When a new Christian joins a church, they rightfully start off as a consumer. The programs they participate in are often run by volunteers and funded by regular church members. At some point that new Christian needs to consider moving from consumer to producer. We all know that once that happens, they become invested and integrated with the church at a much deeper level. How can your church utilize your web properties to help facilitate this?
It happens all too often at churches. A great idea comes up, enthusiasm builds, and when it comes time to execute and do some work; people scatter to the four corners of the earth. Remember, this is what typically happens with regular church goers. When someone joins your church they are filled with a new level of enthusiasm. They want to learn as well as fit in with their new surroundings. This is especially true if they were a non-believer and came to new faith in Christ. Here are some ways to harness that enthusiasm with your website:
I will assume that you are a content factory; putting out short daily devotionals, weekly podcasts, and the occasional special event video. There are probably many people in your church, and even more outside, that are consuming that content. Have a subtle, non-intrusive call to action asking them to take a next step. That might be a landing page at an easy address (or even a vanity address) where they can get involved. Also, every bulletin (paper or electronic) should have prompts to volunteer or become part of the event or group mentioned.
Make it Easy
The last thing you want to do when asking for someone to sign up to volunteer is make the process difficult and/or complex. First, find a technology that makes this easy. Examples are an online form, texting a phrase to a special number, or using social media. Next, streamline the process by asking for as little information as possible. Do you really need to know their home address when all you plan on doing is emailing them? Lastly, test your systems to ensure that the process is easy on several configurations, including mobile devices.
Although you want to make sign-up easy, ask for at least one channel of communication that can be automated. This includes automated calls for a land line, text message reminders to cell phones, emails, and social media. Utilize the communication channels at your disposal, however I would say to use them smartly. Use social media a week or two in advance so they can share the event and possibly bring a friend. Call a landline the evening before to help them remember. Finally, text them 3-4 hours beforehand as they might be out running errands and can redirect their course if they forgot.
I know personally that my faith sprang into action when I got involved at my church. If you have a larger church, it is easy to get lost in the crowd. Yet when you plug into a smaller volunteer group; not only are you helping the church, but you are connecting with other members. Use the methods I mentioned above to help guide a member from consumer to producer. Break the mold and boast how you do not have 20 percent of the people doing 80 percent of the work!
Note: This article was inspired by the sermon "The Cost of Discipleship" from Mars Hill Church.
Photo courtesy of Thomas Debray