The Future Church - A Church Communications Podcast
Church Media + Communications
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E097 - Print to Digital

James: All right Jo there's still a lot of churches out there talking about how do I move from traditional to digital and today we're going to talk about it.

James: All right so Jo I've noticed in some Facebook groups recently some people really asking you know my church has is very traditional we've been doing a lot of printed bulletins we've just got a projector and basically asking for help like how do I convince people and how do I personally start moving my communications and media strategy away from the traditional side of things and more into the digital world. And that is a big leap. And I can understand the the hesitation the nervousness maybe even the fear about it because it's a whole new world. And it's also transitioning not only yourself but also your pastor and your congregation. All have to kind of get used to this big change but it is a change that is happening everywhere in the world. Yeah. And that's going to happen in your church if it hasn't happened already.

Joanna: Well that's it. I think that the greater risk is in not changing the greater risk is actually if you say we're not going to respond in a meaningful way to the digital culture that we live in. That everyone is checking out a restaurant on their phone before they go to that restaurant. Everyone is checking Instagram for the latest news on. You know just even in our town where we just we just won the national championship or the I guess the world's stuff for NBA Raptors is a big party around Toronto. And people were checking social media for the news on what was going on is like two million people flooded the city. The NBA never seen anything like it. How many people came out in Toronto to celebrate this win. And so but people were checking on the news and where to go and where to check it out on social media. They weren't going to traditional news sources of radio and television and so all to say that change has happened so the risk is if we don't go with it. But I think the big thing that I've learned in all of my years of doing stuff like this and the things I've learned from my own mistakes too is around shepherding people. It's about people right. We care about people and we're not trying to push changes through that hurt and frustrate needlessly. We want to lead people in the way that they need to go in the right way forward. And so the simplest thing that I would recommend with that to do with the transition from print to digital is that for a while you have to do both for everything. So for a while there's going to be the printed bulletin that you do and the exact same content you're going to have on your Web site or on your social media platforms. And I think of that with with lots of other things around the church that are transitioning. Like for example signing up for an event for a while it makes sense to have not just a printed form where people fill out maybe a permission slip for their kids or other ways that you have to fill out and register for an activity in the church in a paper form and at the same time offer a digital way to do the exact same thing and then over time as people get used to and see how the digital way is easier it's more convenient they can do it from their house they don't even need to come into the church with it. As that transition happens as they realize that they can find all the information that used to be in print on digital platforms they begin to be to be less reliant it's literally like a weaning process.

James: Yeah. And I think it's important to not just flip a switch one day I think it's also a signal and and talk about it. So if you let's let's use the example of a bulletin or something like that I think it's important to one announce it but then to put in for several months in the bulletin like as of a certain day we're going to be moving towards digital. You have any questions. Here's how to contact. So I think it's important to get that message slowly out so it's not just one day it's gone and where what happened it's more. Everyone knows it's coming. Like if you give people a heads up on change it allows it to sink in and for people to get used to it before it's even happened. And then it can happen without any any sort of like it. You don't want to be a jarring experience or all of a sudden you just one day it's gone and yes there's a lot of questions.

Joanna: Yeah you better just shut up and like it.

James: Exactly and that's and that's a harsh way to deal with it as opposed to letting people know and even giving people reasons why like it's going to help us. And I think people can get on board with what's happening people get on board with change if they feel like they're being a part of it not dragged into it.

Joanna: Yeah. And helping people understand the digital world we live in. You know as I'm saying I'm using silly examples from the NBA because it's just fresh in my mind because it's just been like a big deal in our city right now with all this stuff going on with the Raptors. But on top of that like we're seeing that transition can happen when people understand the new reality and talk about how much money it's going to save and talk about that the world lives online. You know whatever it is whatever needs to be in your own church but have some real reasons behind what you're doing and then it will help people move along with you. And of course no matter what there will be people who don't like change. Well the thing about changes it makes everybody feel like a beginner makes people feel we don't like being beginners we want to be experts at things. So we used to know where to find information. And now we feel like we don't know where to find information anymore which is why if we do do the the traditional print and the digital at the same time for a while and then slowly fade away the printed content it helps people to make that transition and not feel lost. You guys have any questions about this kind of stuff. What's going on in your own church. We'd love to know how we can help you make that transition to digital.