What Matters, What Doesn’t, and How to Measure the Real Wins
It feels like everyone has been talking about what to measure now that ministry has moved primarily online, and we’re hearing from pastors that it’s a bit overwhelming and confusing.
I get it—and I’m a metrics guy. There’s been great content released in the last few weeks about engagement and metrics and video watch times and live stream views, etc. It’s really easy to get down in the weeds on these things and miss what’s really important.
Overall, we’re sensing one big miss:
Churches have over-relied on programs and events for a very long time. We’re essentially still doing it now, just virtually.
Truly, you can’t fake the feeling of being in a large crowd for a shared experience. We shouldn’t be trying to. We have to stop applying our live in-person strategies to digital and expecting similar results.
But we could take this moment to simplify… to reorient our ministries around the strategies that produce the most fruit.
An effective digital strategy follows a clear ministry strategy.
So, because we know this topic has gotten overwhelming, we wanted to see if we could help. We’ve had focused conversations with half a dozen churches in the last couple of weeks to learn more about the questions you’re asking.
For this episode, we invited Tiffany Deluccia, our director of sales and marketing, to join us on the show to give a different perspective.
I think you’re going to find this conversation helpful. Ultimately, we need to be giving the most attention to tracking things that help us make decisions that align what we’re doing online with our bigger picture ministry goals.
And—Someone has to own the alignment of the digital strategy with the ministry strategy.
Here’s some good news: If you’re the senior pastor, it doesn’t need to be you.
(In fact, we’ve been talking about the roles you can and can’t delegate. Podcast subscribers even get a BRAND NEW ebook called 4 Roles a Senior Pastor Can’t Delegate for free right now.)
In this episode, Amy and I interview Tiffany to help you learn more about what to measure when it comes to digital engagement, and what you can ignore. We discussed:
- Vanity metrics, just plain unhelpful metrics, and metrics that need to be looked at in combination with others
- Why most of what senior church leaders need to measure has not really changed, and who on your team SHOULD own digital engagement metrics (and why it might not be your current communications director)
- What it means to align your digital strategy to your ministry strategy, and how a true move from analog to digital will reframe how you structure your team for the long-haul
- Why true measures of engagement ALWAYS include first steps and next steps, and why that may change the kinds of content you need to create to share online
- Why some churches can ignore this whole topic, and how to know if you’re one of them :-)
Leader Conversation Guide
Want to take this conversation back to a staff or senior leadership team meeting?
Our Show Notes subscribers get a PDF download that recaps the episode content and includes a discussion guide you can print out and use at an upcoming meeting.
Opt-in here and get the Leader Conversation Guide for this episode, as well as access to the archive.
Let Us Know on Social Media
We use #unstuckchurch on Twitter, and we start a real-time conversation each Wednesday morning when the episode drops. We’d really love to hear from you during this time:
- How can we be praying for you as a lead and your church?
- What stories can you share of ways churches are responding well during this crisis and focusing on opportunities instead of loss?
Links & Resources from the Episode
- What Should Churches Be Measuring? 4 Questions You Need to Answer First
- Why Church Communications is Stuck in 2004 | Episode 61
- 7 Shifts Churches Need to Make Because of the Coronavirus
- Coronavirus Response Resources for Pastors
- NEW – 4 Roles a Senior Pastor Can’t Delegate eBook
Getting clarity about what you MUST own makes it simple to decide what to delegate. Subscribe to the podcast to get it for free!
Listen to other episodes in this series:—
- How Churches Responded & Where We Go Next | Episode 141
- 7 Shifts Churches Need to Make Because of the Coronavirus | Episode 142
- Pastors: 4 Roles to Prioritize Right Now | Episode 143
Many pastors have reached out to us and mentioned noticing both declining numbers in their current congregation and the lack of new people engaging. We cannot wait and hope for things to “go back to normal” or think that in-person services will bring people flocking back.
