A Holiday Hiatus

Greetings and Happy December!

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a college student in Birmingham, AL. Because I am a senior this year, this will be my last holiday break!

While I am looking forward to the days of being a working adult and being busiest this time of year, I am choosing to enjoy this last break as I have it.

A HOLIDAY HIATUS

In effort to focus fully on time with my family and what the next year will bring, Social Steeples will be taking a break during the holiday season.

Thank you for your support and collaboration with me so far, and for your understanding of my time away!

Happy Holidays and God Bless!

7 Best Practices For Periscope

7 best practices for periscope

Today we’re going to focus on Periscope, a new platform that is becoming more and more useful and relevant for people and organizations!

Below are some practices for this platform that I hope you will find helpful.

Be aware of environment and surroundings.

Because the broadcasts on Periscope is live, it’s important that you are intentional about choosing a place and time that reduces the risk of issues arising during the broadcast. Periscope wisely by paying attention to your surroundings before you go live. Someone could come by and say inappropriate things or interrupt you in some way, and you definitely do not want something to happen that could damage your ministry’s image or name.

Pay attention to your phone service and wi-fi reception.

I have watched plenty of Periscope broadcasts where this has been a problem. Sometimes it is hard to control, especially if you are outside or riding in a car, but it is important to do your best to assure good service during your broadcasts. The last thing you want is for your video to cut out in the middle of something important you’re discussing and not know that it is not working for your viewer.

Announce it beforehand.

Twitter will send out a notification when you go live in addition to the Periscope app sending a notification to your followers, but it is also good to send out an invitation on social networks to join you on Periscope before you go live. You may do this an hour, 30 minutes, and/or 5 minutes before you go live, just to give your viewers a heads up.

Plan your conversation.

Periscope is one of those platforms where you have to keep your viewer’s attention. A great way to prepare for success is to make sure there is a list of things you’re planning to talk about, and to remind your audience of the flow of conversation for those joining sporadically. Having a list of topics or talking points will help prevent you from rambling and being disorganized and uninteresting.

Acknowledge your audience.

The majority of your audience most likely will not show up on your live broadcast until a minute or so has passed of you speaking. Be mindful of the people joining (you’ll see each one pop up as they join) and welcome them by name if you can! When they ask questions, answer them as quickly as possible and make it relevant to as many people as you can.

Be on the lookout for trolls.

As on any other social network, trolls may pop in on your broadcast, possibly with bad language or rude comments. Never fear! Periscope allows you to block users from your broadcasts easily by holding your finger down on their name and choosing to block. Just make sure to be cautionary in this and use your wisdom in choosing who to block and who to lovingly answer.

Be authentic and show the back stage.

One of the best aspects of Periscope is the ability for users to join live broadcasts and interact with the person scoping. A great example of a proper use of Periscope is showing the “back stage” of your ministry – your worship team setting up for a Sunday morning, your creative team talking about upcoming planning of events, your pastor or leadership team talking about what’s on their heart that day. Let this platform be a place where you show the authentic and relatable parts of your ministry. This allows your community to feel apart of what you’re doing as an organization and like their questions and comments are heard and known!

Any questions or comments about Periscope? Share them below!

2016 Ministry Conferences

Periscope

There are not many conference dates posted for the 2016 calendar so far, but below I’ve listed three events that could be helpful for your church or ministry!

Simply click on the conference name to get more information.

SALT Conference – Nashville, TN :: SALT is more than a conference. It’s a movement of people desperate to rebuild the creative walls of the church, not for the sake of marketing, but the sake of engaging people with the contagious Gospel of Jesus Christ.

That Church Conference – Atlanta, GA :: Learn about digital communications from people that actually run digital for some of the most influential churches & ministries.

Thrive Conference – Granite Bay, CA :: Churches are meant to thrive. In today’s culture of competition for noise-making, how does the church stand out? The Thrive Conference provides church leaders with a fresh vision and a bold stance to make an impact for eternity.

 

Your Leaders’ Social Media Presence

Happy Monday! Today we’ll be discussing the importance of your ministry’s leadership participation on social media.

First, we must establish what I mean by the term “leadership”. Here, I’m speaking about the whole team- your pastor, your ministry’s founder, your creative team members, your worship team, your inside management, etc.

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Below you’ll find 5 main ways you, as leadership, can positively impact your ministry’s community on social media:

