What's in this session?

  • Lists (0:54)
  • Church Invitations (4:48)
  • Faux Outrage (7:26)
  • Personal Experiences (10:27)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Brady Shearer: Today I’m going to share with you 20 different high engaging social posts. These posts have been proven to work for churches, and each post does a great job of generating online conversation, the type of conversation that often carries over into the lobby on Sunday mornings. So without any further ado, let’s dive right in.

Alex Mills: Well, hey there and welcome to Pro Church Tools, the show where in 10 minutes or less you’re going to get a dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus while we navigate the biggest communication shift in 500 years. I’m your host Alex Mills, joined as always by the boss man Brady Shearer.

Brady Shearer: Alex, a couple of months ago we did an episode of Pro Church Tools talking about 15 high engaging social posts for churches, and a lot of people seemed to like that episode, so we’re doing another one. This time 20 additional high engaging social posts for churches. We’ve broken them up into categories, so let’s dive right into the very first one.

Brady Shearer: This first category, and we’ve got a couple of different examples within, is the list post. Everyone loves a good list post.

Alex Mills: Yeah of course.

Brady Shearer: You’ve got companies like Buzz Feed that have built their entire-

Alex Mills: Listicles on listicles.

Brady Shearer: On top of it, and we found that churches love them as well. The post that we’ve selected in this episode based on feedback from churches, we reached out because we’ve been doing our social program for churches for about six months now and that’s where all of this content comes from. We reached out to the churches in the program and said, “Hey what type of content is working best for you?” One of things that we heard is that list posts are the best. The reason is because you can take something that is a big category and maybe it’s complex, maybe it’s expansive, and you can dilute it down into individual bullet points that make it feel more approachable. We did one called the ultimate advice for people in their 20s, because if you’re reading and you’re in your 20s and you see that, you’ve got to stop.

Brady Shearer: And psyche, the answer is Micah 6:8, number one, do justice. Number two-

Alex Mills: Jesus juke.

Brady Shearer: Love kindness. Number three, walk humbly with God. Pretty much all of these posts, they’re on this list, ones that are high engaging. The reason they’re high engaging is because they’re unpredictable and unusual. We call it the swerve.

Alex Mills: Nice.

Brady Shearer: Basically you expect something to happen, but then it doesn’t happen. That’s what makes them so high engaging.

Brady Shearer: Number two on the list ideas, we talked about three things that the Bible says about money. The answers that we have are choose a good reputation over great riches. Being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold. Number two, true humility and fear of the Lord lead to riches, honor, and long life. And number three, a person who gets ahead by oppressing the poor or by showering gifts on the rich will end in poverty. This all comes from Proverbs 22. We used the NLT translation in particular here.

Brady Shearer: We also, going along the lines of three things the Bible says, three things the Bible says about friendship. What does the Bible say about friendship, Alex?

Alex Mills: I don’t know.

Brady Shearer: Number one, wounds from a sincere friend are better than kisses from an enemy. Number two is iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. And number three, never abandon a friend. This is from Proverbs 27, also the NLT edition. You can take this list post archetype and apply it to so many different things for sure. We do it month-over-month. Just basically three things the Bible says about anything, insert it. People like it.

Alex Mills: Yeah, it’s great. With these last two examples you mentioned, we took those three things from one singular verse, but the great part about these listicles is that you could say, “What does the Bible say about love?” And you could take three different things. Or what does Jesus say about XYZ, fill it in, and you could take three different things that he said or the Bible says from different areas, and really distill that into a short digestible moment for the people who are scrolling. Take the context and boil it down so people can say, “Oh, this is something that Jesus said about love,” but it doesn’t have to be constricted to just one verse of scripture. You could use the whole Bible, but distill it down into one post.

Brady Shearer: I don’t like the word listicle. I keep saying list post, but you-

Alex Mills: I’m gonna keep saying it as many times as I can.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, you keep doing it. Okay, good. Follow your heart. Number four on this list, this individual, this list, not this listicle. This individual post, it doesn’t fall within any category. It’s a lone wolf. Basically I saw a friend of mine on social, they posted the dumbest thing. It was like, did you know that you can’t breathe when you’re smiling? And of course, you can’t read that without trying it.

Alex Mills: Right, you got me.

Brady Shearer: I shared it with you the other day.

Alex Mills: Yeah, you shared it with me, but you didn’t tell me about it first. Then as I sat there and smiled and tried to breathe, you just watched me. I’m like, “I can breathe when I’m smiling. What are you talking about?”

