By Jonathan Howe
Earlier this week on Rainer on Leadership, Dr. Rainer and I discussed eight Easter planning tips. Many of those tips were church-wide efforts or ministry specific ideas to aid in preparing your church for one of its biggest weekends of the year.
What we didn’t cover in great detail was the role church communications can play in boosting the reach of your church for Easter. And while the description and application of these tips are specific to Easter, many—if not all—of them could be used for any special weekend or event on the church calendar.
- Develop an Easter sermon series theme and graphics. Themes work well for major holidays. I’ve seen everything from those that draw from the biblical narrative account to those that use a play on words of a cultural event or saying. Because the majority of those you reach on Easter are dechurched, the biblical themes typically are more effective. Culturally-themed church slogans can too easily end up looking cheesy or silly.
- Distribute invite cards. Once you have your theme and graphics decided, have invite cards (either postcard or business card size) printed with your service times, address, website address, and other important information. Encourage church members to use the cards to invite friends and family to your services. If you have any special Maundy Thursday or Good Friday services, be sure to include those on the invite cards as well.
- Create sharable images for Facebook and Instagram. Using your theme graphics, develop sharable images for your church members to post on their social media accounts. Also consider using these graphics as header images for your church Facebook and Twitter accounts.
- Provide sample tweets for your members. Similar to the sharable images, these tweets should contain relevant information about your Easter services or events. Send the tweets out through your church newsletter to your members, and encourage them to share them online. You can also develop a special page on the church website that contains all the graphics and sample tweets for members to reference as needed.
- Use a specific hashtag for your church. The use of a hashtag allows you to track the promotions for your Easter service in each social media channel, and can help create an online “buzz” about the event. But there is one caveat: your Easter hashtag needs to be unique to your church. For example, #Easter2016 is not something you should use; or even #FBCEaster. It would be best to tie your custom hashtag to your theme or name of the event. City Church in Tallahassee exemplified this with their special Christmas event this past year: #ChristmasOnTheMoon.
- Advertise using Facebook boosts. On another recent podcast episode, we went into a little more detail about how this works and why it works so well. Simply put, churches can spend less money and get more results by using Facebook advertising if you do it well.
- Simplify communication cards and theme them for the day. Easter is a great time to test a new, simple communication card. Use your theme graphics and simplify the information requested to achieve the best results. Many churches encourage both members and guests to fill out communication cards on Easter as a way to lower barriers some guests may have. Include a simple check box for member or guest to help you sort the cards once they are turned in.
These are but seven simple examples of how you can amplify your church communications efforts in coordination with your Easter preparations.
I’m sure you have more ideas. I’d love to discuss them in the comments below.