  • Encourage your people. Beyond the pulpit or the stage, social media allows the opportunity of encouragement and influence online. Because our society practically lives on the internet, it’s so important that we are there speaking truth to their day, including our leaders. People want to connect with people on social media, especially those who have positive impacts on their lives. This may look like posting scripture from your daily reading or from the passages you’re going through as a congregation, or maybe commenting on someone’s post that needs to hear encouraging words. Think about how you would want your pastor to lead you on social media if the roles were reversed.
  • Show you’re real. This is a huge deal for any leader, but especially those who’s ministries are larger in size. As a leader of a ministry where you have a large impact on many people, it’s most likely important to you that you’re not seen as a person that has it all together or that only prepares messages all day every day in order to connect with them personally on a emotional and spiritual level. You are just like the people in your community- with your own family, your own interests and hobbies, your own responsibilities, your own struggles, and your own life. Your calling just so happens to play out in front of a lot of people. Your people need to see that. Use social media as a way to display your heart to your community as a supplement to what you say on a Sunday or at a meeting. Give them opportunities to ask questions, feel included in the family, and to feel truly guided. A really cool way my own pastor does this is by doing live broadcasts on Periscope (which we’ll venture the benefits of later) in his office at home, in the car on the way to the airport, or other places. As a member of the church he leads, it is awesome for me to have the extra opportunity to hear from him and to go online and hear his heart that day and get to ask him questions and hear him pray for me and whoever else is listening from wherever he is.
  • Utilize the platform you’re given. As a leader, God has already given you a platform from which to teach and guide people. Because most of your people are most likely on social media, it’s important to teach and guide there as well! In addition, as a ministry leadership team, it’s difficult to speak from each heart about your work for sake of time. Each one of you has a specific story that someone needs to hear and each person has their own calling to your ministry as a whole (whether you’re creating graphics or are singing on a stage) and a heart for it. Social media is a unique outlet to share those things, via traditional social media networks or even a blog. Let your people see the heart behind the person who leads your children’s ministry, or your small groups, or your event coordination. Let them feel included in what’s going on and how the Lord is leading your team.
  • Aid in marketing ministry happenings. A big way you can contribute to the marketing of your ministry is to help them spread the word about events. Do it, of course, by showing your own heart behind what’s going on and sharing the ministry’s mission behind it. This is a way for you to speak out about events to the community outside your ministry’s accounts and to keep your own community updated and reminded. Telling people about events under your account is going to seem a lot more personal than if they see it on your ministry’s account. This is because it is a person-to-person connection versus a community-to-person connection. This could mean retweeting and commenting on your ministry’s post about an event, or posting a picture with some volunteers from the previous year and telling a story that has meant a lot to you. This also shows your community within and those outside that you are actively involved in the events your ministry is posting about!
  • Get insight into your peoples’ lives. As a leader of your ministry, your responsibility is your people. As busy as you probably are with good things, you can’t meet with every single person in your community. You can, however, get a glimpse of what’s going on in people’s lives on their social media accounts. People put more than you would think about their lives on social media. As a pastor or other leader of ministry, this is an asset to you, being that it will aid you in leading them well. This may be done through simply scrolling through your newsfeed, but could also be done by asking for prayer requests online and other similar actions.

I hope this shed some light on why your leadership’s social media presence is important! Please write any comments or questions in the box below.

Sources: Christianity Today & Vision Room

How To Handle Trolls

Just because we are in ministry and are a part of a community that aims to do good, we aren’t excused from being confronted by those people who I call “trolls”. In fact, I would argue that we are even more susceptible to these interactions because we bare Jesus’s name {see John 16:33 and Matthew 5:11}.

So what are trolls? Trolls are discouragers. Trolls are critiques, twisters of words, and sly commenters that hate on your events, your words, your intentions. They are the ones that pop into a conversation with negativity and unnecessary contributions.

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What in the world are we supposed to do with these people? How do we react?

First, we love them.

Regardless of the comment or what they do or say, we are still called to love them as Christ does. This is hard to remember when they’re saying something negative about the ministry and the cause that you believe in so strongly, or when they take a stab at something you love, but we must always love.

Second, we remove the words of negativity.

There is some debate about whether you should delete the comments or leave them and respond with grace, but I stick to removing altogether. Removing the comment ends the conversation where it is and doesn’t allow for any further discussion that could be filled with unwholesome talk, on your part or theirs. You don’t want to allow the opportunity for your comment stream or your community’s newsfeed to be clogged up with unnecessary and unfruitful conversations.

If they continue to sneak back into conversations, I don’t believe it’s wrong to block them. That little blocking tool is a blessed thing when you’re fighting for the purity of your ministry. Don’t be afraid or feel bad for using it!

Monitoring your comments, mentions, timeline, and other aspects of your social networks are important as well, but don’t fret if you miss a bad comment or two, especially if you’re a large ministry with a lot going on in your social channels. Be as intentional as you can, but don’t down yourself if you miss a stray comment! On social media, there is a lot of noise. I think you’ll find, too, that your fans that believe in your ministry will address any comments you miss with love, or just ignore them because they know it’s inaccurate.

Third, we don’t become discouraged.

We’re all humans here, so I can be honest and say that we’re not going to catch every sly comment or post. I can also say that there will be times where we want to respond in a not-so-kind way to the remarks people post on our social channels. Choose truth and choose love in these circumstances. Remember that you are speaking on your networks for the Church (God’s people), not just for yourself. We must extend love to people and not give into the reaction they want us to have that we’re so easily susceptible to- anger.

Choose not to believe the negativity that may pop up on your feed every now and then. God has already won; choose to live in the victory He’s provided through His Son and don’t let the trolls steal your joy!

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Thank you for reading! Feel free to add your comments or ask questions in the box below!