Brady Shearer: That’s the point of the post. It starts by saying, “Hey did you know you can’t breathe when you’re smiling?” Then it waits a bunch. Then it goes, “Just kidding. That’s not true at all, but did you give it a try? Because here’s the thing, the mere act of smiling can lift your mood, lower stress, boost your immune system, so if you’re having a tough day, just practice smiling.” Sure, it might feel weird at first, but it’s an easy step towards practicing gratitude and thankfulness.

Alex Mills: Yes, that’s a good one.

Brady Shearer: Let’s move onto the next category. This is a category, church invitations. We like to run these types of posts on Saturdays. Churches have given us great feedback on these types of posts. One that we did, I think last month, this month, I’m not sure, was basically a jackpot casino style, pull the handlebar thingy.

Alex Mills: Yes, a slot machine.

Brady Shearer: Slot machine. Right. There’s-

Alex Mills: You can tell we don’t frequent the casino very often. What’s that thing called? Yeah, only the most popular game in the whole place.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, of course.

Alex Mills: Slot machine.

Brady Shearer: Basically you get the three different boxes. The post starts where they’re spinning. There’s a bunch of different animations going through them, and then it stops. One, two, three.

Alex Mills: Church, church, church.

Brady Shearer: Exactly. Then it’s like, “You won the jackpot. Church is tomorrow.” Cheesy, but people love it. I love it too. Another example of the church invitation style archetype, we did a crossword where one down was, and the clue to the word of one down was bring together. Two across was on the day after. And three across was your spiritual family. The answer was church gathers tomorrow.

Alex Mills: So good.

Brady Shearer: We did something similar with Wheel of Fortune.

Alex Mills: Everybody’s favorite game show.

Brady Shearer: Exactly. Where the puzzle was church is tomorrow, and the caption was, “Yes, I’d like to solve the puzzle. Answer in the comments.” We did one where we had a three, two, one countdown. Basically using the psychology of humanity where if we see a three, two, one countdown-

Alex Mills: We have to see what’s at the end.

Brady Shearer: That’s the ultimate stop the scroll technique. Three, two-

Alex Mills: Yeah, it’s like, “What?”

Brady Shearer: What’s it gonna be? What’s it gonna be? Then it’s just like-

Alex Mills: Church is tomorrow. Got me again.

Brady Shearer: Church is tomorrow. Got him again.

Alex Mills: It’s like, obviously it’s Saturday. Thanks for pointing that out.

Brady Shearer: Church invitation ones are always great. We’re always trying to find new ways to make them fun. Stopping the scroll, doing something unpredictable, doing something different.

Brady Shearer: Number nine on this list, also a lone wolf. We took Jesus’ words from Matthew 9:29 in the message translation. The verse essentially said, “Become what you believe.” This was a really retro design, which is real cool. We put what you believe on the screen, and then the word become was horizontally sliding through the frame really quickly.

Alex Mills: Like quick, like you can’t really tell what it is unless you use your finger and tap, and try and stop it, catch it while it’s swiping across the screen.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, our friend Alex Wilson did this on Instagram Stories, and I was like, “Can I borrow this technique?” It’s great for Instagram Stories because it’s like, “What word is this?” Then you’re trying to play the game, pausing it. Then once you get it you’re like, “Oh it completes the verse.” A great way to up time spent on a post.

Brady Shearer: We’ve also done a bunch on pronunciation. These are the types of posts, another category, generating faux outrage. You want to get people dialoguing, arguing in the comments, but they’re arguing over silly things that have no consequence in real life. We did a bunch on pronunciation. Pecan versus pecan. I don’t even know what I say anymore. I feel like my Americanized Canadianized have fought and I … What do you say? What’s the word?

Alex Mills: I’ve always said pecan and then I married an American and she started saying other things. I’m the same way. Now I just, I don’t know what’s true anymore. I don’t know what is right and what is wrong.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, I married all Americans at Pro Church Tools, and the same thing’s happened to me.

Alex Mills: I have lost my way.

Brady Shearer: Okay. So that one we have no answer. This one I do. Caramel versus caramel. Sorry, America, you haven’t gotten me with this one yet. It’s caramel.

Alex Mills: Another one my wife does, we haven’t made a social post out of this yet, but, and this is, Canadians have the record of truth here because the word is syrup. Syrup is, we drink it as a substitute for water up here in Canada. But my wife, she just gets rid of one of the letters and she just called it syrp. She just drops the U. Could you pass me the syrp? I’m like, “Excuse me?” Yeah, you’re just forgetting a letter.

