The 3-Step Funnel To Predictable Church Growth | Ep. #125

Pro Church Daily is the show where - in ten minutes or less - you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus, while navigating the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years.

June 5th, 2018

One of the struggles for churches in 2018 and beyond is the ever growing amount of digital and social platforms to be active on, and not understanding the value in this. Brady discusses how online presence relates to your church’s vision.

What’s In This Session?

  • #1: Attention (3:12)
  • #2: Engagement (3:57)
  • #3: Next Steps (4:15)
  • Example #1 (Analog) (5:01)
  • Example #2 (Digital) (6:51)
  • Predictable (7:57)
  • Understand the path (8:47)

Show Notes & Resources Mentioned

The Full Transcript

Alex Mills: Well, hey there and welcome to Pro Church Daily, the show where in 10 minutes or less you’re going to get a daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus while we navigate the biggest communication shift that we’ve seen in the last 500 years. I’m your host, Alex Mills. I’m joined as always by the boss man, it’s Brady Shearer, and today we’re talking about the three step funnel to predictable church growth.

Brady Shearer: I find one of the biggest struggles, Alex, with churches in 2018 and beyond is that we feel compelled to be involved with so many different activities when it comes to social media, and we need a website, and we’ve got to have good stage design, and maybe we need to do live streaming, and what about our giving platform, and do we have a bulletin.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: There are really an unlimited number of options for your church, and a lot of the times it can be almost impossible it seems to translate how what we’re doing connects to our church’s mission and vision statement.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: How does having a better website or how does posting today on Instagram, a post that’s going to get a bunch of comments and likes, how does that translate to our goal as a church, our goal being to help people to love God, love others, and at the end of the day we want to be making disciples?

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: That’s pretty much why we exist as churches and what we’re called to do as Christians, to make disciples. How does an Instagram post lead to that, or how does creating a bulletin lead to that? I think what I want to offer to Pro Church Nation in this episode is a three step funnel, basically step one, step two, step three, that will provide context for everything that you do as a church. Even when it seems insignificant, like a post on Instagram, you can understand where it fits on this three step funnel, and that can provide purpose for what you’re doing, understanding why you’re doing it.

Alex Mills: I think this will also be helpful, just to preface this before we get into it, also be helpful for like maybe a social media director who is working with a pastor or a leadership team who doesn’t understand the how and the why of why we need money for Facebook ads and how that’s going to translate into the vision of this church. I think this language that we’re about to introduce and this process will really help you communicate to your leadership, “Oh, well you’re asking why I need this Facebook ad money. Well, this is why. This is how this is going to translate into accomplishing the vision of our church.” 

Brady Shearer: Because at the end of the day, we’re talking about ROI. Like how are we actually seeing what we’re working on translating to what we hope to accomplish.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: ROI. It’s really easy in the business world. Just be like, “Did someone buy this? Yes or no.”

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: But in the church world, it’s all about making disciples, and that end goal is so much more ambiguous, and subjective, and more difficult to track. Sometimes it can feel like what we’re doing is aimless. We want to solve that. Let’s dive into this three step funnel for predictable church growth. We’re talking about church growth in overall numbers. We’re also talking about church growth internally, meaning the person that’s sitting in your pew taking steps forward, getting closer to Jesus.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: Growth within the people attending your church already, growth within the people not yet attending who will begin attending.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: Three steps. Step number one is attention, step number two is engagement, and step number three is next steps. Think of it like a spectrum, a continuum. Pretty much everything that you do as a church can be placed somewhere along this continuum, somewhere within these three steps. 

It all starts with attention. We say that attention is the most valuable commodity that your church can possess, because we cannot get to step two or step three if we don’t yet have someone’s attention. We can’t engage them, we can’t ask them to take a next step and expect them to do that next step if we can’t first get their attention. This is where social media becomes so important, because that’s where attention is being paid in 2018 and beyond. If we can leverage that attention for this first step in our funnel, then we have more hopes of getting people further down the funnel.

Alex Mills: Yes.

Brady Shearer: Second step is engagement. Sure, we have someone’s attention. They’re now listening to us. Well, now we want to engage them. On social media, this could be something as simple as a comment, or a like, or a share, or just pausing and listening or engaging with the message internally. Maybe that doesn’t turn into an actual double tap. 

Finally, the third step is a next step. This is where someone actually takes action. They move from a passive spectator to an active participant. It takes a little while to get there. If you aren’t seeing a ton of next steps, what I would suggest is focus more on those first two steps in the funnel. 

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: when it comes to distribution of this funnel, you want to be approaching this with a top heavy strategy. This is the jab, jab, jab, right hook principle that Gary Vaynerchuk teaches. You don’t want to just keep asking for next steps, “Sign up to be baptized. We need volunteers. You’ve got to give. Recurring giving, recurring giving, recurring giving.” You want to focus more on the attention and the engagement, and that will in turn lead to more next steps.

To give a couple of examples, to bring this from an abstract theory to practicality, example number one, this would be an analog example. We’re not even talking digital. This would apply to everything that you do as a church.

Alex Mills: Okay.