We need to shift our strategies to meet people where they are: online.
Our Shift from Analog to Digital session in the last masterclass resonated with hundreds of church leaders around the globe. It’s time to dig deeper and really unpack the 4 keys to growing your digital front door.
Join us for this exclusive Masterclass—4 Keys to Expanding Your Church’s Front Door with Digital Strategies—with Tony Morgan, the Unstuck team and special guests and you’ll walk away with:
- Clarity around how your digital ministry strategy needs to change to thrive in the post-pandemic world
- The specific skills and practical next steps for the 4 keys to growing your digital front door:
- Foundations: Clarifying Who You Are Trying to Reach
- Creating an Effective Digital Engagement Strategy
- Putting Your Digital Engagement Strategy in Action
- How to Structure Your Team to Support the Digital Strategy
Today, churches must focus on growing their digital front door—or they won’t survive. Register now and be equipped to grow your church’s digital front door and build a healthy digital ministry strategy.
Write a Review—It Helps!
Particularly on iTunes, your ratings and reviews really do help more pastors discover the podcast content I’m creating here. Would you take a minute to share your thoughts? Just open the the podcast on iTunes on your phone or computer, click Ratings & Reviews, and leave your opinion.
Sean (00:02): Welcome to The Unstuck Church Podcast, where each week we’re exploring what it means to be an unstuck church. Over the last several weeks, church leaders have experienced a lot of confusion around how to know they’re winning in an online ministry world. Questions of what to track and how to track it have overwhelmed some leaders. On today’s podcast, Tiffany Deluccia, Director of Sales and Marketing at The Unstuck Group, joins Tony and Amy for a conversation on how to make some sense of your online engagement. But before you listen today, make sure you grab the show notes. You’ll get resources for this week’s conversation and access to our podcast resource archive. Just go to theunstuckgroup.com/podcast and subscribe. Now let’s join Tony, Amy and Tiffany for today’s conversation.
Amy (00:49): Well, Tiffany and I met a few weeks ago to start talking about helping churches build a new ministry dashboard given that ministry has basically moved online, and it feels like everyone has been talking about what to measure. And we’re hearing from pastors that it’s still a bit overwhelming and confusing. So we’re hoping today to help our listeners simplify things a bit. So, Tony, where do you want to start?
Tony (01:11): Yeah, I can relate with that because when Tiffany joined our team several years ago, we started talking about what we need to track and what we need to measure. I was confused as well, but she helped point me in the right direction. But Amy, you’re right, there’s been a lot of great content in the last few weeks about engagement and metrics and video watch times and live stream views. I mean, things we never thought we would be talking about just a few months ago. But Tiffany was sharing the other day how easy it is to get down into the weeds on these things and really miss what’s important. So Tiffany, can you enlighten us?
Tiffany (01:50): Yeah, I’ve been listening to a lot of those same people. A lot of really smart people are weighing in on this conversation about engagement. And I’ve talked to at least three different church teams in the last week — a church plant, a few different multisite churches — to learn more about the specific questions they’re having and just starting to get the sense that pastors are feeling like they need to become professional marketing strategists. And I don’t think they do.
Tony (02:15): You don’t think they need to do that. Yeah. And this is the other caveat I want to throw in up front in this conversation. I’m not even sure that every church needs to be concerned with this. And let me explain why. And Tiffany, you can tell me if I’m off the wall on this or not. I don’t know. But I’m just recalling my days growing up, back in Piqua, Ohio, and Noland’s grocery store was a little neighborhood mom and pop grocery store. And really it was a grocery store just for the neighborhood. And then Grissom’s SuperValu was more of a community grocery store. And that was even before Costco. I mean, Costco is a regional grocery store in today’s day and age. And my concern is there are some churches that are more like the mom and pop grocery store. They’re really designed to reach effectively their neighborhood, and all of this conversation about live streaming and online engagement and things like that. There are things that you’re doing in this immediate season, but I don’t know if long term, this is where churches like that should be investing a lot of their time and energy unless they’re revisiting their mission field and thinking rather than being just a church for our neighborhood, we do need to begin to think about how we can be a church for our community or the region around us. Is that fair?
