While everyone is adjusting to their new normal under Coronavirus, we need to a full stop moment. Things are NOT normal, and yet the majority of churches are presenting themselves online as if nothing has changed. No matter if you are sheltering in place or are open but limited, there are three effective ways to announce how things have changed due to the Coronavirus crisis.
My goal is not to ostracize anyone or say you're doing a bad job. Churches who are presenting things as they always have are most likely just stuck. They do not have a plan, do not know what to say, do not know how to communicate effectively, or like a lot of you; drowning in serving people through crisis. Because this is not normal, I want to encourage you by providing three examples you can use. You CAN do this and do it well. But you need a plan and process in place, and a way to get the message out online.
Newbreak Church has completely shifted their online messaging in order to reflect our shared crisis. Everything on their homepage clearly articulates their ongoing response in practical ways.
- The look and feel is different than their standard homepage.
- Their timely notice is clear and easily apparent.
- Their CTA buttons drive audiences to their next right steps.
- They have recent articles that speak to this crisis through hope.
- Their weekend information is still easily accessible.
- They partner with parents, starting on the homepage.
Mariners Church has focused less on resourcing their audience (compared to Newbreak) and more on announcing their digital platform and providing relief for those who need it.
- They added an immediate pop-up based on cache on their homepage.
- They shifted their services times and availability to online only and made it apparent.
- They added "I NEED HELP" and "I WANT TO HELP" CTAs that show their priority.
- They have three primary focuses to choose: Weekend Livestream, Family Service, Youth Services.
Saddleback Church understands their role in the American church and have directed their efforts to spread hope. Rick Warren is America's pastor, and their resources comfort in a time of need.
- Their above-fold announcement is about hope with a corresponding CTA.
- They keep daily engagement up through email newsletters.
- Their weekend message is front and center, with a single camera on a focused speaker.
- Their giving, like Newbreak and Mariners, is there but overly pushy.
There is no single right answer, but there are a lot of right directions. What you need to understand that this is not normal, that people are scared, and that you as a church have a responsibility to properly assess your new normal in context and meet the growing needs of your community. Here I have shown you three examples. In them, there are fourteen specific answers they are giving to their audience. If you need help through this, let me know and I help you assess your current strategy and implement a new one that meets needs.