What Does Mickey Mouse Have to do with Ministry?

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I recently had the privilege of participating in a series Church Marketing Sucks created, “Church Communication Heros.” Each author was asked to write a post about who inspires us and could be viewed as a “hero” in church communications.

One of my favorites is Walt Disney. I’ve been a huge fan since I was a little girl. His vision, imagination, standard for excellence and attention to detail are traits we can all aspire to.

The rest of the post can be read here. Who inspires you?

Last Chance to Get In

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I’m a huge fan of learning from others. Especially when they’re people who walk the talk & have a great track record.

If you somehow missed the new online conference everyone’s talking about, there’s still a tiny bit of time to sign up. Registration closes tonight at midnight CDT.

The roster of folks sharing what they’ve learned in the trenches is pretty amazing. Here’s just a few:

  • Jon Ferguson — Lead Teaching Pastor, Community Christian Church
  • Darrel Girardier — Creative Director, Brentwood Baptist Church
  • Casey Graham — CEO & Founder, The Rocket Company
  • Jay Kranda — Online Campus Pastor, Saddleback Church
  • Scott McClellan — Communications Pastor, Irving Bible Church (Former editor of COLLIDE Magazine & director of Echo Conference)
  • Carlos Whittaker — Author & Church Communications Specialist
  • Tim Schraeder — Social media ninja, led campaigns for Hillsong United
  • Blaine Hogan — Creative Director, Willow Creek Community Church
  • Haley Veturis — Social Media Artisan, Saddleback Church
  • Emily Cummins — Associate Director of Communications & Branding, Central Christian Chuch
  • Mark Clement — Founder & CEO, Big Picture Media Group
  • Jason Inman — Content Developer, LifeChurch.tv
  • (I’m talking about the Keys to Communicating Change)

** A couple of things to note **

1) All of the talks are TED-style… 10 mins or less of the best stuff

2) Speakers will be chatting live & answering questions w/participants DURING their talks

3) If your schedule on Wednesday is looking a little hairy, the talks will be available again after the event for participants so you can watch them later

4) A private Facebook group has been set up for participants. Folks are already connecting & learning from each other

5) They’re including a bonus Facebook Ads Training (Which apparently I could use, as I’ve been rejected 3x so far–Thankfully I’m not talking about that)

I’m really excited to see how this event turns out. If you’re thinking about jumping on board, I’d recommend it.

Ps: Did I mention registration ends tonight at midnight?

How We Started Working with Churches, Chicago’s Best Hot Dog, & Ministry Wisdom

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What do these three things have in common? They’re all questions I was asked as part of a backstories with speakers series, hosted by the new online conference Foundations. If you missed it, be sure to check it out here

Speaking of Foundations, I may or may not have recorded this complete talk no less than 9 times. (Say this with me slowly… Nine. Times.)

We won’t get into how many partial recordings, editing hours, or times it was fully submitted as “done” before it was “re-done” were involved, lest my sanity be questioned. (Somewhere along the way, I may have crossed the line from just wanting to do a good job to, um… something else entirely.)

Needless to say, I’m finally feeling good about it & can’t wait to hear what you guys think.

If you haven’t registered yet, there’s still time. Best part is you don’t even need to leave your desk—Just save July 22nd. Also, rumor has it additional speakers have been added. These are folks I respect immensely & are too many to mention. (Check out the speaker section on the website & prepare to have your mind blown)

 

I4J Interview with Phil Cooke and Justin Blaney

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Does media matter? How can churches reach people without a big marketing budget? Isn’t “marketing” kind of a dirty word in a ministry context anyway?

Phil Cooke and I were interviewed by Justin Blaney at Innovate for Jesus this morning and these were just a few of the topics we covered. Lots of great stuff shared for ministry leaders big and small (And if you look closely, about three quarters of the way through, you might see my Great Dane slipping by in the background… Kind of a Where’s Waldo sorta thing)

Here’s a few highlights that were tweeted:

“We have the greatest story ever told. But if our audience doesn’t speak “Christianese” we need to adapt to their context”

“When every ministry has its own logo and brand identity, you’re setting them up to compete with each other”

“The people that really break through are the ones that focus. We were made to focus”

“If we don’t define what is important, by default, nothing is”

“The average TV is on for eight hours a day. The average preacher preaches for an hour a week. Who’s winning the battle?”

“The most creative ministries are often the ones that didn’t have money to throw at the problem”

What are some of communication principles you’ve found to work?