Tiffany (03:39): Yeah, absolutely. I think that the conversation about online measurement, we really need to be giving the most attention to tracking things that help us make decisions that align what we’re doing online with our bigger picture ministry goals. So if you’re, you know, if your bigger picture ministry goals are to reach people beyond the immediate neighborhood you’re in, there’s probably a part of your strategy that has to be online. And in general, just, when it comes to engagement metrics, right now, a lot of what I’m hearing pastors seem like they get overwhelmed with is there’s so much that you could be measuring, and a lot of it doesn’t tell you much of anything. Honestly, it doesn’t help you make any decisions. So I’ll pick on the multipliers conversation for a moment. Say everyone’s acknowledging that, at best, you’re going to make a guess. But let’s say you decide your live stream tells you, you know, 1.5 people are actually watching. You can’t do anything with that. You can’t do anything with knowing there was 0.5 of a person. You don’t know who that person was. The insight doesn’t help you do much of anything at all. So I think if as churches we were guilty of focusing too much on vanity metrics before, at times we have literally thousands we could choose from now, if we don’t clarify what engagement really means to us.
Tony (04:54): All right, so let’s start there. How is measuring online engagement different from counting views or attendance?
Tiffany (05:03): Well for starters, measuring video views or page views as a standalone metric can get really misleading. There are lots of reasons views could be high one day and low and other, and so many of them are outside of your control, thanks to the algorithms that are controlling what people see. I think you always need to be measuring views against another metric if you really want to get at real engagement. So for example, look at the views of the video against the action step you challenged people to take. There was a, just to give a real example, a few years ago we had a coaching network, a leadership coaching network, coming out and that particular year our marketing killed it in getting people to visit the page to learn more about the coaching network. But we didn’t fill up the coaching network, so it never happened. This is the kind of stuff I feel like, views and attendance can be so misleading on. You can feel really good about how many people tuned in or watched, but if no one takes the step you want them to take, it’s not really that much of a win. Another example would be to look at views and average watch time together. I was talking with a church last week who did a good Friday service. It was excellent. They prerecorded but posted it on Facebook. They had a very clear sense of the step they wanted people to take. They had a virtual group environment they wanted people to sign up for. But when we were looking at it together, even though they were happy with the views, they were very unhappy with how many people took the step. And then we looked at watch time compared against the views. Well a vast majority had stopped listening at about 20 minutes in. They didn’t ask people to take the step until 40 minutes in. So no one even saw it. And I think that’s a big shift in how we have to think about what we’re putting out there for people. Because when you’re online, you’re really more concerned with measuring conversion and not just in the, you know, choosing to follow Jesus for the first time, but conversion of someone was presented with a step and they decided to take the step, not just did they even see the step as an option?
Tony (07:04): Yeah, so I’m reminded about coaching around kind of how you teach is you got to explain to people this is what I’m going to talk about. Then you have to talk about it, and then you kind of have to summarize this is what I talked about, and it sounds like similar really in content, Tiffany, you got to explain this is the step I want you to take. Then you have to talk about why you want them to take that step, and then you have to encourage them to take the step. Is that what I hear?
Absolutely, and online you have to get to the step a lot quicker. I think we’ve been conditioned to having a captive audience in our building ,and we have 40 minutes to present this crescendo of reasons why they should take the step you want them to take. And then you make the ask at the end. Online, most people aren’t going to get to that point and so you have to get it in there a lot sooner.
Tony (07:53): So help me. Again, several years ago when you joined our team and started to help me understand how our content was engaging and how it was helping people take next steps. You talked about the difference between views and conversions. Can you explain that one more time?