Brady Shearer: I don’t even believe what you’re saying right now.

Alex Mills: In next month’s social pact-

Brady Shearer: I’m gonna have to confront her on that. We did a post on how do you like your bacon, basically undercooked where it looks like just gross brains versus burnt to a crisp. We did one, how do you like your steak? Rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, or well done. This post will always reveal someone in your church who’s like, “Oh I only have my steaks well done.” It’s like, “Dennis.”

Alex Mills: I don’t think you can teach kids’ ministry anymore.

Brady Shearer: You’re being relieved of your duties because that’s definitely concerning. Then we introduced a new type of post this upcoming month, where we present a number of different options, and then we ask churches to rank from best to worst.

Alex Mills: Of course, a rank-icle. My favorite.

Brady Shearer: You’re on another level today, bud. Okay, let’s do this quickly. One to four, pizza, sushi, tacos, burgers. This is the impossible one that I hate.

Alex Mills: Yeah, I can’t do this one. Number one is pizza. Number two is burgers. Number three is tacos. Number four is sushi.

Brady Shearer: I put four for sushi as well, and that’s what made me so upset. I was like, “If sushi is four, it’s last, I have a serious problem.”

Alex Mills: I know.

Brady Shearer: I think I put burgers number one, followed by tacos. I think I put pizza at number three.

Alex Mills: You do like your Taco Bell.

Brady Shearer: Which again is just, it bothers me to my core. All right, this one’s only three, it’s easier. Breakfast foods, waffles, pancakes, french toast.

Alex Mills: Oh, waffles, french toast, pancakes.

Brady Shearer: I’m waffles, pancakes, french toast. Then finally, desserts. We’ve got donuts, ice cream, cupcakes, and pie.

Alex Mills: Let’s go pie, donuts, ice cream, cupcakes.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, I’m on board with that. Finally, personal experiences. We have seen amazing, amazing feedback from these. We did one that was kind of an introductory idea. The question was simply, “How did you come to our church for the first time? Tell us the story.”

Alex Mills: Yes, that’s a great one.

Brady Shearer: Every church told us this was awesome. So, we’ve been experimenting with other ones. We’ve got what’s your favorite old worship song.

Alex Mills: Shout to the Lord.

Brady Shearer: My gosh.

Alex Mills: Come on, it’s a classic. Darling, check. Just come on.

Brady Shearer: Shout to the Lord.

Alex Mills: There it is. There it is.

Brady Shearer: What’s your favorite memory from the day you got baptized? I’ll always remember we went out with my grandparents to a sit down restaurant. It was one of like the three times we did that in my childhood. We went to the Whistle Stop. Crushed it. What’s your favorite worship song that we currently sing in church? Then finally, how old were you when you started attending church? What’s great about these types of questions is that they’ll reveal information about somebody else that you don’t know, and it just makes you feel like you know them a bit better. So, even in all of these posts, if you’re thinking, why are we doing this?

Alex Mills: Yeah, what’s the point?

Brady Shearer: A lot of the time, this type of conversation will carry over into the lobby.

Alex Mills: Exactly.

Brady Shearer: Which is exciting, but it’s a great way to build relationships where you don’t have something in common with somebody else. Then even Alex and I, we’re sharing these answers, and I’m learning a little bit more about Alex. And we’re extremely close friends. We work together every single day. We hang out outside of work all the time, and yet when he ranks pancakes after french toast, I’m like-

Alex Mills: We’re gonna fight about it later.

Brady Shearer: That’s bizarre. I didn’t know that. Maybe we shouldn’t be friends after all.

Alex Mills: Yeah, you know what, a lot of the social posts that we talk about, like countdown timers for prayer, or meditations on scripture, all those things are great. It’s a great way to use social as a ministry and a great way to inspire spiritual action during the week, but it’s not those posts that I’m talking about on Sunday morning in the lobby before church. It’s these kinds of posts. So, they all serve a purpose. They all have a function. These are not just for likes. They’re not just for clicks. That’s not what they’re about at all. It’s about generating a different kind of conversation amongst the people who call your church home, because they want to talk about this kind of stuff. They want to get in fights about pancakes and french toast, and do it in a holy way at church on Sunday. So, we love these posts and we think that the people who follow your church on social media will love them too.

Brady Shearer: I’m imagining parishioners storming up to Pastor Alex and being like, “Waffles, really? I’m withholding the tithe this month.” I kid, I kid. Crossing the line as always. That’ll do it for this episode of Pro Church Tools. We’ll see you next time.



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