Foundations Conference

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I am really excited to take part in a new conference that’s happening July 22nd. It’s entirely online (so no need to travel) and there are some pretty amazing friends joining me…

  • Tim Schraeder (social media ninja, helped raise a boatload of cash for Hillsong United)
  • Scott McClellan (communications pastor @ Irving Bible Church, prior grand poohbah of COLLIDE Magazine)
  • Jon Ferguson (lead teaching pastor at Community Christian Church & all-around scary smart guy)
  • Carlos Whittaker (brilliant musician, amazing at generating viral word-of-mouth, including this adorable video with over 7 million views)
  • Brady Shearer (founder of Pro Church Tools & host of a great podcast I was privileged to be part of)
  • Blaine Hogan (creative director @ Willow Creek & founder of a great coaching community Make Better)
  • Vince Marotte (church communications specialist & prior fantastic backstage broadcast host of Cultivate << he actually arrived on a bicycle)
  • Dave Shrein (wicked smart, author of The Communicators List & prior discussion leader of Cultivate)

Best part is until MIDNIGHT TONIGHT pricing has been rolled back to early bird rates of $89

Just use the promo code: Party (case sensitive)

It’s honestly one of the best ways to invest $89 and a few hours of your time. I can vouch for these guys. They’re legit. You’ll learn a ton. Totally worth it.

Hope to see you there!

Stuff to Check Out :: unSeminary

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A lot of the folks in my circles tend to be leaders. Oftentimes Lead Pastors, Executive Pastors and Communication Directors. And some of these leaders have huge hearts to help others—and others really need to know about it. So if you haven’t already heard of unSeminary, this is a resource you definitely want to check out.

Founded by Rich Birch, Operations Pastor at Liquid Church, (and all around great guy) he offers up some great, practical resources to guide your church communications. Here’s a highlight reel of some of the goodies you’ll find:

I honestly haven’t come across another one-stop-shop that offers so much free, quality stuff as unSeminary. Rich was a fellow speaker at Collyde last year when we first met, and he did a great job of helping me keep the crazy at bay before my session started. He’s continued to impress me ever since.

** Side note ** This is not an endorsed post. unSeminary is just a great resource and the world will be a better place if others know about it. 

Making a List & Checking It Twice

So you’re getting ready to launch a new brand.

You’ve got your new name, logo, signage, website, and social channels all locked up. Or do you?

It’s important to snag ALL the domains and social channels related to your brand that you possibly can. Even the ones you think you don’t need.

Otherwise you run the risk of what happened to Carly Fiorina, former president of Hewlett-Packard, who just announced her bid for the 2016 presidential race.

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Doh.

By failing to secure http://carlyfiorina.org/, someone else snagged it and is using it against her.

The devil is in the details, so make sure your resources aren’t being used to fight battles you can control.

Are We Providing Hurdles or Open Doors?

(Throwback Thursday :: This post originally published 4/08)

How easy is it for your “customers” to go deeper in their relationship with your organization? Are opportunities to get even more involved and committed intentionally accessible? Not just the get-’em-in-the-door type of intentional, but what about for those already on board?

I just spent [versus invested] a pretty painful amount of time trying to upgrade my Comcast subscription. No dice through my online account [which should have giant “upgrade today” buttons, but alas, no], so I bit the bullet and called the 800 number. Got halfway through the endless prompts aaaand had my call dropped. Tried again, waded through more prompts, sat on hold & finally connected to a service representative. She was friendly and got me set up, at which point the Internet in my bundled service immediately goes down. More teleprompts & disconnected calls.. lather, rinse, repeat. I was so sorry I tried to upgrade.

Contrast this experience to one with a Sirius telemarketer who called earlier today— I had a 3 month subscription that came with my car and over those few months I came to the conclusion I couldn’t live without an All Blues All the Time station ever again. I’m not a big fan of telemarketers in general, but they already had my attention, called when my free subscription was nearly up and made it easy for me to take it the next level. The whole thing took about 5 minutes. No interruption in what I already had. No pain.

“So, Dawn,” you say, “Enough with the whining. How does this have anything to do with me?”

The best customers are the ones you already have. And they help find new people for you when they become raving fans, which typically happens when the organization invests in them. This can come in flavors like an easy to navigate website, customer service that goes a little bit further than expected, making exceptions to the “rules” when it makes sense… you get the picture.

And yes, this absolutely applies to churches. Every time someone steps forward to volunteer, get involved with a small group, sign their child up for MOPS, participate in a class, etc., let’s ask ourselves, “Did we make that easy or hard for them?” Or better yet, let’s ask them.

It’s the Little Things

[Throwback Thursday :: This post originally appeared 07/06]

Okay, we’ve all heard it before. It pays to be nice. And apparently when it’s intentional with a pay-it-forward mindset, it can really make a difference.

I just read an article in the Mining Gazette [yes, you got the name right] about a town in Michigan that decided the best way to increase tourism was with positive word of mouth buzz.

And what they did was just simple stuff. Having extra maps of the area in their cars, helping stranded motorists, offering suggestions of where to get the best pasty. [I have no idea what that is, but imagine it’s important to know where the good ones are] I’d imagine folks were so amazed the locals would go out of their way to help an “outsider,” they told all their friends.

This got me thinking. How often are we intentional about this in ministry?

In the article, it wasn’t just the town council/Chamber of Commerce/mayor who was responsible for this. Everyone pitches in and it doesn’t take a huge marketing budget to pull off. I’ve read statsics somewhere [don’t look for a link for this] that studies show it takes 30 days to form a habit. So, this isn’t a marketing initiative, but a way of life for these folks.

Makes ya wonder if a little area in the upper peninsula of Michigan can do it, what would the possibilities be for ministries?