Communications

Communications

Next Meeting: Thursday, 3.7.24

New System for Communications:  Kyle has indicated that he wants to make church-wide communications more efficient and effective. We need to develop a system that will channel all communication requests (events, announcements, etc) to the Communications team on a timely basis to assure that they’re adequately promoted and/or disseminated to target audiences on a timely basis.

T.C. has offered the following points for consideration:

Establish a line of communication involving a point person who makes the call as to whether or not things are published and who will determine appropriate media (announcements, bulletin, brochures/flyers, signage, newspaper, radio, etc). I’m sure said point person will make big bucks, so consider signing-up!!!
With different people handling various media, a possible workflow might look like this:
  1. Setup a Mail Group for announcements, e.g., <announcements@horsepasturecc.org> and channel all requests to that address. Add all Comms team members and office staff (for awareness) to the Group.
  2. Identify a point person for filtering announcements and directing their posting methods/times, e.g., who, what, when, where, etc.
  3. Clarify and/or document the various media and responsible parties so that approved announcements are handled by the appropriate team member.

Let’s discuss at next meeting and make something good happen!  See notes on last meeting below …


Notes on Meeting / 2.1.24

ChMS Software (UPDATE):  We’ve decided to move forward with Breeze (stay tuned).

  • Breeze <https://www.breezechms.com/>
    Ranked #1 of Top 15 ChMS <https://www.breezechms.com/lp/best-church-management-software>
  • Realm (ACS) <https://www.acstechnologies.com/realm/>

Next step will be to set up Q&A sessions with consultants from both companies and arrange test-drives. We need to be thinking about who all needs to be involved in learning the software. Assume, once we’re on new system, we can give various individuals access to relevant areas, e.g., small groups, classes, etc. Stay tuned.

SlickText:  We’re gradually building our text list. To date, we have 134 members opted-in. We need to join Mary in encouraging members to sign up.

Visitor/Guest Bags:  We’ve decided to use a bag with handles, imprinted with the blue HCC logo, same or similar to what we’ve used for past projects; bags should be multi-purpose. Jessica thinks we have a few lying around. Contents will comprise a tri-fold brochure with general info about HCC; a floor plan with numbered rooms showing locations of classrooms, kitchens, general areas, etc.; and a small notebook/pen with HCC logo (see sample)

Invitation “Biz” Card:  Jerry suggested we consider a “business” card similar to the one he produced for the recent Country Gospel Concert (see samples). Card’s primary purpose would be for members to carry and handout to friends and/or other people they run into at restaurants who may not have a church home, inviting them to HCC services or events. Front would have HCC branding and relevant info. Back would have area for a written message, e.g., “Come join me on Sunday. Text me and I’ll meet you in the parking lot.”

Next Meeting:  tentatively scheduled for Thursday, March 7, 6:00 pm, Cornerstone Cafe.

PLEASE ADVISE YOUR THOUGHTS ON ABOVE. THANKS!


Notes on Meeting / 1. 15.24

We reviewed various Church Management Systems (ChMS). Top candidates are listed below (not necessarily in order of preference):

  • Breeze <https://www.breezechms.com/>
  • Church Community Builder <https://pushpay.com/product/chms-software/>
  • Realm (ACS) <https://www.acstechnologies.com/realm/>
  • Servant Keeper <https://servantpc.com/>

Please visit these sites and review guided tours if available. List any questions you may have regarding who, what, when, etc, and we’ll arrange “official” discussion with select companies. All seem to offer comprehensive capabilities but ease of use should be a top priority.

Texting:  Although texting and email capabilities may be included in selected ChMS, we’ll continue to make best use of SlickText in meantime. We currently have 120 individuals opted-in to receive texts. We will review list to identify and encourage those who have not opted-in to do so. Our plan allows us to send 1,000 messages per month (including replies). We’re effectively using texts to remind Greeters and others of upcoming schedules as well as general announcements.

Visitor/Guest Package:  We should put together a package for visitors/guests containing basic information about HCC, links to specific landing pages on website, floor plan noting key locations, etc. This package could include a “gift” as a reminder to who/where/what HCC is all about. Need volunteers to help with this.

Floor Plan:  We discussed need for a comprehensive floor plan to help guide members and guests to desired locations, i.e., classrooms, meeting locations, kitchens, etc. All classrooms and meeting areas should be clearly identified using a comprehensive number system using professional signage (rather than handmade signs). We need to discuss how to best identify classrooms other than historic designations, e.g., Class 7, 10, 15, “Pairs & Spares,” “Young Disciples,” etc., which are no longer relevant.

