Today at the Banff Pastors’ Conference, Bob Webber, Mike Engbers and I had the privilege teach a workshop on Publicity, Social Media and the Church. I got to share a bit of my journey working on communications with non-profit organizations, and offered some tips about social media usage. I wanted to post here a bunch of the resources that I found helpful, and Mike’s list of some software for churches.
Articles on Social Media
Here are two of the articles I have found particularly helpful, that hopefully will clarify some things for you as well:
- Seven Keys to an Effective Church Social Media Strategy by Jonathan Howe
- Nine Steps to Using Social Media and Blogs without Losing Your Ministry by Thom Rainer
What would you add to these two lists? Where has your church found success in social media? Both articles originally published on thomrainer.com.
Developing a Social Media Policy
Once your church has decided to use social media as a ministry tool, it’s important to develop policies around its usage. While not from a Christian ministry, the first two resources are helpful for thinking through what policies might fit your context. The last one is especially important for developing a policy around communicating appropriately with minors and vulnerable people.
- Getting Started with Social Media: A Strategy Toolkit for Nonprofits
- Rough Draft of a Non-Profit Social Media Policy
- Social Media for Christian Ministry
- One organization that has helped several CBWC churches develop easy-to-use, good looking websites is Church OS. Find out more at churchos.com.
Technology for Ministry
Here is a list of some helpful available software for churches from Mike Engbers.
- Backups: Both these services have their advantages but allow for remote backup of a computer to the internet. You can encrypt the data even to prevent someone from reading the data you archive (don’t lose your settings for encryption as you cannot recover them). These are both relatively low cost options for a yearly subscription. Backing up information so it is accessible in a disaster is very important!
- Open Mesh Hardware (http://www.open-mesh.ca) a low cost expandable wireless network that is able to be added to easily as needs grow. It allows for an internal network for an office and external guest network. Needs a moderate amount of technical skills to administer.
- Live Streaming Resources: Live streaming is becoming more and more popular. IT can be done from a iPhone or a full feature dedicated computer. Here are some of the resources available:
- Adobe Flash Live Media Encoder http://www.adobe.com/ca/products/flash-media-encoder.html Basic software that can be used for livestreaming on any computer.
- Tricaster www.tricaster.com Industry standard manufacturer of live streaming software.
- DaCast www.dacast.com – streaming service that allows you to broadcast your services commercial free. You stream to their servers and then it is broadcast out to any who watch. This minimizes the internet usage in the church while livestreaming.
- YouTube https://www.youtube.com/my_live_events Youtube allows live events now to be broadcast
- WireCast www.telestream.net/wirecast Full feature software for live streaming from a computer
- NowGenesis http://www.itshappeningrightnow.com/ All in one service for churches that allows live streaming with mininmal knowledge or background.
- Office Software: Probably the most basic software used in a church office is a word process or and spreadsheet. There are a growing number of options to consider.
- www.techsoupcanada.ca – has accounting software and Microsoft software at a charitable discount. Microsoft Office 2016 can be purchased for $40.
- Google Apps is free software that come with any gmail account www.googleapps.com
- Open Office – free alternative to MS Office. www.openoffice.org
- Pages, Numbers, Keynote (OS X and in the cloud for all platforms) (www.icloud.com)
- Church Management: Church management software allows you to manage congregational information, print directories, record information, manage groups, and more. Some even include finance and giving information. Some are software installed on a computer while others are cloud based services that you log into a website to access or use an app. Prices range from free to expensive, from one time purchase to monthly costs. If using for financial information, ensure it allows for Canadian tax receipts. A list of options with comparison information can be found at http://ministrytech.com/church-software/. Some examples include:
- Volunteer Management: These allow you to schedule volunteers and manage them effectively:
- Worship Presentation Software: Presentation software allows you to display song lyrics, scripture, videos, and more.
- ProPresenter (PC or OSX) www.propresenter.com
- MediaShout (PC or OSX) www.mediashout.com
- EasyWorship (PC and OSX version coming) www.easyworship.com
- Proclaim (PC or OSX) www.proclaimonline.com
- PCO Projector (iOS) http://get.planningcenteronline.com/services/projector
- Powerpoint (PC or OSX) part of Microsoft Office Suite
- Online Donations: These sites are some that allow a church to collect online donations.
- Dropbox.com – one of several online storage sites that allow you to save files to the cloud to access and share elsewhere
- Reflector 2 – http://www.airsquirrels.com/reflector/ This software lets you stream what’s on your mobile device to a computer. This can be used to put the mobile device on a projector screen. Useful especially for displaying a Skype call, sermon notes, etc.
- Skype – www.skype.com allows for live video chats.
- Google Hangout – Live video chats with multiple users.
- Vimeo– www.vimeo.com online video storage where people can access your videos online. Free for basic account.
- Hootsuite – www.hootsuite.com manage multiple social media accounts and schedule posts
Have resources to add? Want to know more? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.