Brady Shearer: Let’s say you have a big baptism service that’s coming up, and you want as many people to be baptized because you know that’s a next step in everyone’s faith journey towards Jesus and being an active and fully devoted follower of Christ.

Alex Mills: Of course.

Brady Shearer: You could of course go up there and be like, “Please sign up to be baptized. Jesus commanded it. If you don’t follow Jesus, well we’re going to have to have a different discussion.” Here’s what I would suggest doing, focus first on attention. We know that the best way to get attention is through storytelling. We have a full course on our YouTube channel, YouTube.com/ProChurchTools on becoming a storyteller. I think it’s the most valuable skill you can learn to help your church, because it’s the most proven way to gain someone’s attention.

Alex Mills: Yes.

Brady Shearer: We know that that’s the first step in this funnel, the most important step, because it is the entry point to everything else. Let’s say I tell a story in an announcement from stage talking about my experience being baptized. I was baptized in my pastor’s back yard in his pool. We were a really small baptist church of like 11.

Alex Mills: Nice.

Brady Shearer: We didn’t have a baptismal tank or anything like that. Went to his pool, was baptized. Afterwards, my grandparents took me out to a sit down restaurant, which was really important and special because I went to like three as a kid.

Alex Mills: Wow.

Brady Shearer: The other one I went to, I spilled mustard all over myself at Swiss Chalet. I never got over it. Swiss Chalet sucks. I hate it. Now we’ve got a fun story. Swiss Chalet is a Canadian restaurant I think.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: People are laughing about it, and now I say, “Look. Baptism is an important next step for every believer. We’d love for you to take that next step and sign up to be baptized,” and then I’d give them the call to action.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: The way this works is I get their attention first, because I’m telling a story. Then I get their engagement because they’re listening to my story, they’re laughing, they’re thinking, “Man, I could do this too,” and then there’s the call to action for that next step.

Alex Mills: Exactly.

Brady Shearer: The more attention I can get, the more engagement I can get, the more likely I can convert that to a next step. 

Alex Mills: Awesome.

Brady Shearer: Let’s talk about a digital example. This can be done equally well if not more easily on social.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: We talk about this idea of stop the scroll, the most important social media strategy for your church. The activity on social is scroll, scroll, scroll. To get someone’s attention, we first need them to stop scrolling. That’s the first thing in the funnel, get that attention, stop the scroll. Then the engagement is the like.

Alex Mills: Exactly.

Brady Shearer: It’s the comment. It’s the share, which signals to the social media platform’s algorithm to show more posts from your profile to this person, because they like engaging with your content. Then maybe next time you schedule a post and you publish a post, you’re calling for kids volunteers. Because this person had been paying so much attention to your social profile, because your content is fire, and because they’re been engaging it triggering the social algorithm to show your posts more frequently, now they see that post. They’re primed. They’re ready to go. They respond.

Alex Mills: Wow.

Brady Shearer: It all comes down to this three step social … Sorry, this three step funnel for predictable church growth, attention, engagement, next steps. There’s a reason I use the word predictable in the title of this episode. When you can accumulate more of each of these commodities, the likelihood and probability of our mission and vision as a church being accomplished just continues to go up, because we know that the more attention we can accumulate, the easier it is to convert that attention to engagement. The more engagement that we can accumulate, the more likely it is to convert that engagement into next steps.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: We know that next steps are the single most important thing that we can do as a church, because we don’t want churches full of passive spectators. We want churches full of active participants. Because at the end of the day if our goal as a church is to help people to love God, love others, and make disciples, each of those begins with a verb, an action word. You can’t have that happen if you have people just sitting in the pews observing. We need next steps. This is the funnel to make it happen.

Alex Mills: You’ve alluded to it, but it’s imperative to understand that this is like a definitive sequential path. 

Brady Shearer: Yes.

Alex Mills: Like if you think of it as a funnel, it’s a one, two, three step process, and you can’t skip any of those steps.

Brady Shearer: Absolutely.

Alex Mills: If you have attention and you’re so pumped up, you see that a lot of people are seeing your posts on Facebook maybe, you can’t just jump right to next steps and expect those conversions. You have to double down and make sure that you’re getting that engagement first. Likewise, let’s say you’re hoping to get next steps. If you have no attention, you could try and facilitate eng, you could try and ask for next steps, but if nobody’s listening, nobody’s going to be taking those next steps that you’re asking. You can’t skip any of these steps. Like you said, you have to invest in this, like in a top heavy approach.

I really do think that providing this language and this imagery of this funnel and really … You used two great examples, one analog one and one digital one, because it’s going to happen both ways. I think this is really going to help churches to understand the why and the how of what they’re doing, and to see the strategies that we’re using not only on social but also in churches, see them as part of our vision statement, as part of our mission to see people take next steps in their personal relationship with God and then ultimately love God, love people, and serve the church.

Brady Shearer: The three step funnel to predictable church growth, understand the path, don’t skip a step, and you’ll be well on your way to succeeding with your church’s vision and mission statement. That’ll do it for today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. We’ll see you next time.