Church Directory:  Understanding that many in the “younger” generations are not fans of formal photography (a la Olin Mills), there is a definite need for means of matching names with faces in the congregation. We need further discussion regarding how to make this happen efficiently, effectively, and inoffensively.

PLEASE ADVISE YOUR THOUGHTS ON ABOVE. THANKS!


Church Management Software

We’re currently seeking info for Church Management Software (CMS) to update or replace current one-platform version of Servant Keeper.

Primary objectives:

  1. Web-based information accessible from anywhere from any device
  2. Consolidate all information/communication services from a single source (if possible)
  3. Something that controlled access to various areas (e.g., if someone helps with sending emails to certain groups, they don’t need access to info for entire congregation)
  4. Something that allows transfer of current Servant Keeper data

Here’s a link to currently available software: https://bit.ly/41SY8xA

Here’s a PDF for reference during meeting:  Church Managment Software

I realize this may not be your thing, but any objective input will be appreciated. Please take a look and let’s get together to discuss.  Monday, Jan 15, 6:00 pm

 


Next Steps

Notes on tonight’s meeting (9/14/23)

Texting   I’ve upgraded plan to 1,000 texts per month per discussion. We have ample capacity to communicate directly to various groups (seniors, youth, parents, small groups, classes, etc.). Need names and mobile numbers. There should be a continued push for people to opt-in to receive text notifications. Only 113 subscribers to date. Opt-in info is listed every week in bulletin as well as website. Think an occasional nudge from pulpit might be helpful. I’ll mention to Kyle.

Newsletter  We’re still considering a quarterly newsletter to keep congregation informed of upcoming events or special occasions. Dana is willing to serve as editor but we’ll need to recruit “reporters” to provide content. 

Annual Calendar of Events   Planning committee has plans to generate a printed calendar for 2024. This would give congregation a handy reference for planned activities throughout the year. 

Meet & Greet  Recent implementation of pause near beginning of service allows time for people to interact with one another. Meet and greet should be encouraged at both services. We should continue to seek opportunities to get first and second service people together, e.g., movie nights; game nights; special interest groups). We’re one church, but without times for interaction, many of us don’t know one another.

Ideas Welcome   Be thinking of creative ways we can better communicate with our congregation as well as the community at large. Take a look at the website. Is anything missing? What effective forms of communication are other churches using that might work for us? Think!!!

Next Meeting  To be determined. In the meantime, if you have needs or ideas related to improving communications, shoot me a text or email and I’ll disseminate to group.


Notes on tonight’s meeting (7/13/23)

Texting  We have capacity to send 500 text messages per month. This tool is primarily being utilized to send reminders to Greeters serving on Sunday mornings. The other primary group is the congregation at large for general announcements. This is a very effective means of communicating with various special groups. We can set up text words for specific groups, e.g., kidsparents, teenparents, teens, seniors, etc. As long as members opt-in to receive text updates (by texting join to 855-440-1007) we can assign them to respective groups.

Digital Sign  T.C. Tatum has set up a system to enable remote access for changing sign graphics. I believe T.C. is the primary user of this system and it’s working great.

Newsletter  We discussed proceeding with a quarterly newsletter that would keep the congregation up-to-speed regarding interesting aspects of HCC life. We could include articles (and photos) of Vacation Bible School (I’m sure there are good photos available); our upcoming celebration of HCC’s 175th anniversary; the upcoming Missions trip, and various other areas of interest.

Calendar of Events  Dana Gearhart will provide me with a list of scheduled events, such as Revival, Homecoming, etc., along with a brief explanation of each, and I will post to website calendar. She is also planning to produce an Events Calendar for 2024 that can be distributed to each member.

Visitors   We discussed the need to make each and every visitor feel very welcome at HCC. We should develop a system for following-up with visitors within the first week. We used to have cards in the backs of pews/chairs for visitors to fill out. Visitors should be encouraged from the pulpit to fill out information cards. Cards should probably be redesigned to incorporate new logo, website, etc.

Ideas Welcome  Be thinking of creative ways we can better communicate with our congregation as well as the community at large. Take a look at the website. Is anything missing? What effective forms of communication are other churches using that might work for us? Think!!!

Next Meeting is scheduled for September 14 at 6:00 pm.


Notes on last night’s meeting (4/27/23):

Texting  Total of 103 people have opted-in to receive texts. Fifteen of these currently on greeter list. Ten on comms list. Ron Adams will invite members of first service Greeter team to join greeter list. Debbie will send them reminders of service dates. Several first service Greeters have not yet opted-in to receive texts from HCC.

