Congregational Communication Audits

Friends,  with a new month comes a new training!

The COMMUNICATION AUDIT training module has been posted in our Leading Congregations Monthly member area complete with:

• A NEW Congregational Self-Audit Spreadsheet Template
• Session Notes
• Our live training edited into 20 discrete video segments so you can jump around with ease!
• Q&A responses from our live training
• Closed Captioning

Program members, see the handouts section of this module to download this template.

If you are thinking a full communication audit is too much to consider, if you are feel stressed at just the thought of looking at what this might entail, I have good news for you!

1) This session emphasized SELF-AUDITS your congregation can conduct in-house.
2)  I shared how you can start with a SIMPLE INVENTORY of your communication channels and then…
3) As inspired, do FOCUSED AUDITS on specific aspects of your ministry and communications.

Example: Look at your communication channels from the perspective of a specific audience you are seeking to reach.   Suppose you want to reach more young families.   What information, images, and invitations would help them determine your congregation is a match for them?  Develop a list of key items with your team, then review your channels and see if that content is represented.  You might find that a key channel rarely mentions children, families, or shows images with families.  From there you can start strategizing how to weave that content in, work more collaboratively on social media across ministry areas, or other actions.

Here’s how to access this module:

Leading Congregations Monthly Members

Here’s a teaser for NEXT MONTH’s session on the Ministry of Communication!

New Members, Want to Join Us?

Twitter Strategy for Congregations

Twitter is my favorite social media platform.

I use it to build connections with leaders, authors, and influencers around the world.  I use it to listen, research and learn.  I use it amplify the impact of justice leaders, sharing photos and videos during social justice events.

It should be no surprise that I love teaching religious leaders how to use Twitter with purpose!

Twitter is a powerful tool for congregational outreach, sharing your voices and values, and participating in public conversations on the justice issues of our time.

In May, I led a Leading Congregations Monthly training on strategies to support outreach and membership development, connecting with the local community, and bringing visibility to advocacy and witness efforts.

This training module is now available on-demand:

Existing members: Access this module
New members:  Learn more and enroll here

One of the reasons I encourage faith leaders to use Twitter is because I’ve had great success using it to amplify the voices of my network of justice leaders.  I know what we can accomplish!

I live a short subway ride from the Boston, MA Statehouse and regularly live Tweet coverage of protests.

For example, this clip from the start of the Boston #climatestrike made it into the featured Twitter moment about the student climate strike.  25,000+ views and nearly a thousand likes. 

Here are the Twitter stats for this tweet as of the publication of this post:

Following the strategies I cover in this training,  I use Twitter to build relationships, become a trusted voice, and use hashtags to share my content in a way that gets seen.   You can do this too, whether you’re focus is local, national, or global.

Below is an excerpt from this 90-minute training .  It covers some of the ways your  congregation can use hashtags to help people engage with your content.

• Your congregation’s city/town
• Your service themes or theme for that tweet’s content
• Larger established conversations you want to join
• Specific events

Every month we’re covering topics related to congregational growth, outreach, media as well as  trends requiring our attention.

Learn more and enroll here

The Future of Facebook, Congregations, and Meaningful Community

Does your congregation use Facebook?  If so, you need to be tracking changes to Facebook that are going to impact your strategy.  I discussed the announced changes and the implications in my UU Planet Leaders Facebook Group. The recording is below.

Make sure to subscribe to email updates so you can join the live conversation! Not on Facebook or just want recordings? Subscribe to my Youtube Channel.

 

 

What did Zuck say to promp this conversation? At the F8 conference, Mark Zuckerberg shared a vision for the future of Facebook including an intensified focus privacy, encryption, ephemeral content, and connecting people with “meaningful community” via Facebook groups. The group focus is already rolling out. You’ve seen the changes if you updated your app.

As Facebook works to drive people into groups, we need to make sure your congregation has a Facebook strategy that takes advantage of this group focus and helps people successfully connect with your congregation offline, face-to-face.

Tracking these changes and discussing related strategies is something I’ll continue to discuss via social media and in my Leading Congregations Monthly trainings. If you’re interested in this topic, make sure you subscribe to my email newsletter so you get notifcations for live chats, video releases (like the one above), and training topics.

This session was recorded May 10, 2019 in my Facebook group for Unitarian Universalist Leaders.

Here’s Zuckerberg’s full F8 talk:

 

Ministry and Communication Upcoming Training

A training update for Unitarian Universalist congregational leaders and friends, plus a Facebook Live session on Friday!

Today it is hard to separate MINISTRY + MEDIA + COMMUNICATION.  I’m constantly talking with leaders and no that the communication demands on congregations are significant.  You don’t have to figure this stuff out alone.

