In my last post, “How can I help you help me help you?” I wrote about using forms and processes to be more effective and efficient in helping people. That post was getting even longer than usual, so I decided to do a part 2.
There is another way to be even more efficient and effective in helping people. That is by anticipating their needs and providing what they are looking for on-demand. I am talking about making information and resources available to read, download, watch, and explore.
On-demand resources are faster than filling out a form, way faster than picking up the phone, and are available 24 hours a day. While not everyone wants to go looking for information on their own, there are some of us who love it. Apparently, we are not a small group since Google reports 3.5 billion searches per day. That’s a lot of people searching for a lot of things.
What We Offer
As I mentioned in my last post, at Rio Texas Media Center, we field a lot of calls (and forms) about all sorts of communications and tech issues. When someone asks for help, we figure they might not be the only one who wants to know. So, the research we do and the knowledge we have lives at riotexas.org/media. There you can find information and advice about websites, sharing sermon audio, online giving, live streaming, social media, group text messaging and more. These are answers people can find instantly, without even calling, emailing or filling out a form. And the information is handy when someone does call or email. If someone is looking for information about text messaging, I can just send them here and tell them to email me if they have more questions.
In addition to the Media Center website, this blog has a lot of information about a whole cornucopia of church media, communications, and tech applications. I also have an accompanying YouTube channel for people who would like to watch rather than read. On YouTube I have a bunch of videos demonstrating the core functions of Squarespace, a whole series on sharing sermon audio on a website, and other miscellaneous videos.
What Could the Church Offer?
So, what sort of on-demand resources might a church offer? What questions do people have about your church? Can you answer them without anyone even having to ask? Some of the inquiries are those that I insist churches answer on their websites:
Where are and when do you worship?
Should someone need to call or email or fill out a form to find that out? Of course not. That information should be front and center on a church website.
What do you believe?
We sometimes assume that people know all about our faith and how it is lived out in our denomination and local church. But aren’t we reaching out to people who might not yet know Jesus? That information should be available at a basic level, and we should also consider some more in-depth information for those want to explore.
What can I expect when I get there?
If someone is thinking of visiting your church, they might want to plan ahead. They might want to know how early to get there, where to park, or what is available for children. They shouldn’t need to contact anyone to get that kind of information.
What do the people there look like?
That is a legitimate question. People are about to risk walking into a room full of people they have never met. Are they all young or are they older? Are they all wearing suits or shorts and t-shirts? Instead of encouraging them to park across the street on Sunday morning when church lets out to see who comes out, show them photos of your people!
What are the sermons like?
What if someone wants to hear a sample of the preaching at your church? Wouldn’t it be great if they could watch or, at least, listen to a sermon? Check out this page for information on how easy it can be to add sermon audio to your church’s website.
What is worship like?
Since video technology has become less expensive and more user-friendly, churches of any size can make video of worship services available. They can be live, pre-recorded, or both, allowing people to experience worship at your church when making a decision on whether or not to attend. Check out more information on live streaming at the Media Center.
As I wrote about in my post “What can the Church learn from Amazon PrimeNow?” the church can, and should, take this one step further. There are other things out there that people are looking for. While we would love them to come to church to find the answers to life’s biggest questions, that is not always where people are. What if the church could be available for them 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
Okay, it turns out there will be a part 3 to this series. In my next post, I will turn the tables. When you need help, from the Media Center, the annual conference, or really anyone, how can you go about getting that help? How can you avoid waiting on hold, talking to voicemail, or waiting forever for an email response? I will write about that next.