What if you could reach more people and grow your church membership in 1/4 the time it takes you currently, using a simple digital evangelism process. Implementing the Del Method will do just that.
In fact, implementing the Del Method process will break down the barriers of distance and will help you find people that want to hear from you. The best part is that the process is simple to implement, and you will be up and running in no time.
The church in the digital world.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, I would have used the first part of this article trying to convince you to go digital but that has changed.
The church usually takes its time before jumping onto new trends or technology, but this time is different. We have no choice but to adapt and utilize technology to connect with our audiences.
If your church has been using some kind of video or audio conferencing to deliver sermons and connect with your members, congratulations, and welcome to digital evangelism.
To those who have been living under a rock and don't know what's going on, let me welcome you to a new way of worship.
Welcome to Church Online
I know that the virus will soon pass, and we will go back to church, but the truth is that many of us now realize how important technology is and would like to incorporate it into our worship and evangelism efforts beyond COVID-19.
This article is not about convincing you to go digital or even about the tools you should be using; however, this is about creating a digital ministry process to help you successed online.
If you've been using Zoom or similar platforms, then you are already a step ahead, and congratulations are in order.
The question you should now ask yourself is, "how do we use technology beyond the coronavirus?"
The Digital evangelism process
I am sure you've already discovered that doing church in the cyberspace is so different from your regular offline church. We thank God that a lot of our members have caught up with using the internet and are getting used to the idea.
However, you will soon find out that church online is much more than Zoom conferencing. In fact, Zoom is just a video conferencing tool that allows you to deliver live video streams to your members.
To fully take advantage of the tools, you need to understand how people behave or interact online.
You need a process that helps you deliver the right message and support for your members and the world at large.
That's why we created the Del Method - a digital evangelism and outreach process used by churches and faith-based nonprofits to reach, connect, and grow their influence online.
In this article, I am going to show you how to implement the Del Method for your church and faith-based organization even if you have zero technical experience.
Table of contents
- Build your digital ministry
- Build your team
- Identify the problem you want to solve
- Define your audience
- Discover your member's needs and challenges
- Segment your members according to their needs
- Prescribe the right solutions
- Analyze and grow
Build Your Digital Ministry
Building a dedicated digital ministry should be the first thing you do. Not to be confused with the media department, the digital ministry is all about carrying out the mission of your church online.
To run a fruitful digital ministry, one must have some tech knowledge, but a strong passion for learning should be just as important.
Step #1 - Building your A-Team
Even though we do not have a recommendation on how many members you should have in your team, we highly recommend that you have enough people to do the work to avoid burnout.
Here are some of the duties to be carried out by the digital ministry team;
- Content Creators - Copywriters for social media, website, Youtube, etc.
- Designers - website, graphics, print, etc.
- Media - videographers, video editors, sound, etc
- Surveys creators, and researchers
- Facilitators and Directors to make sure things are moving according to plan and aligned with your church mission and goals.
Before you get discouraged by the list above list, please remember that you can quickly learn these skills or you may also hire outside help to get you started.
Step #2 - Identify the problem/s you want to solve
At the onset, I would like to establish that digital evangelism is different from offline evangelism.
You see, in the offline church, people attend the church based on proximity, faith, or simply because their family goes there.
On the other hand, people go online to search for answers to a problem or pain point. Therefore, unless you are providing the solutions, your church will be invisible online.
One of the biggest mistakes many evangelists make online is to create content that is not indexed and searchable.
It's ok to create short videos of encouraging messages for your audience, but it's difficult for people outside your reach or circle to find your content.
Therefore, you need to create content that people are searching for.
After building your team, you need to discuss and identify the problems your ministry wants to solve.
The Bible in James 1:27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
People always look to the church for help in everything life and we are commissioned to do just that.
The greatest mistake we can make as a church is to assume that people go to church for one reason and one reason only. Below is a graph of a study by Pew Research Center on why people go to church.
