The concept of "going viral" is not new to the Internet. Many news stories, videos, and images have all enjoyed their few moments of online fame. Yet how do you do the same for your digital ministries? In this article I will summarize one aspect of how things become popular; the people involved.
If you think about it, Christianity itself is a great example of something going viral. What started with about 120 people on the day of Pentecost, has turned into billions. What can we do to help further the Gospel? Well Malcom Gladwell has a pretty good idea. The majority of information here is taken from his book, The Tipping Point. He sought to find out how things go from scarcely known to wildly popular. He explores this occurrence in several settings, including the evangelist John Wesley. One of the discoveries was the types of people that made something popular. It was never the work of just one person. Someone may start a chain reaction. Yet the pieces that fall into place have a pattern to them. Three roles emerged from that pattern. Below are who they are, and how they relate to your digital ministries
Simply put, connectors know a lot of people. There are likely members in your church that seem to know everyone. They cannot walk out of a Sunday service without shaking a multitude of hands. They make your average extrovert look shy. You also may know someone like this on your social media platforms. While they are not as extroverted in person, their online personas are wild. They communicate and are friends with half the Internet. These people can get your message out to the masses. But audience alone won't cut it. This is why we need two more types of people
These people have a large amount of information and are viewed as experts in their field. Their personality does not matter as much as what's in their head. Like the connector, you likely have one of these people at your church. They know every detail of a line of cars. They can quote statistics for an entire baseball team. Or they can deep dive into the original Greek text of the New Testament. You need to get your facts straight, and mavens are the ones to help you. They provide the validity behind what you are saying.
I bet you know a person that could sell water to a fish. They are not sneaky, but are certainly persuasive. These people have the godly gift of being a good salesperson. What may be a relief is that they use it for good. Even if they do not, here is an opportunity to redeem their talents. They understand how to draw on emotional ties to bring about action. They know how to trigger emotions through words, imagery, and ideas.
Find one of each of these people in your church. I am sure you can see the power these three groups can wield if they work together. As Malcom mentioned in his book, even unintentional combinations have changed the world. So how does this work? The best example for this is sharing an image with a scripture-based message on social media. Ask your maven to research the facts. Have your salesperson add that deep emotional connection. Last, your connector shares it with their vast networks. In no time your team will boost your digital ministries' reach and impact.
For more information on John Wesley, check out this article from Christianity Today.
Photo courtesy of Charles Thompson