Echo Prayer App   Only eight people have signed-up to HCC feed. Need to communicate more info about app —purpose, procedure, etc., to congregaton.

Digital Sign   T.C. is finalizing arrangements to enable sign updates via remote computers.

Newsletter   Discussed benefits of communicating upcoming events to congregation via quarterly newsletter. Debbie Wenzel is willing to assist Dana with newsletter production.

Calendar of Events   We all agree that a calendar of annual events would be beneficial. Many of our events and special days are planned far in advance. This calendar (online and offline) could be updated as needed. To be discussed.

Church Directory   Current directory is very outdated. Need discussion regarding whether or not to produce new directory every five years or so.


Notes on last night’s meeting (3/16/23):

Texting. A total of 97 people have opted-in to receive text messages from HCC. We still have three UFOs (unidentified first opt-inners). I sent another text this morning asking for names. As of today, 15 people have opted-in to the greeter textword; 10 have opted-in to comms. Next step will be to determine additional textwords, e.g., teenparent, kidsparent, upwardcoach, etc., and identify individuals in each of those groups. Each person will need to opt-in using a specific textword in order to be added to respective list. We also need to recruit individuals to serve in admin capacity for each group. Debbie Wenzel is currenly serving as admin for greeters in second service, sending reminders, etc.

Echo Prayer App. We’ll need to promote this via a bulletin insert as well as mentions from pulpit. There are only 8 people currenly signed-up for the HCC Feed. This is an excellent tool for those who are interested in growing in their prayer lives.

Digital Sign. T.C. is doing an excellent job with keeping the sign updated.

Newsletter. Online and offline versions are planned. Content for current and upcoming news and events is needed.

Online and Offline Calendar. Dana mentioned popularity of a printed calendar we have made available in the past. We should consider offering this again. Ideas are welcome. Stay tuned.

Directory Supplement. Question was raised regarding possibility of creating a supplement to the Member Directory as there are many new members who are not included. We need to consider most efficient method for accomplishing this. Rather than set up photo stations on a particular Sunday morning (which could be chaotic), it may be more efficient to identify the individuals and make convenient arrangements.

Next Meeting. Tentatively set for Thursday, June 15 at 6:00 pm. Any bright and shiny ideas for improving internal/external communications are welcome.


Good meeting last night (2/9/23). Here are the main points we discussed.

Texting. People are continuously opting-in to the text list. The “join” textword captures the mobile number but has no associated name. Per our discussion, I’m sending individual texts to these numbers asking for name. Received one back this morning, so I think this strategy is going to work just fine. Going forward, we’ll need names and numbers for particular groups, e.g, greeters, parents, etc., so we can begin sending reminders/notifications. We will need to designate individual Administrators to oversee texting to groups. I think Kyle is planning to encourage opting in this Sunday. It’s coming together!

Echo Prayer App. We’ll be promoting this app from the pulpit as well as on the website. A bulletin insert will probably help get the word out. I’ve added a Highlight box to homepage with general info about the app. May take a while to get this up and running but I believe it’ll catch on as people experience it.

Digital Sign. The sign is up and running a test message. May have it dialed in this Sunday, 2/12. Communications team will be responsible for keeping it updated. We need to designate someone (Barry Brockway?) to be the primary contact for sign-related info.

Newsletter. I’ve added a Highlight box to website for “The Good News.” We can use this to keep people up to date on goings on and planned events. This could also include other points of interest that our members may be interested in. Dana expressed willingness to put out another print version. Don’t want anyone to feel they’re being left behind by technology.

Point People. We discussed current problem of first service not knowing what’s going on in second service, and vice-versa. If we have special events in either service, this should be announced from the pulpit. We can’t be involved in events we’re not aware of!

We need to designate key contact people for various channels, i.e., website, social media, texting, prayer, newspaper/radio, etc. These people should be kept informed on a regular basis regarding upcoming events in order to assure proper promotion.

“Invite A Friend” Day.  We talked about the last time we did this (pre-Covid). We had around 400 people on Sunday – simply because we encouraged members to “invite a friend.” It was a great experience … but there was absolutely no follow-up with the visitors. Let’s do it again this year – with meaningful follow-up. Sometimes just inviting people to church will make all the difference. We should do it every Sunday.