The graph shows various motivational factors that lead people to attend church; therefore, the church needs to know this information so we can serve the people better.
When people go online, they do not search for the name of your church but a solution to a problem or pain-point. Therefore, if your goal is digital outreach, then you have to provide value and solutions to people's problems for you to be visible online.
Picking a problem you want to solve
We are meant to believe that the church has all the answers, and that's fine, but to make an impact online, you have to narrow the field down to a few issues. In marketing, we call these niches ( services or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population.)
The first thing to consider when picking a problem to solve is by looking within. You have to find something that is sustainable and that which you can do without any external help.
If you need some inspiration on some topics people want the church to solve, we have a great article, "8 issues youth in church wants you to talk about."
Let's assume we've identified a problem of single motherhood in our community, and we have people in our church who are passionate about helping. The next step will be to validate the problem or solution.
Step #3 - Validation
Validation is a process of ensuring that the service or solution you are about to deploy meets your target audience's expectations.
Without validation, you risk spending time, money, and resource of things people don't need.
Let's take the example of single motherhood and see how everything falls in place.
1. Decide whether this is an in-reach or outreach campaign.
The main difference between an in-reach and outreach campaign is how you collect data. As you can tell, the in-reach campaign will be much easier because you already know your audience compared to outreach.
For this example, we are going to assume that we are running an outreach campaign to help and provide valuable resources to single mothers around the world.
Research is the most critical part of the validation process. Please note that the goal of the initial research is to establish a demand for your service of solution.
There are so many ways to do research, but I will go over a few easy ways you can do quickly and for free.
Google is probably the first place you should go because it's free and has a lot of data. However, if you want to quickly find out the number of searches for a particular keyword, you will need an extension called Keyword Surfer.
The images below show some useful extra information you usually don't get from google search.
Here is what we get when we search the term “single motherhood” in google with the keyword surfer extension installed.
As you can see, the keyword tool shows that there are about 870 monthly searches for the term single motherhood.
Eight hundred and seventy searches look good, but let's take it a step further and search for "Single mother."
Keyword Surfer now shows that there are almost fifty thousand unique monthly searches for the term single mother.
Let's continue our search with a few other tools.
Reddit is a network of communities based on people's interests and a great place to find people talking about our search term. We did a quick search, and here are the results.
As you can see, one subreddit community talking about single mothers has close to three million members.
Let's look at one more important search platform.
Facebook Groups Search
A Facebook group is a place where you can go to find and connect with people who understand what you're going through, and a great place to find your ideal audience.
As you can see, Facebook groups are a great place to look. You will find a lot of groups for any keyword or issue you are trying to solve.
Read through each group's description before joining, and make sure the group rules allow you to post and receive feedback on your research.
Step # 4 - Evaluate
From the images above, we know that a lot of people are talking about single motherhood, and it's clear that people are looking for solutions or at least some kind of support.
The next step is to go deeper into your research to discover what issues people are talking about. Make sure to collect all the different problems and solutions they want.
You can download a list of questions or other search terms related to single motherhood that people are searching for below.
Once you've collected the information you need, it's time to evaluate the problem and solution. Here are some questions you need to answer at the end of this process:
- Is there a high demand for your solution?
- Do you have in-house experts to deliver the solutions?
- Do you have enough personnel to run the campaign?
- Do you have funding?
- Is this an in-reach or outreach campaign?
- What is your mission and goals for this project?
- What does success look like?
Answering these questions will help you prepare for the next steps.
Implement The Del Method
Up until now, all we've done is establish the demand for the problem and solution. Since evangelism has been equated to fishing sometimes, I will use a fishing analogy to explain the next steps.
Here we go.
The first step of the digital evangelism process is like discovering that the river has fish in it. We know that there’s fish because we say it swimming around. However, we do not know what type of fish it is.
The next step is to find out what type of fish it is so we can get the right equipment and bait to catch it.
So, we know that people are looking for solutions or help with single motherhood, but we really don't know who these people are. Knowing them on a personal level will help us discover their needs and the right prescription to their problems.
