Christmas was the music while 75% wanted to be reminded of the Christmas story. (Stats from Lifeway’s research cited at church marketing sucks and from the Evangelical Alliance.)
What does that data tell us?
A lot of people attend church at Christmas. Many of them don’t regularly participate in a community of faith. They like traditional Christmas stories and music, and many are familiar with the Christian doctrines celebrated at Christmas. Their tribe is increasing. Their commitment to the local church is not.
What can you do to help them encounter God and learn to love God’s church?
Digital media ministry can have a big impact on your church’s ministry at Christmas. Besides live-streaming the major Christmas services, you can help create great content, promote your internet ministry effectively, and capture crystal-clear audio and visuals that clearly and powerfully convey your message to Christmastime churchgoers.
- Create great content. Everything you live stream doesn’t have to be a major event. Try live streaming and then archiving an interview with the pastor on surviving your family during the holidays. Or what about sharing your faith with loved ones around the holiday dinner table? A special edition on handling awkward family moments could prove especially popular before Christmas Dinner. You could also broadcast a musical performance. Just remember to stay on the right side of copyright law. Or try a New Year’s Eve best-of-the-year montage hosted by the pastor or another church leader. Whatever you decide, make sure your content is engaging, informative, and valuable to the hearer.
- Promote your internet ministry effectively. Email drip campaigns are one of the most effective digital marketing tools available. Are you using them to announce your Christmas live stream? It’s easy. Use a program like MailChimp or ContactPigeon to schedule a series of emails for automated release every few days. Start with a big announcement that lets your viewers know about your holiday live stream’s content. Be sure to mention the day and time (not forgetting the time zone since you may have viewers from across the country or around the world). Your next emails can include free newsletters, a channel trailer, or a video teaser. Release your last 2-3 emails in the 48 hours preceding the event. These can include live streams or videos of a behind-the-scenes look at prep for the upcoming event, interviews with major participants, or even a clever commercial. Be sure to add a link to the stream in each of these emails. Don’t forget the post-event email saying either “thank you for joining us” or “sorry we missed you at our holiday event.” It’s a great way to bridge the live stream and your usual programming.
- Capture crystal-clear audio and visuals. If you plan to stream a concert, holiday drama, or candlelight service, modify your lights, staging, audio, and captioning process. Do the lighting technicians at your venue have amazing plans for the holidays? Make sure those plans consider the folks watching online. Colored lighting, flashes, a dark stage, candles, unusual angles, or a sparkle effect can inspire awe for the in-house crowd. The guy watching on his mobile device, however, may be confused. Dramatic productions need sound judgment. You may need to rent mics, restage your vocalists, or try new audio software. And remember that closed captioning for a drama, interview, or concert is different from captioning a sermon or lecture. If your church is putting on a Christmas play, hearing-impaired listeners will need closed captions. Without clear captions, they may have trouble distinguishing which character is speaking.
Holidays are a great time to engage with non-church-goers in a church setting. Christmas also lets us share the message of hope and redemption through live streaming with people who are homebound or stationed away from their families. Download MediaFusion’s Holiday Live Streaming Guide for helpful information on what’s working in holiday digital media around the world. And by the way, these tips work great any time of the year.