Over the next three months my Leading Congregations Monthly trainings as well as this Friday’s Facebook Live session are on communication and ministry themes.

Here’s what’s on the schedule:

This Wednesday, May 8th at 7pm EST – 90 Minute Training
5 Essential Twitter Strategies for Congregations! 

Twitter is my favorite social media platform and is a powerful tool for outreach, sharing our voices and values, and leading on the issues of our time.  Our focus will be on strategies to support outreach and membership development, connecting with your local community, and bringing visibility to your advocacy and witness efforts.

Existing members: Access via our member area
New members:  Learn more and enroll here

Friday, May 10th at 12:30pm EST  – 20 Minute Facebook Live
The Future of Facebook and Meaningful Community

UPDATE: Watch recording of this session

This Friday I’m going live in my UU Planet Leaders group to discuss the implications of Mark Zuckerberg’s recent presentation on the future of Facebook.  I’ll discuss their intensifying focus on Facebook groups and helping people connect with “meaningful communities” online. Preview on my take: We need to be countercultural and use digital spaces to get people into face-to-face communities, like your congregation.  And we need a clear digital path to do so. Here’s the link to Friday’s Facebook Live video stream player.  I’ve already scheduled it. You can go to that link then click the button to be notified when I go live.

Know someone else who would appreciate this conversation? Forward this message to them.

Leading Congregations Monthly Summer Schedule
All sessions are recorded and available on demand in our member area.  When you subscribe you can join the live sessions and watch recordings.  Learn more.

Wednesday, June 12th at7pm EST
Congregational Communication Audits
What are they, why they need to be conducted, strategies, resources

Wednesday, July 10th at at 7pm EST
The Ministry of Communication
Staffing, coordination, and collaboration

Wednesday, August 14th at at7pm EST
Training Greeters (Sunday Greeters)
What they need to do, know, how many to have, other considerations

Have ideas for trainings or Facebook Live discussions I can offer to support you and your congregation?  I’d love to hear from you.  Contact me.

Thanks!
Peter

Small Group Growth Strategies

Many congregations that want to grow get stuck small because they don’t have the relational structures in place to allow for growth.

That’s why my March Leading Congregations Monthly live training  is focused on small group growth strategies. If you want to grow your congregation, I hope you’ll join us.

Family-sized congregations (up to around 50 people) are often kept small by their close relationships, with members not wanting to disrupt intimacy. They like knowing everyone, they like being a family.

Pastoral-sized congregations (up to around 150 people) tend to stay small because the minister serves as the hub of everything. If you draw a map of relationships in one of these congregations, it looks like a hairball. I have colleagues who call this the “hairball ministry” model.

You can want to grow, but unless you change the structure, after a certain point, there just isn’t the capacity to grow. That’s where growth oriented small group ministry comes in.

Small group ministry, when designed and implemented correctly, offers the vision, leadership, and relational capacity congregations need to grow.

That’s what we’re discussing in next week’s Leading Congregations Monthly live training: Small Group Growth Strategies.  Learn More.

Some of you might not know that small groups are how I got into working with our congregations nationally.

After successfully using small group ministry with youth, young adults in my home congregation, I launched the UU Small Group Ministry Network in 2001 and in 2004 relaunched it with colleagues as a nonprofit and affiliate organization of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

That effort helped establish the popular approach to small group ministry used in Unitarian Universalist congregations.

While small group ministry is common now, what isn’t as widely known is what you need to do to grow small groups and use small groups as engines for congregational growth.

After helping to popularize small group ministry, I stepped away for a time to help pioneer our use of social media in our congregations. Both are ways to connect people with our congregations, which is my passion.

I have led weekend retreats in which I’ve shared the deeper growth strategies, but I haven’t offered this content through online training.

But that’s changed thanks to Leading Congregations Monthly which is helping more leaders access my training.

This month I’m going to share core strategies you can use to grow your group leaders, grow your groups, and grow your congregation.

This is a 90-minute live training happening Wednesday, March 13th at 7pm EST.

All of our Leading Congregations Monthly trainings are RECORDED with video recordings with CLOSED CAPTIONING and HANDOUTS available in the program MEMBER AREA.

If you’re committed to growing your congregation and don’t have a thriving small group system actively supporting the health and growth of your ministry, this is an important training for you.

Click here to get all the details about Leading Congregations Monthly  including the benefits, how you can include teams, and bonuses if you join. Bonuses will be available in your library immediately after you join Leading Congregations Monthly.

This month’s bonuses are:
• Relational Volunteer Recruitment with Peter Bowden (mini-course)
• Social Media and Membership Growth with Peter Bowden (full course)

Thank you for your leadership and let me know if you have questions.

In cooperation,
Peter

 

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