Evangelism. I’m pretty sure the Bible says something about reaching out to the lost in our community/communities. Our members come from Stuart, Ridgeway, Spencer, Martinsville, Stoneville, all over. The best way to get the word out about who we are is primarily US, i.e., individuals talking to individuals. Be thinking about evangelism-related activities and ways we might better communicate with those outside of church who need to be inside!

Other ideas? Use your imagination and let’s kick it around next time.

Next meeting date? Are Thursday’s good?


 

 

MEETING AGENDA   |   Feb 2023

  • Introduction of members. Expression of particular interests

INTERNAL

  • A/V / Proclaim  Discuss current status, issues, needs (TC Tatum / Barry Brockway). STATUS?
  • HCC Newsletter  (monthly/bi-monthly/quarterly?) (Dana Gearhart). See sample at horsepasturecc.org/good-news/
    This could be an excellent way to keep congregation up-to-date on current and future plans. Will likely start out as a quarterly publication. Available online and as a PDF download. Will produce print version for those who prefer. REVIEW NEED
  • Youth / Kids / Parents Communications   Need input re specific needs from Kyle and Jessica. STATUS?
  • Website / Mobile App  Need periodic review for suggestions to improve usability/functionality. Identify broken links and/or outdated information. Website is effectively conveying pertinent information. Some items on Events calendar should be more descriptive, i.e., Mother’s Day Breakfast. Some may not know it’s FREE. Will survey other sites for content ideas and strive for continuous improvement. Regarding mobile app, we suspect that a low percentage of congregation is using it. If this is the case we will probably discontinue this app in July. MOBILE APP DISCONTINUED
  • Email Campaigns (mailchimp)  Need manager(s) for email campaigns/messages. Will purchase “Essentials” upgrade ($132/yr) to allow three seats with admin/permissions (see Essentials Plan). Ninety (90) members currently signed-up for email notifications. We’re continuing to assess how to best utilize email. Should only be used for important announcements and to create awareness of new offerings, e.g., the newsletter. TEXTING PROGRAM WILL BE MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE (SLICKTEXT – 500 texts per month for $30. 1000 texts for $50/mo.
  • Welcome Stations   For new visitors/guests. Ideas to tie stations to website, e.g., could offer “bookmark” or “business card” with logo and brief message about who we are. This piece could have QR code that links to a “Welcome” landing page on web designed to pique interest. This page could feature an online form requesting contact information and permission to contact via email or text. Form would be forwarded to specified individuals for follow-up. Ron to follow-up with Kyle to assess specific needs in this area as well as signage. STATUS?
  • Signage   Need new classroom signage (and probably other signage as well). Meet with Kyle soon to evaluate and assess specific needs. STATUS?
  • Echo Prayer App (download from iTunes or Google Play). $39/yr for Echo Plus. App is free for all users. Allows interactive prayer sharing within church family.

EXTERNAL

  • Parking Lot Sign  Electronic sign coming soon. 
  • Traditional Media (Mary Jordan). Ideas/concepts for promoting various communications needs. We discussed potential collateral items for visitors and newcomers, i.e., coffee mugs, pens, backpacks, with our logo. T-shirts with logo can be effective as well but, due to need for various sizes, can be expensive. Need to evaluate cost/benefit of any give-aways. We’re getting cost estimates. Mary will continue to utilize various “free” media (newspaper, radio, etc) to promote our “goings on.” REVIEW FOR 2023
  • Evangelistic Outreach  Plan brainstorm session to generate ideas for reaching the unchurched/lost in our community. This should be a priority for us. Will review and evaluate best method(s) for moving this forward. TBD FOR 2023
  • Podcast  (Who? What? When?) This could be a powerful tool for communicating with various age groups. Will continue to assess for possible future implementation. STATUS?
  • Horsepasture Players   Consider periodic productions using “performers” from congregation, e.g., “How To Share Your Faith,” etc.
  • Resources / Reference (Take a look at these links and consider application for HCC)
  • Church Communications Guidebook
    churchjuice.com
    slack.com
  • SlickText   A GROUP TEXTING PLATFORM UNDER CONSIDERATION. MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE THAN EMAIL.
  • EchoPrayer  INTERACTIVE PRAYER APP FOR SHARING PRAYER NEEDS WITH INDIVIDUALS AND/OR GROUPS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


COMMUNICATIONS TEAM 2022

Looking forward to moving forward. The information below is from last year but may be useful for getting back up to speed. New info will be posted here.

NOTE: We discussed having a quarterly or monthly newsletter. We could easily accomplish this using a blog format. Here’s an example: horsepasturecc.org/good-news. Members could opt-in to receive newsletter via email. We could also produce a print version for the non-email crowd. Thoughts?