There are four stages of implementing the Del Method.
Step One - Define Your Audience
I know that identifying a target audience for the church is going against everything we know. The church is not supposed to be selective; however, targeting everyone is like throwing a net into the river without knowing what type of fish you want to catch.
The result? You will end up not catching anything.
It is, therefore, vital that we identify who we want to reach and why.
When choosing and identifying your audience, it is essential to keep the problem we want to solve in mind.
For practical reasons, let's continue with our keyword, "single motherhood." We have collected all the information we need and decided to narrow it down to help "single mothers raising sons."
The first thing to do is research what problems single mothers raising boys are facing. You can easily do this by searching social media groups and community sites like Facebook, Quora, and Reddit, as we did earlier.
Step Two - Taking the Guesswork Out of The Equation
One of the biggest mistakes we can make online is to assume we know what people want. In fact, it is the biggest reason why many people fail online.
The best way to take the guesswork out of the equation is by ASKING our target audience themselves.
Before creating a solution, it is vital to find out what kind of answers people are looking for, and the in-reach process will look different from the outreach campaigns. There are a few things to consider, as outlined below.
In-reach campaign (local church)
Running a campaign for your local church will be easier than your outreach campaign because you will be dealing with people you already know, and it'll be easier to collect feedback.
This process can easily be achieved by running a simple survey. You can use survey tools such as Google forms, survey monkey, or merely a paper survey.
Even though you can ask as many questions as you like, we highly recommend you ask a straightforward question.
When it comes to raising a son/s as a single mother, what is your biggest challenge?
Asking the worldwide audience will be different from your local audience. First, most people don't know you, and they do not trust you yet. However, you can still carry out a simple survey in terms of asking a question online.
We are going to do another research as we did before only this time will be more specific. Google will be the first place we go, but I highly suggest using online communities to ask the questions because you will get feedback from real people experiencing the issues.
According to Google, there are about fifty thousand unique searches of the term single mother.
Here are some places you could post your questions
- Facebook Groups - Search and join as many single mother's groups on Facebook. Please make sure to search all posts before posting.
- Reddit - Search for subreddit groups that have to do with single mothers raising sons. Again search and observe old posts to figure out the answers to your question. If non, then go ahead and ask.
- Quora.com - Quora uses collections and spaces in place of groups. It is a great place to discover what people are talking about. If you don't find what you are looking for, then post a question.
Step Three - Segment according to the responses
Unlike the offline church where people come to consume whatever you present to them, the cyberspace is different.
If someone comes across your content and realizes that it's not what they're looking for, they do not stay; they move on to another site or content.
It is for this reason that we encourage you to segment your audience so you can give them the right information and help they need.
If you are running an in-reach campaign, segmenting can be as easy as separating people into groups.
However, your online campaign will look a little different. You will be segmenting the issues or problems you are trying to solve.
Once you have a few segments, it's time to put some faces to the groups by creating personas.
Implement The Del Method - Personas
Once you collect some information or feedback, it's time to create your personas. If you don't have an actual person that represents the segment, then it is ok to create a fictional character that represents the group.
In this example, we have three distinct personas.
Persona One - Husband is deceased
Persona Two - Husband is incarcerated
Persona Tree - Husband is around but wants nothing to do with the child
Although minute, knowing this information will help you create solutions or resources that are helpful to a particular group because no one solution is good for everyone.
Many people skip this stage; however, you must define your ideal audience to provide them with the right information or help.
A persona is simply a snapshot of your ideal target audience. This information will be helpful as you start to work on the solution.
Remember that you are touching one person at a time and not a group, therefore make sure that you have a clear picture of the person you are trying to help.
Step Four - Create The Cure
When it comes to creating a cure, it is essential to understand that most people online are looking for a quick fix to their problems.
For example, one of the most searched terms on weight loss is" how to lose weight without exercise." - This shows that people know exactly what they want.
