The Right Tools for Building Engagement

 In Blog, Connection

I recently had coffee with a young man who was graduating from college. He was unsure if he should start his own business, or go to work for someone else and he was looking for some advice.  I remember being in the same place years ago and most of the advice I received was less than helpful. Not wanting to do the same, I considered all of the lessons I have learned over the years, but much of what came to mind sounded like a line from Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go’.

You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

Great… but not exactly helpful. What I realized while silently rhyming in my head was that no skill, regardless of my role, has helped me more than the ability build relationships and be a connector of people. In many ways, that is at the heart of what aware3 does.

Building relationships and connecting people has been a skill developed by successful people forever, but how we do that has changed quite a bit even in our lifetimes. It was not that long ago that people had huge rolodexes of business cards. Keeping track of them was a pain and it wasn’t really scalable. How would you organize people? You could find yourself asking: Who was the lady that ran the risk management company and did she say she was looking for a marketing person or was the the person from the leadership development firm that I met?

Now that we have moved into the digital age, the power of being a connector is greater than ever before. We have the ability to sort, group, search and contact people all at the touch of our fingers. Using the tools available to us, we can develop connection, foster engagement, provide resources and value to more people than ever. But, this requires that we have the right tools and use them well. The church has been slower to embrace this approach, and we may be missing the opportunity to build relationships and create disciples in the process. Here are a few examples of how successful churches have used today’s tools to build relationships and connect people:

Engage with first-time guests

One of the most powerful steps in engaging visitors is to let them know that they have been seen. They took a risk to go to an unfamiliar place, most likely where they don’t know people. Let them know that their visit mattered enough to you to take note of it and reach out as a result. We all want to be noticed in a positive way. A great new way to do this is by using our new Outbound Text Messages.

Invite them to the club

We all have a desire to belong. It is hard-wired into us by our Creator. Let them know that you want them to join your church family. It may seem obvious, but there is power in saying it outloud. Additionally, let them know how they can engage in what’s happening at your church. Rather than having just your staff connect with them, you can also have your small group leaders reach out to them and invite them when it feels appropriate. Using your church’s mobile app they can find groups and register for events.

Create an engagement path

What are the ways that people engage in your church? Is it participation in groups like MOPS or choir? Are you a small group centric church? Is outreach and ministry participation how people get involved?  Churches that identify an engagement path for people to deepen their connection can communicate more clearly ‘next steps’ and have the ability to measure engagement over time. Using tags and groups you can communicate tailored messages to people based on engagement.

Provide useful content

We live in an ‘on-demand’ world. Need to answer a question? Google it. Want to hear a specific song? Click on Spotify. Putting resources in the palm of people’s hands allows them the ability to engage with it when they want to. Using podcasts, Bible study materials and even simple things like the church’s calendar, makes life easier for the people at your church. All of these are available in your church’s mobile app.

Building relationships and connecting people works. We all want to be known and to be helpful and to belong. If you do these things consistently, the core message you communicate to others is that they matter. Showing people that you value them is central to the gospel and it needs to be central to how we interact with others.

In what ways are you fostering connection and building relationships within your church?