Where are we now? Where do we want to be? When?

 

Decisions per May 6 Meeting

Following points are in response to Key Objectives discussed at meeting (see Meeting – May 6 below).

(Please use Comment area below to add your 2-cents. Or send a group text via mobile app.

  1. Research new audio/video technology to potentially replace current equipment. Objective is to substantially improve quality of future A/V productions.
  2. We need to generate an updated list of members/regular attenders for future contact via text and email. Specific communications can then be sent to targeted groups.
  3. Teams were selected to work in specific areas: T.C. and Jerry will work with A/V needs; Mary will look into creating awareness of HCC using various forms of traditional media (PR, TV, Radio …); T.C. and Patti will assist Ron to website and app data current; Dana will be the Editor of our soon-to-be quarterly newsletter. She will recruit “reporters” to get the scoop from various nooks and crannies of HCC; assume Jessica and Jim will handle FB duties; Note: if any one else wants to help with a specific area(s), just jump on in!
  4. (Same as 2 above)
  5. Goal of implementing churchwide push notifications and messaging needs to be clearly communicated to congregation. Each person “invited” by a channel manager will need to accept invitation and turn-on notifications in their mobile app.
  6. A brainstorm session to generate ideas for reaching the “unchurched” and/or “lost” in and around our community should be a separate meeting. Stay tuned.
  7. We discussed upside/downside of “live” broadcast. Most viewers will likely watch services at their convenience. Enhanced quality can be achieved by uploading A/V files to a streaming service or embedding files on web or app rather than FB Live (which is currently beginning to “cancel” Christian content they don’t agree with).

 

Meeting – May 6

Here’s the most recent Strategy Document

Key Objectives

  1. Identify primary communications needs at HCC (video cameras, sound equipment). What do we need that we don’t currently have?
  2. Determine internal/external target groups (e.g., kids/parents, youth/parents, adults, seniors, seekers) and appropriate channels for reaching them effectively.
  3. Assign teams of 2-3 to focus on particular areas, i.e., website, Subsplash app, PowerPoint, video, photography, newsletter, news media (PR, newspapers, radio, signage, etc).
  4. Develop master list of members/regular attenders (using Church Management software) and build lists for targeted messaging. Check out MailChimp solution here.
  5. Set-up Subsplash Push Notifications and Messaging church-wide.
  6. Brainstorm opportunities for reaching the lost in our “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria.” Possibilities might include production and promotion of a weekly podcast (Dave, Kyle, …) or specific audio messages.
  7. Ensure that weekly sermons are recorded and posted to website and appropriate social media platforms.

 

We’ve got a team – so where do we go from here?

I was hoping to get everyone together for a Meet & Greet this month (January) but let’s wait til the Covid smoke clears a bit. No sense taking unnecessary chances, eh? Getting together in person is still the goal, but until then …

 

I’ve enabled Comments below. Please feel free to speak your mind about what needs to change. What needs to be added (or eliminated), etc.

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. TC Tatum

    For A/V streaming during second service and post production edit/storage, we have moved everything to the balcony. Jerry and I are looking at replacing the current camera and adding a video switcher to the mix to improve the video quality and ensure staff/volunteers will be able to more easily manage the live service and process post-production moving forward (draft thoughts attached as website link, image file). In recent weeks, I have tied Proclaim into the live stream along with added ability to feed in other live/recorded video sources. This will allow for the broadcast of slides, lower thirds, media files, etc.. eventually to make for a more complete online experience. Once the video mixer/recorder is in place, post production will also be cut to just trimming the live feed and posting the Final Cut on YouTube. I have added a 2TB storage NAS to the new HCC network as well in recent weeks and now storing an offline copy of the weekly message on that appliance as well for long term retention. Centralized storage is now available if needed. I have setup a link to the shared area for Dave and Kyle and will get to Jessica and Lillie Mae’s computer soon. On needs, we may need a few cables pulled from balcony to stage area – this too is in the works with Jerry and types/quantity will depend on final design. Comments/Feedback have been that we need to make improvements, which we are working on and is getting better…

    On the classroom signage, it would also be “nice” useful if we could number each room throughout the building. This would help in identifying specific locations in a more logical way for reference maps, diagrams, publications and advertising if we end up pushing video or multimedia stations and entrance locations identifying events or classes in specific locations of the building. Just makes things easier for everyone (new and long term) to locate or inquire and find a specific room.

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