01 Mar Advancing the Gospel In a Post-Covid World, Part 1 By Eric Smith
Innovate. Propagate. Accelerate.
What do these three words mean in terms of advancing the gospel in a post-covid world?
To innovate is to make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas or products, or to introduce something new.
To propagate is to spread and promote an idea theory widely.
To accelerate is to begin to move more quickly or to increase in amount or extent.
Technological platforms now exist where we can market to people like never before. We have the ability to reach the same audience time and time again and be laser focused without ever leaving our homes. And pastors, we need to be willing to innovate, because there are new ways of getting the gospel out. We don’t want to do the same thing over and over again if it’s not producing results. This is the definition of insanity.
We need to be looking for new ways to propagate the message of the gospel, the good news to a lost and dying world, and touch lives. The world needs the good news now more than ever, amen?
Through the use of technological advances and tools and resources now available, we can accelerate in impacting people like never before. Through my company, Smith Media Group, we assist ministries with 18 different services. We didn’t start out 18; we introduced just one at a time. The Bible says in Luke 16:10, that when we’re faithful with the little, God gives us more, so over the years I would pray and ask God to help me to establish new strategies, and He would pour ideas into my heart and spirit, and we would develop new services from them.
Habakkuk 2:2 says to write the vision plainly so they know how to run with it. For Smith Media Group, the scripture that stirred my heart was Mark 16:15, in which Jesus told His disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. I didn’t read that as an option; I read it as a command – and I was stirred by that command! The Lord has blessed us by allowing us to play a part in over 27.5 million people coming to Christ over the last 7 years, and we’re now believing God for 100 million souls!
The church has a history of being resistant before it’s receptive. Think about how back in 1916 when the radio came to be, churches thought it was of the devil. Then in 1927, television came out. And again, most churches didn’t see the value in it. In 1983 the internet was developed, and again the church ran away from it. In 1997 social media launched, and the church looked at it with suspicion. Now billions of people have been touched by ministries utilizing these platforms to share the Word of God all hours of the day and night!
I believe churches need to embrace technology as a ministry tool. They need to be on the cutting edge, innovative, utilizing what’s out there, so that they can propagate and accelerate the message of the gospel. Here are several opportunities I believe churches should consider as they choose the best technology for their message:
Television Ads. Television the number one branding tool in the world today. While the youngest generations are finding their way online for pretty much everything, all of the generations before are still turning on their televisions to hear the news, watch sports, catch their favorite sitcoms and more. My company utilizes a platform that allows churches to place an ad before their target audience and share about the church or upcoming special events as their audience watches television and then surfs the internet. Here’s how it works:
Thanks to technology algorithms, we can now track the habits of our intended audience. We can know that a certain person watches Fox News and goes to ESPN afterwards. We can set the church ad to follow them to whatever television network they choose to view, and then when they turn the TV off, we can follow them online to their most frequented websites!
Regardless of whether that person is watching television through Roku, Sling, Xbox, Chromecast, Apple TV, Pluto TV, TooVee, Vudu, Playstation or any other device, we can follow them. When they grab their tablet or smartphone, the church ad follows them there as well. Really, this allows your church’s voice and message to have a much greater chance of being recognized! We’ve helped churches, colleges, and Christian schools use these platforms, and the results are encouraging! One of our schools had a 1/3 increase in enrollment in the last year by using these strategies! Television advertisement is a great way of getting your message before the people.
Search Campaigns. Don’t you want your church to be seen when people are searching on the web for local bodies of believers? For just a few hundred dollars a month, every time people go on Google, the largest search engine in the world, or Yahoo and Bing, other prominent engines, and put in keywords like “find a good church in my city” or “friendly church near me,” whatever keywords they use, your church will show up in the results!
Pastors know how much money they spend to bring a family to their church. If I polled the pastors in affiliation with Significant Church right now, they would probably said they’ve spent thousands of dollars trying to reach new families through a variety of means. But with online search campaigns, prospective visitors are searching for themselves, and your church is coming up in the results! You’re no longer trying to put a carrot in front of them. The carrot is already there. They’re looking for God. They’re looking for church. You’re simply entering their radar as they search. They find you, hit your website, see all the good things God’s doing with you, and they see your children’s church and youth ministries, your benevolence, your outreaches. They’re pulled in! Churches we work with grow every month because of effective search campaigning.
Next time, I’ll share four more opportunities to consider in terms of advancing the gospel in a post-covid world. I hope you’ll come back to read more!