Sunday morning, I woke around 7:30 a.m. with my kids sleeping, my wife out of town and one foot of snow blanketing my front yard. Had I attempted to make it to the office just 10 minutes from my home, it would have been impossible.
The decision was made on Saturday by our church staff to cancel Sunday morning services, only the third time in our church history in six years this has taken place without any alternative worship time. Our final decision was the direct result of our partnership with the City of White House, and responding to the Code Red alert for residents to stay home and off the roads unless in emergency situations. By Monday afternoon, temperatures rose and the city is returning to its normal activities on Tuesday by default.
From my home, I loaded a social media graphic to pass the announcement and share. On Sunday morning, we sent a notification through our church app to cancel services and offer alternatives. Sitting on my couch Saturday night, I loaded a previous service from July 12, 2015 and the Crash the Chatterbox series, built the digital platform and released it at 9 a.m.
By Sunday evening - the message had been viewed 277 times, and our videos in total were viewed a record 415 times in one 12-hour period. We had 17 live viewers on a Periscope live broadcast from my recliner at 10:45 a.m. talking about the Gospel of Matthew and over 61 replay viewers in the next 24 hours.
We received $200 in first-time online giving, and exceeded our normal weekly budget online for giving with recurring givers. In total, our budget took a slight hit of around $1,000, but minimal compared to the possibility of nothing at all. It is quite possible that amount could be made up faithfully by those who attend next Sunday and double tithing during service.
Overall, our technological base was a HUGE success on a snow day.
Almost every church in White House and our surrounding area cancelled on Sunday. Many of those have no system of return for the missed date. A church with no social media presence, no interactive technology and no online giving may have suffered a huge setback by missing one week of service. Let's break down the numbers for a moment: A church averaging $4,000 per week during in-service tithes and offering by cash and check may have suffered a 20 percent budget hit for the month of January (based on a five-week month at $20,000 which is average for a medium-sized church in this area). A church with no online presence may have missed one of just five hours of corporate worship time with guests, congregants, kids and families. There is no getting the time and investment back, and it would appear that church is facing a monumental uphill climb. Since churches are volunteer-based attendance and giving-based budget, missing a week of service would be like Wal-Mart closing its doors for seven days, while still paying its employees and expenses and trying to generating corporate momentum.
Most of all, one week with a corporate church gathering makes a big impact on the momentum of the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ being delivered to those who are seeking the most powerful reason a church exists: to equip and edify, and evangelize those who will find an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ.
On August 11-12, 2016, Revolution Church will serve as a Nashville host site for the Global Leadership Conference by Willow Creek Church in Chicago, Ill., by satellite feed.
For Revolution Church, from the beginning we have placed an importance on technology. Here are some of the things you will find at Revolution Church to help advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ through technological means:
- An interactive church application for iOS and Android platforms.
- Digital media production including Pro-Presenter software, digital audio with in-ear monitors and post-production mixing, HD video camera recording then post-production remix with audio. Three in-service screens for live technology (words, video and graphics). Live broadcast of our second service on Periscope (through Twitter).
- A powerful social media platform and presence with a designed strategy for post times and target audience, including $5.00 per week budget for social media advertisements on Facebook to share videos of service.
- Online giving, accounting for over 40 percent of the church's income budget, and growing weekly in user sign-up.
- Square card-reader technology for merchandise sales of coffee cups, tee shirts, keychains and logo items in our welcome center.
- Two WiFi networks open (with password required) for congregants using technology during service. Online worship notes accessible by digital app.
- A network of open source resources with some of the largest churches in America, sharing free resources, videos, graphics, notes and digital files for the purpose of saving small churches money and time by using the resources of larger staff. Partnerships include NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC), Elevation Church (Charlotte) and LifeChurch.TV (Oklahoma City), Transformation Church (SC), and Willow Creek (Chicago).
- Interactive kids curriculum through The Gospel Project (Lifeway).
- Broadcast license partnerships through CCLI, CVLI and SermonSpice.
- Church Management Software and Kids-Check in through Elexio Inc.
There is a much greater reach than the local church. Our media platform reaches to hundreds, if not thousands, of people around the world. Soldiers deployed from Revolution Church can watch online from Iraq, Afghanistan and European or South Asian destinations. Missionaries can view the services from at least 10 different countries. Churches in other networks partner with us through technology, and best of all: the NUMBER ONE reason people attend Revolution Church is from watching or finding the church online, and seeking out the real thing, in person. Those guests have a very high retention rate.
Are you a stats person? Let me back that up. This is astounding.
In 2015, Revolution Church had 15,857 media views and 6,060 plays through our website, Vimeo, social media and embedding of other social networks. All-time, since 2010, Revolution Church has 141,183 media center loads or hits, and 35,080 video plays. The videos have been viewed in 78 countries around the world, and 90 undisclosed locations, including 253 plays from Portugal and 248 from Germany, most likely from military assignment of church members, community members and their families.
The Gospel is no longer "come and see." The church must reach into the digital age. Access to the Gospel has never been more prevalent, and never been more important.
Take the plunge, make a difference in your online footprint, and keep it professional, classy and an accurate representation of your church. Do not present what you are not; present who you are and allow your guests and partnerships around the world to get an verifiable representation of your local congregation.
We may not be a church of 1,000 locally. But we can reach thousands around the world. Thank you for sharing, and if we can help you, let us know how.
It costs money, it takes time and it spreads the message of Jesus. This is a worthwhile return of investment.
Live.Love.Serve. and thanks for checking in.
I love you all, and these are my thoughts.