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#EpiscopalResurrection: Rez 3 (Digital Evangelism)

By Ken Howard

Face it, people. If the fact that we have a group called “Church Marketing Sucks” is any indicator, we’ve got a lot to learn about digital evangelism. I know I do.

Granted there are a few who do it well. But most of us are not digital Jedi. Some of us don’t even want to be Padawan apprentices (I still have a sneaking suspicion that my former assistant left because I told her she had to be on Facebook). Even though I’ve been working at it for years, since most of what I have learned has been through revered ancient technique of trial and error, I still have to dedicate time each week just to learn what I am doing wrong.

There are so many digital channels to keep up with, each with their own protocols, etiquettes, and user bases. It’s hard to know which to use for what to reach who.

And we are each on our own for setting up our platforms (websites, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and who knows what else). We are each on our own for developing content. Each on our own for finding or constructing graphics. Because there is no central “place” in our church charged with doing that works. Just think what it would be like if we had access to training. Just think what it would be like of there were a central group that negotiated for discounted web services, a central repository of graphics and design services. Just think what it would be like if all of our websites could link.

This resolution proposes to spend $3 million to conduct a three-year online digital evangelism test to reach new people and new populations with the gospel of Jesus Christ and to connect them to local expressions of The Episcopal Church. So that we can: 

  • Take advantage of the millions of “micro-moments” which happen online daily, when people ask deep and important questions of search engines like Google (“Does God love me?” “Who is Jesus?” “Will I go to heaven?”);
  • Develop the editorial operations necessary to answer those questions in creative and compelling ways, informed by the worship and the theology of the Episcopal Church;
  • Develop relationships with key bloggers and social media influencers in target categories;
  • Build capacity (technical and staff) to create and nurture a database of prospects for referrals to local ministry;
  • Work with dioceses to develop a network of local churches, church plants, and ministries to receive these referrals;
  • Fund the advertising needed to attract and build an online audience.

The $3,000,000 proposed to enable this resolution is largely focused on building the kind of infrastructure to develop and provide the kinds of necessary help and resourcing I described above, including: ddownloadable, “evergreen” content to develop prospecting lists ($525,000 or $175,000 per year), daily content to cultivate prospects ($360,000 or $120,000 per year), original images and art work ($200,000), original video ($200,000 or $66,666 per year), audience development ($360,000 or $120,000 per year), staff ($1,707,750 or $569,250 per year), strategy consulting ($20,000 for first year only), and software ($150,000 or $50,000 a year).

Is it a lot of money?

No question.

Is it worth it?

Did I mention Church Marketing Sucks?


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