Tiffany (08:10): Sure. Yeah, the idea is that if someone views a page or views a video, that all that tells you is that you piqued their interest in the topic. As a business, we’re most interested in, did we catch their attention and then did we compel them to take a step? And so I’m much more concerned with tracking the steps taken. Sometimes a video or a page that got fewer views can have higher conversions. That tells me that that content was more compelling. That’s a lot of the piece of how we need to be evaluating multiple metrics together to give us some information. Well, the one thing I was talking to a pastor about the other day was they were trying to decide is does engagement count if somebody viewed the first three seconds of our Facebook video or if they viewed the first minute? And the first three seconds, gosh, that really tells you something. That says, hey, you caught their attention. They thought, ooh, I might be interested in this, watch three seconds and said, nah, moved on. You know? So we think about these measures, we have to think about what does it tell us about how people reacted to what we put out there? Not just, you know, feeling good about the number of people that saw it.
Tony (09:23): Yeah. So I love it. I think what I heard you say is that the number of people who hear your message isn’t as important as the number of people who engage your message and then experience conversion. And I love the fact that in marketing terms, a digital strategy is referred to as conversion because it’s so applicable to what we’re trying to accomplish as churches. Another example of, I mean, this is just recently, I think a couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about seven shifts that churches need to engage in this new reality, this new normal, that we’re experiencing. And pretty immediately you said, Tiffany, about what, 35,000 people had read the article.
Tiffany (10:05): Yeah, I think in the first 48 hours.
Tony (10:07): Yeah, and my thought was big deal, it doesn’t matter because, if we have tens of thousands of people read that article, it doesn’t matter one iota. If we don’t encourage any of those pastors to engage with our team in our Unstuck Process to help them move their ministry forward. So, I learned several years ago those views, those page views, those likes, they really don’t, they’re kind of meaningless, just to be honest. What matters are pastors, in our case, taking next steps and for you, are people taking their next steps toward Christ?
Amy (10:50): I love that phrase vanity views. I honestly think most pastors instinctively understand that video views aren’t a win in and of themselves. Just like they knew attendance wasn’t the ultimate win, but things felt so much clearer when the weekend was our primary strategy for reaching people, right? So how do you think we need to change how we think about content now?
Tony (11:15): Yeah. Let me just chime in here and say, churches, I think, have over relied on programs and events for a long time. We’re essentially still doing it now. We’re just doing it virtually.
Tiffany (11:30): Yes. This is a silly example, but I was thinking on this when we were preparing for this conversation, and this image popped into my head. What if sports casters talked to home football game viewers the way we’re talking to people about joining our services from home, trying to convince them you’re there at home, but this is just as good as being here. Stand up. You’re there in your living room. Your team’s on defense. Now, start yelling. Do you feel this excitement? You can’t fake the feeling of being in a large crowd for a shared experience, and we shouldn’t really be trying to. I think we have to stop applying our live, in-person strategies to digital and expecting similar results. The bigger win here would be to take this moment to simplify and reorient our ministries around the strategies that produce the most fruit, and ultimately, an effective digital strategy has to follow a clear ministry strategy.
Tony (12:26): Wait, wait, wait a second. Don’t gloss over that statement too quickly. Say that again. Slower Tiffany. That’s the key right here.
