If you run or manage a church and haven’t come to this realization that content development and data are the new catalysts for church growth, then you may want to have a rethink.
On the other hand, if you are setting out to plant a church, you may want to consider having these two as partners in your strategic growth plan.
The internet is here to stay and it is the bedrock of our online world. Sitting on this technology highway are channels through which information is disseminated. Be it emails, newsletters, articles, social media platforms, and even live streams – they all run on the back of the internet. Indeed, most of these platforms are geared towards marketing, not the primary objective of the church. However, the church is competing for attention from the same audience or readers who are heavy consumers of online content.
Thankfully, there is room for the church to play without compromising its primary mandate of spreading the gospel. In this respect, a few thoughts on content development and data application can be considered. As a start, though, it will be useful to have a technology-savvy volunteer or a team dedicated to handling communications for the church in place.
The Theme for the Church. A general theme for the church will suffice at the beginning. Answers to who we are, what we want to achieve, and where we are going can help elicit a theme for the church. It is easier to develop content around the answers to these questions as you develop content. Furthermore, it helps content producers to remain focused and serves as a guide so that they are not all over the place.
Materials and Subject Matter: What kind of materials will you be putting together? Will you set up a blog site? Will it be podcasts and video feeds? Will it be articles or newsletters? Knowing and understanding your target audience will help in determining the predominant subject matter and tools for deployment. You may want to prepare an editorial calendar too. Some churches breakdown the pastor’s sermon over the week. You can combine any of these sources to achieve the same purpose. The key is to keep them coming and fresh.
Set Goals for Your Communications Team: What do you want to achieve in a day, month or year? Do you want your content to lead souls to Christ? How about increasing new church members by deliberately meeting their spiritual needs through enriching content? A goal could be to produce seven articles or devotionals a week. Over time, evaluating responses to your content will help fine-tune strategies for achieving those goals.
Data Collection And Analysis
In the past, the more familiar way of measuring church growth and health is through physical counts of members in attendance, rate of giving, and total contributions. And until recently, there was the preconceived notion that data management is mainly applicable to businesses and government agencies. While there is some element of truth to that, finding a balance in the use of data can help a church thrive. On the importance of data collection, a company called Innovative Advertising puts it this way;
“collecting data allows you to store and analyze important information about your existing and potential customers. Collecting this information can also save your company money by building a database of customers for future marketing and retargeting efforts.”
I’d like to transpose this statement using church terminology to replace company, customers and retargeting;
“collecting data allows you to store and analyze important information about your existing and potential members. Collecting this information can also save your church time and money by building a database of members for future engagements and outreach efforts.”
Fits perfectly, right?
That’s the point. Data collection and analysis help church management make informed decisions. It presents the church as being responsive to member needs and in tune with changing times.
Now that there are Church Management Software, there are better ways to assess church growth and health. One useful task to have in church administration is the ability to gather data, carry out surveys and analyze numbers for improvement. Churches that do this have used these tools for their benefits and seen significant growth within short periods. The importance of data gathering and ethical usage cannot, therefore, be overemphasized in the modern church. It helps to identify areas for improvement. Data analysis provides evidence and helps keep everyone on the same page.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused massive disruptions worldwide, leaving churches with lean resources. More so, they cannot carry on with in-person events that typically draw crowds as they did in the past. And as the church is not deterred, seeking innovative ways to engage souls and continue with the harvest is the pragmatic way to go.
Churches are now resorting to technology as it is the most cost-effective way to carry on with the mandate. Church management tools like ChurchPad are primed and intentionally built to handle content development and data analysis, among other solutions.