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5 Trends Church Communications Leaders Should Watch in 2013

Responsive

Image via Mashable

Things are changing rapidly in the world of communications tools. I’m even writing a book about how to communicate an unchanging gospel in such a rapidly changing world. On LinkedIn’s blog, Ilya Pozin shared 9 trends entrepreneurs need to watch in 2013, and four of them (my first four below) jumped out at me concerning the world of church communications.

1. Crowdfunding

With the flow of capital to entrepreneurs becoming smaller and smaller each year, we’re likely to see an even greater rise in crowdfunding platforms. In fact, these collectively generous communities are estimated to transact as much as $500 billion in 2013.

2. Going Global

Today’s technological world allows us access to customers from all over the globe. Bringing successful U.S. business models into developing or trailing countries presents an opportunity for startups in every industry. Startups like Pheed, 2U, and Threadless have already made the jump into the global waters with successful outcomes.

3. Better Social Platforms

The need for higher quality content online will certainly drive a social trend in 2013 with the creation of more advanced content-driven social networks. Pheed is an example of a social platform that I feel will reach even larger audiences in 2013.

4. Great Emphasis On Company Culture

Creating a positive company culture will be of stronger emphasis for startups in 2013. Many startups are taking new steps toward building cultures that define their products. One step I firmly believe in: dismantling hierarchies, which can eliminate micromanaging and other attitudes that squash innovation.

5. Responsive Web Design

And a fifth, not mentioned by Pozin, but definitely more vital than ever in the upcoming year will be responsive web design, which refers to a website’s ability to detect a user’s browser size or device and re-arrange and adjust its content to fit. My site, along with pastors.com, were converted to responsive designs earlier this year and GraceHillsChurch.com will follow suit in the next month or so.

These are five of many. What else is happening that church communications leaders need to be thinking about?

What the Greatest Minds In Church Communications Know

Very little… in a good way.

Last night, I sat in a big room at Saddleback where I was surrounded by geniuses in the field (speakers and panelists from Cultivate 2011 as we held three brief conversations about three different themes:

  • How do we keep things simple?
  • How do we keep things social?
  • How do we make things viral?

And here are the big themes I walked away with.

  • None of us know much. We know trends. We know tools. We have a handle on culture. We can articulate best practices, but things are moving so fast around us that none of us have it all nailed down.
  • We are thinking, listening, and learning – all of which are more valuable than knowing.

We live in times of unprecedented opportunities for world evangelism in which borders (literal and figurative) are collapsing between nations, languages, and cultures. Because of technology, more people are sharing their faith than ever before. There’s plenty of room for debate about that, but I’m convinced that evangelism is more accessible than ever before. And so my role, as a Pastor, is to equip believers for ministry, which for me includes talking about how to use new tools, how to spread great content and ideas, and how to build real relationships in a virtual world.

At the conclusion of the night, I loved what Sherry Surratt said in summary – “I always consider a learning experience like this a success when we raise more questions than answers.” Keep thinking.

photo source: hillaryandanna

Jolt! by Phil Cooke. Make Change Work For You

Jolt! Get the Jump On a World That's Constantly ChangingChange is guaranteed to be consistent. Our personal growth is not.

I first met Phil Cooke at a conference at Prestonwood Baptist Church a few years ago where he signed a copy of another of his books for me – Branding Faith. Listening to Phil speak to our breakout session about media and branding fed my hunger to know how to communicate more effectively. Phil has a knack for such tough subjects.

In his latest work, Jolt!: Get the Jump on a World That’s Constantly Changing, Phil spends a chapter detailing with a barrage of data the alarming rate of change going on around us. If the reader stops at the end of chapter one, things will get rather tough emotionally as our heads continue to spin, bewildered by the sheer momentum of the changing of our culture, which spirals out of control continually. But Phil doesn’t stop there. In fact, the data is just the introduction.

Jolt! is a manual for navigating the turbulent waters of change as well as a challenge to embrace change and grow through it. Phil talks about his own experience of “hitting a wall” and being forced into pursuing his big dream. Had sudden and abrupt change not entered the equation (in the form of losing his steady job), Phil never would have stepped out in faith and chased the bigger goal God had for him.

The same is true of many of us. Fear of change (or fear of the unknown future) paralyzes us and causes our growth to stunt – unless we fight that freezing tendency and run straight into the change, using it to our advantage at every possible turn.

This is not just a book for leaders or even believers – it’s a book for everyone who lives in our hectic, high-priced, recession-challenged climate of unending change. It’s a book for everyone who wants to get a positive grip on change once and for all!

Get It On Amazon

How to Promote Your Online Church Campus

THIS is cool! Jay and Jordan Kranda put this together (possibly with other conspirators) as a way to promote the Saddleback online campus. Jay has a big heart for this ministry and it shows. I want to make some observations after you watch…

There are several things to learn from this video promotion…

  • Spreading your content around on sites like Youtube opens another pathway into your ministry reach.
  • Doing quality video in HD shows professionalism.
  • Being human is essential. Being “ministerial” can create barriers.
  • Additional imagery is well-placed throughout the video showing very simply how to connect.
  • There’s a clear call to action at the end. What should you do next? Connect. Click. Email us.
  • It’s exactly 1 minute, but contains all it needs to contain.
  • Jay Kranda has cool hair.
  • If you’re going to sneak into Rick Warren’s office and take a secret video, don’t let Brandon Cox find it or he’ll write a whole blog post about how cool your rogue act of rebellion was.

There are plenty of questions to answer about how technology and faith are merging, but if you’re going to offer an online campus, this is a great way to get the word out! My only complaint is the use of comic sans… bad typographical mojo!

You Need to Know Kerry Bural (@KerryBural)

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A little over a year ago, I was entering a period of searching for God's will in my life. I felt tugged in different directions. I love being a Pastor and believe I'm called to it, but I also have a huge passion for communications, media, and design. One of the conversations that shaped my present assignment was with Kerry Bural.

Kerry went to seminary, but is passionate about church and ministry communications. While I was struggling with the need to be either a Pastor OR a communications guy, Kerry encouraged me to be open to BOTH, and I'm so thankful he did. Just a few months later, I heard from Saddleback Church and I'm now a Pastor who gets to specialize in communications.

Kerry is wise and insightful. He gets to work on cool projects. He writes an awesome blog at ResonateOrDie.com and serves as Principal of the Resonate Group. He's an encourager, a good coach, and a go to specialist in the field of church and ministry communications. You need to know Kerry.

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