Tiffany (12:34): Yeah. An effective digital strategy has to follow a clear ministry strategy, and that means you have to clarify the vision, the mission field, the discipleship path. A lot of the things that you needed to measure before we got into this situation, where we were relying on the internet, a lot of it’s the same. And you’re going to measure them online, probably, in a different way than counting people in seats. But you still need to start with your ultimate strategy and work backwards from there. Who are we trying to reach? Get specific? I think even the idea of who we’re trying to reach test to get even more nuanced when you’re online because everything else is. Everything’s tailored. If I see an ad online for, well, I don’t see ads online for football tickets, but if I did, I would just scroll past it and assume they tried to target the right person, but they missed it. You know, online, even just, you never would speak to men and women the same way in your messaging online, in any marketing really. You wouldn’t. You would get really nuanced, and churches aren’t used to doing that. That church I mentioned earlier that I talked to that realized their call to action came way too late in the message. They were so clear on who they’re trying to reach — agnostic millennials in a Midwestern large city. And so they started there. With that clear, it was much simpler to work backwards to what strategies they should be trying. So again, you’re still trying to help them take next steps like you always have. Groups would be a good example. If you’ve decided groups are the first step on your discipleship path, you’re still trying to get people to do that now online. You’re just going to need different ways of encouraging them to get there. You’re going to need a few different paths that target a few different groups of people, and you’re going to be working that way.
Tony (14:26): Yeah. So what I’m hearing in that, Tiffany, I mean the challenge again, and we’ve been talking about this for years, you just can’t get people into your church buildings is the way we talked about it previously. You have to help them take steps. You have to clarify a path. You just can’t keep them busy. You just can’t throw more and more events on the calendar. You actually have to help people take steps on a path. And I think, now that building has been removed and the events are off the calendar, it’s just shining the spotlight even clearer on the fact that as churches, unfortunately some of us, a lot of us, that never really had the tough conversation about what does that discipleship path need to look like in our churches? And now we’re floundering a little bit then about how to measure what success looks like in this digital space. Tiffany, I’m thinking you’re going to get a lot of job offers after this interview, so I certainly hope I’m paying you enough. But let’s give pastors a taste of how you would approach this as a digital strategist at a church. I mean, you’ve been doing this for years for The Unstuck Group, but let’s assume now you don’t work for us. You work for a church. Let’s say a church is trying to reach young parents. That’s you. Who aren’t currently connected to a church. You’re connected to a church though, so that’s not you. But we’re trying to reach young parents who aren’t currently connected to a church and may not even be Christ followers. Can you give us some examples of how, if you were this digital strategist trying to engage a ministry strategy, how you might craft a content strategy to reach that person and then encourage that person to take a next step?
Tiffany (16:11): Sure. So I would start with the mission field, like you just said. So we know they’re young parents, they’re not connected to a church. But then you need to go a layer deeper. You probably need a different strategy to reach the moms than you need to reach the dads. I would dig in deeply to what do these people in our community listen to? What do they follow? What are their jobs? I would get to know who they are really well. And that would be the first step is you need to get really, really specific about who you’re talking to. And then I would flip to the opposite end. What’s the ultimate step we want them to take? For these people, maybe it’s not probably not new believers. Maybe your Alpha Class or your 101 on your growth track. Something that introduces them to faith. Somebody who’s spiritually just at the very beginning. And then I’d be looking at what is the first step we could give them? Because probably the first thing they’re going to do is not go sign up for your class, even if it’s a virtual class. I think we’ve taken for granted that in the past when people showed up at a church for the first time, that was already a massive step. You know? Online people don’t take steps that big, that fast. So you need to think about what are some little things we could do? So if I take for instance, because I am a mom, I’ll go with the mom. Maybe the first step you’re going to ask her to take is to tune into a Facebook Live around dealing with stress while you’re working from home with your kids during the season. And then that step,
Tony (17:44): Am I allowed to go to that webinar?
Tiffany (17:52): No. This is women only. From there you’re going to let them know about the ultimate step. But that’s not the big push yet. You want to have a series of small steps people can take that move from anonymous person who just happened to view the thing that you put out there online to sharing a little bit more, to raising their hand, to letting you know who they are. But you don’t want to rush it. You don’t want to ask for too much, too fast. So when I think about the steps, it would be sort of this progression of help them engage a little bit more deeply, help them engage a little bit more deeply, but always offer something that would be valuable to that person before you’re asking for any information in exchange. So if the first thing you’re asking is show up for this event, they can do that pretty anonymously. But from the event, maybe you’re asking them sign up for this free email course that’s going to help you apply these things you learn practically. Well, now they’ve raised their hand, they told you who they are. And the email course you might be leading them towards a conversation with somebody or digital group or it might be to that first class if that first class really is a first step kind of thing. These are just, you know, examples I’m spitballing. The idea, though, is that you’re giving people small steps to take and you’re providing something helpful at every step along the way, and that it’s very tailored to where people really are.
