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Three Ways to Increase Your Church’s Evangelism Reach Online

Interview by Visitor Staff

Potomac Conference churches recently had the opportunity to receive funds to enhance their Media Ministries. (Read more here.) The Visitor staff interviewed Richard Castillo, Potomac’s Media director, for tips that all churches can use to improve this vital ministry. 

Visitor: What is the most important thing (social media-wise) churches can do to increase their reach? 

Castillo: It may seem simple to some, but it is imperative that your social media platforms are set to public. Although there will always be a need for safety and intentional thinking regarding security, social media for a church is a valuable tool for public outreach. It can be a place for your members to share and consume photos of events internally, but you can do that in a private group. 

Each church should have a public-facing account that is managed accordingly. Think of your website as a first impression and general information tool. It should represent your church’s personality, culture and pertinent information. It’s like introducing yourself to a new acquaintance, but beyond that single moment, you’ll need so much more to go deeper. 

Actual Relationship With People Outside Your Walls

Social media should be seen as your actual relationship with the people outside your walls. It represents an ongoing, consistent conversation that includes the great moments at your church, event invitations, sweet messages, and methods to allow someone to get to know your church from the outside. It also serves to maintain a good relationship with your current membership. It allows your leadership to acknowledge the good work of your ministry teams through great photography, video and awards. It is a valuable morale-building tool. 

Leadership should view social media as a valuable intentional portion of their evangelism efforts. These days, more people are looking at you electronically through their phones than they ever will from a computer, or, even more rarely, from your actual location. Investing a good portion of your outreach budget in advertising across social media is a strong way to put your church’s personality in front of individuals who may never notice you otherwise. 

You’ve heard the saying, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” Well, the addendum to this should be, “People who don’t know you will not care what you’ve done unless they can see it with their own eyes.” Not to say that doing great things for the sake of doing good lacks value, but when it comes to attracting new people to your membership, you need a way to prove that your church does what it says it does. If they see it in person, great, but the more efficient way is to always have someone on your staff who is focused on photography. Your smartphone camera will do the job.  

Visitor: What was your biggest takeaway for local church ministry during the pandemic?

Castillo: Before the pandemic, you knew that your members could vote with their feet and choose to attend another church in proximity. During the pandemic, this became even more apparent as people could vote with their thumbs and move on to the next stream. We are creatures of comfort, and you can’t blame someone for turning off a stream that has bad audio or making you feel like you’re stuck in a box in the back of your sanctuary. 

People will shop for their churches. They want to know if you’ll match their family’s dynamic. They want to know if you’ll be a good place for their children. They want to know what to wear if they choose to visit. They will watch your archived streams, if even for a few minutes, to get a quick impression of your church. 

Visitor: What are some ways to take a local church media ministry up a notch if a local church is already live-streaming and posting occasionally? 

Castillo: (below)

Audio: Even if you have a wonderful camera setup at your church, if they can’t hear everything in your service, they will turn it off. Upgrading your church’s mixer to allow you to send a cleaner signal to your stream can make even a one-camera church seem more available. 

Video: Your goal should always be to make your media team invisible. Your online viewer shouldn’t have a reason to be critiquing your camera work. The hope would be to allow your viewers to be in worship with everyone who is sitting in your sanctuary. Having at least two cameras will allow you to switch to a camera that is still and focused while you move and adjust your second camera. 

Having three cameras will allow you to always have a wide shot set up so viewers can see the larger church for context and then allow you to focus and zoom into moments of interest during the service. These small details allow your online viewers to avoid derailing in the middle of service. 

Set your standard of quality, and aim never to fall below it: This can be difficult when your team is you, your teenage daughter, and some of their friends who likes cameras, but it is important. Be the example, and you’ll soon find that the standard becomes easier, which allows you to consistently raise the bar. You might even find that a rising tide lifts ALL boats. 




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