Let's say you have a video or blog that teaches people how to transform their lives by changing what they eat. Do you think someone looking for weight loss without exercise will click on your link?
The answer is no because this person is looking for a specific solution to the problem.
You see, people are looking for a quick fix ( band-aid ) to their problem, and in order to help, you have to offer both the band-aid and the cure.
How do you know what a quick fix is?
Well, I am glad you asked. Hoping that you've done all the steps above, you should have a clear picture of the problem and the solutions people are looking for, and you've written them down.
What about a cure?
I am glad you asked that too.
One of my favorite quotes by Henry Ford says, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."
You see, this is when your church mission and goals come in. We've already established that people think they know what they want, but the truth is that they don't, and it is our job to figure that out.
Here is the equation.
We give them what they want and then offer them a cure that is life-changing and everlasting. We give them Jesus.
Now that we have the cure, it's time to figure out how we are going to create a product.
In the case of providing support to single mothers raising sons, we may decide to create some kind of online course or community where we deliver valuable information and support.
Or we may want to offer a one on one life-coaching class or simply invite them to our online worship services.
Whatever the goal or product, it is important to put it in the fall front of everything we do because we will be driving everyone to that product.
Step Five - Delivery
Now that we have the product, it's time to get those digital disciples working.
The first step in the delivery process is creating the content for delivery. The best thing about digital evangelism is that you don't even have to be an expert in a particular field for you to offer solutions.
You can find experts online that are willing to help you.
Implement The Del Method - Evangelism Funnel
We know that people want a quick fix, but your goal is to prescribe the CURE. What is your ultimate goal for your ministry?
- Do you want people to come to church?
- Do you want people to join your online community where you can help them further?
- Do you want them to register for your webinar or school?
Putting your ministry goal front and center is very important because everything you do online should lead people to your goal ( CURE)
To do this, we are going to create an evangelism funnel - a process of turning visitors into believers.
In simple terms, an evangelism funnel is a path or journey that someone takes from becoming aware of Jesus down to when they become a believer.
Here are the stages of the evangelism funnel.
Awareness - This is the stage when someone becomes aware of your services.
So we have both the CURE and a few quick fixes to the problem, and we are now ready to go out and engage with the people on the web.
There are so many ways to deliver and engage with people online.
Build a community - creating a community is probably the most effective way of engaging and delivering your solutions. The best part is that creating a community is easy and free in most cases.
Content Creation - If building a community is not for you, then you can create content that solves people's problems. Here are a few ways to create content online.
If you want to learn the ins and outs of content creation via copywriting for your digital ministry, we have a FREE Checklist you can download below.
- Digital Summits
The goal is to engage directly with your target audience to create interest in your solution. Monitor and answer questions participate in the discussions in the groups and community.
Although you don't want to sound like a marketer, your goal is to offer them the quick fixes and also point them to your cure.
Once people get value from you, they will regard you as an influencer or expert; therefore, they will come back for more, and it's at this time that you point them to the cure.
Analyze and Grow
The last part of the Del Method is to gather data, analyze it, and grow.
One great thing about cyberspace is that you can monitor your engagement. For example, every social media platform will give you some kind of insight into your audience.
In a case where you run online presentations, you will also be able to know how many people attended, and their level of engagement.
Knowing this information will allow you to discover more things about your audience and help you serve them better.
The most crucial step is to always request feedback from your audience.
If you want to future proof your church or ministry, then you have no choice but to get on the digital evangelism train.
Before the coronavirus hit, many of our churches were comfortable with their offline church, but that has changed.
In fact, a lot of churches are now looking into digital evangelism because that's the only way they can connect with their members.
That is all good, but cyberspace is so different from the offline church, and you have to learn the ins and outs of digital evangelism to make an impact.
The Del Method is a process that will help you hit the ground running. We have compiled some of the most effective digital strategies used by digital marketers to reach, connect, and make billions of sales every day.
We understand that using technology is not easy, especially if you only have volunteers doing the work, but the Del Method process will help you through it all.