Tony (19:06): Yeah, and the key thing I’m hearing in this, Tiffany, is you need to know who you’re trying to reach. You also, before you do anything, need to know where you want them to go ultimately. And you have to figure out small steps along the way to get them to that place. And then once you have that strategy identified, you can craft a digital strategy, a content strategy to help them take those steps. So am I hearing that right?
Tiffany (19:34): Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m saying. And I think that you can involve people from lots of different teams in your church in creating the actual content for those different strategies. I think the other thing is that churches tend to not reevaluate their strategies often. And in this world, you have to be willing to throw things against the wall. You have to be willing to iterate and to throw things out there and see what works and try again and feel the things that are working. And so your first draft may not work. This is harder than it sounds, honestly. Getting people to take steps, to tell you who they are, to engage out of the blue, it’s harder than it sounds, and you have to be willing to try something and then try something else and then try something else.
Amy (20:16): Tiffany, can I ask a follow up question on it? I think a lot of content that does get put out there, or let’s say they create this Facebook event. There is so much content flying by everybody, right? When they’re online. How would you approach actually getting that opportunity even in front of the young moms who currently are outside the faith or outside the church?
Tiffany (20:37): Yeah. You and I were talking about this the other day. This is a great way to mobilize the people who are already connected to your church. You do not want to be dependent on Facebook algorithms. You do not want to be dependent on search engines. You know, it’s just a very cluttered, crowded space. The most effective you’re going to be without spending a ton of money. I mean, you can spend money on Facebook and make sure you reach people, but then you’re also relying on them telling you that you really did. The most effective you’re going to be is mobilizing the people you have now, and give them something that they would be excited to share with people. Like I think about as a young mom, I don’t share a lot of the stuff my church puts out on social media. I honestly don’t. But if they gave me something specific, I know I’ve got a lot of friends who are also young moms, who are working from home, and they’re trying to figure out how do we balance all this right now? I would share that. So give people something that they would feel like they’re adding value to their friends and family online. It’s not just a purely evangelistic message every time, sometimes it’s just helpful, and then mobilize the base that you already have.
Amy (21:47): Yep, that’s good. All right. Well we’ve been helping churches navigate those mission field, vision, discipleship strategy questions for a long time and then building the team structure to support it, and it’s becoming clear that a church’s team structure is going to look different, maybe very different, in the future to be effective. Don’t you agree, Tony?
Tony (22:07): Yeah. I have a feeling this is going to be a big part of what you and I and the rest of our team are going to be helping churches navigate in the coming months, Amy. The structure to support this longer term shift from analog to digital it’s the new reality of what churches are facing. Do you agree, Tiffany?
Tiffany (22:25): Yeah, and I said at the beginning, I’m concerned senior ministry leaders, at least the ones I’ve been talking to are starting to feel like they need to become experts in inbound marketing. And I really don’t think you do. Our whole team has been discussing this. You need someone with digital strategy skills on your senior leadership team. And that probably flips the typical communications director role on a church staff on its head. Because a lot of times from the communications directors I’ve talked to, they feel like they get treated like a vending machine where everybody needs something, and they’re just responsible for making sure all the different areas of the church get what they need. But going forward, if you’re going to win in this area, you’re going to have to have someone who owns the alignment of the ministry strategy and the digital strategy. And I think that’s why I’ve been struggling even to write about this in the last few weeks. We’ve got a draft floating around that I think 10 people have weighed in on. You need someone on your team who can translate ministry objectives into online strategies that help you reach new people, help them take first steps, help them take next steps. And it’s hard to even write about it without descending into this jargon that I know is not helpful for most senior ministry leaders. It’s going to be a brand new skillset on a lot of teams.
Tony (23:42): Yeah. I want to go back and highlight, again, you said it this way. You need someone who owns the alignment of ministry strategy and digital strategy. That’s key. And to be honest again, I mean this is nothing against communications directors. They’re doing a great job. But many times those communications directors are probably not the person that we’re talking about here because their skillset is more around execution of content. They’re bringing together the writers, the editors, the graphic designers, the social media experts, and they’re executing content. But we’re going up a completely different level here of trying to figure out what’s our ministry strategy, and how does our digital strategy support that? And so in some instances, your communications director may have that wiring to help you make that shift. But as you acknowledged, Tiffany, I think in many cases, this is going to be a brand new skillset that you’re going to have to find somebody who’s currently employed in the marketplace and part of your church that you’re bringing onto your team. Or you’re going to have to look outside your team and your church to find the person that can help you with this. I will say, I think in many instances, this is going to be a person, they love Jesus, they love the church, but they have marketplace experience. I think there’s an opportunity here for people that have real world marketplace experience to bring that experience, that skillset, to the church to make a great kingdom impact. And we’re going to have to look outside of where we normally hunt for staff people in our churches to get this type of skill set on our team.
Tiffany (25:31): Yeah, I think you’re right.
Amy (25:34): All right, so let’s bring this back full circle to where we started the initial conversation, which was what should we be measuring? What are your insights there, Tiffany?
Tiffany (25:43): I know this feels really tough for churches, especially the ones that have jumped all in. I live in this world. I understand how overwhelming it could be because there are so many things you could measure. But the first thing I would say is you don’t have to track everything. It won’t be helpful. I’ve had dashboards before that Caroline and some other members of my team have used, and we get to the end of a year and go, I don’t think we made a single decision off of lines A through Z, you know, and you realize you’re just wasting your time because it doesn’t help you.
Tony (26:14): And I was paying you guys to do that? Wait a second.
Tiffany (26:19): So I’d say go back to basics and figure out what the first steps are and the next steps are. Probably a lot of the next steps are the same key things you were measuring before. New givers, that’s a first step. Recurring givers, I’d consider that a next step. New group signups, that’s a first step. Ongoing participation in groups, people showing up to groups, next steps. New prayer requests, brand new. First time somebody fills out a form or raises their hand and has said, I’m asking for prayer. Ongoing relationships, new professions of faith or Alpha Course signups. Devotional participation. So people downloading the devotionals on your app, as an example. And I think pastors are the ones who own monitoring those key next step metrics. And even first step metrics. You’re the one who needs to say, we have to see positive movement on these things, and then you need somebody on your team, that strategic alignment leader, monitoring all those other little metrics, and I don’t mean all, but the ones that help, monitoring those other online metrics that help you evaluate the strategies driving people to those first steps.
Tony (27:25): Yeah, and I feel like I’m more of the interrupter than the interviewer today, so I apologize for that, Tiffany. But in this whole conversation about engagement, even before we started to think about digital engagement, my biggest concern is a lot of the conversation I was hearing is because people are attending our church less frequently, we need to focus more on engagement. But the only engagement I was hearing was related to the next steps and not the first steps. And if you’re going to really live out the mission that God’s called your church to, you can’t just assume that we’re only going to measure next steps and feel like we get engagement. Right? If you do that, you’re going to make disciples of the people who are already disciples, but you’re not going to make new disciples. That’s why when we talk about engagement, we have to be thinking about both the first steps and the next steps and making sure we’re seeing engagement at both levels.
Tiffany (28:29): Yes, absolutely. And honestly, I think on the first steps front, this could be really exciting. I was talking with a church yesterday who was struggling with their online platform. They were tracking IP addresses, and so they were, you know, what do we do with this vast number of IP addresses? We’ve got all these people watching. Ultimately there’s nothing you can do with that until they raise their hand and say, I want something from you. I want you to know who I am. I want to engage something. It’s great that your sermon reached those people but you can’t do anything with it. But when you start designing things that help more people take those small first steps, I think it gets really exciting because you’re able to see how many people, you’re not just touching passively, but you’re attracting towards the gospel message. And that’s fun. So before we leave this, I did have an example here. I was thinking, you and Amy actually own a lot of the big picture metrics that parallel the kinds of things senior leaders need to be thinking about, for us at The Unstuck Group. So you guys are looking at are we reaching new pastors? Specifically, are we reaching the ones we’re equipped to serve really well? Are the churches we’re serving actually getting unstuck? Amy really owns that. Make sure that we’re keeping a close eye on the quality of the experience that pastors are having. And then are they staying connected and are they coming back to us when they need support again? So that’s a good example of sort of where the senior leaders need to, the level they need to be flying at. I own the metrics that help drive towards those things. So are we helping more churches find us? And then how do they find us? Are we offering them first steps that they find helpful? Which are working best? Are we learning more about what they need and getting it to them? Are we creating paths that help somebody go from the first step they take — the first time they subscribe to our content or the first time they subscribed to the podcast — to taking steps in deeper engagement with the things that we have available to serve them? And then are we helping them choose us when they’re ready? And so, it’s a good example of sort of how the two teams need to be really aligned. I need to make sure we’re only driving people towards the things that you guys care about, but you don’t have to be down in the weeds on the things I’m measuring.
Amy (30:44): And as you say that, I can’t help but think, you know, the phrase that we’ve been saying the past few weeks, part of the digital strategy has to address how do people far from church and far from Christ find us, right? And what content do we need to create? How do we engage our current body to be part of that delivery system? I loved your example for young moms. It doesn’t all have to be about Jesus right away. It needs to be helpful and relevant because all truth is God’s truth, and we want to be able to help them where they’re at and where their starting point is. So it’s been a good shift of perspective when we can’t see all those people or take them with us to church. There’s new pathways. So hey, Tony, since you’re not interrupting me right now, any final thoughts before you finish the conversation?
Tony (31:33): Man, I feel like I have to apologize. I’m so sorry, Tiffany. It’s just that when I get passionate about something, I tend to interrupt.
Amy (31:42): I can always see right when you’re going to do it because something was just said that you’ve got to jump on.
Tony (31:48): As a matter of fact, I do have some final thoughts, Amy, and it’s this. I don’t pay Tiffany to write articles. Though she’s a phenomenal writer, by the way. And I don’t pay Tiffany to design fancy graphics, and I don’t pay Tiffany to promote Unstuck events. As an example, I don’t pay Tiffany to get thousands of people to show up for an Unstuck webinar. I don’t pay Tiffany to update our web site. I don’t pay Tiffany to Facebook or Instagram or tweet. I pay Tiffany to engage pastors through a digital strategy and to encourage them to take a next step toward hiring us at The Unstuck Group. And pastors, you shouldn’t try to become Tiffany, but you need a Tiffany on your team, a leader that needs to be in every conversation you’re having about your ministry strategy to translate that strategy into a digital strategy that helps you connect with new people that are outside the faith, outside your church and encourages them to take their next steps toward Christ.
Sean (32:58): Well, thanks for joining us on this week’s podcast. If this podcast has been helpful for you, we would love your help in getting the content out. You can do that by subscribing on your favorite podcasting platform, giving us a review and telling someone else about the podcast. At The Unstuck Group, we work everyday with church leaders to help them build healthy churches by guiding them through specifically designed experiences that focus them on vision, strategy and action. If that’s a need in your church, we’d love to talk. You can start a conversation by visiting us at theunstuckgroup.com. Next week, we’re back with another brand new episode. So until then, have a great week.