What's in this session?

  • We’ve been doing the social program for a year now - What we’ve learned and created. (0:30)
  • An easy to follow strategy. (3:10)
  • Why these questions are so helpful. (21:30)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Brady Shearer: One of the easiest ways to boost engagement on social media is to ask your followers questions, but you need to ask the right questions. So today you’re going to get 39 different questions made specifically for churches like yours to use on social media. And the best part is that these questions have already been proven to boost engagement and we’re giving them away freely to you. So let’s get started.

Alex Mills: Well, Hey there, and welcome to Pro Church Tools, the show to help you 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 Brady Shearer.

Brady Shearer: We’ve been doing a social program for churches, Alex, for now a year. We’ve been creating daily content for churches to publish on social media.

Alex Mills: Every day.

Brady Shearer: Every single day. So now I’ve created 365 different posts. And one of the things that I’ve learned in these 12 months of creating content for churches, which by the way, is not stopping, in fact, we’re just ramping up for year two. Is that question posts are one of the best ways to boost engagement and to draw your congregation into social in ways that almost no other posts can. In fact, we did a lot fewer question posts at the beginning of the social program and in this most recent month, where I was creating the content, I leaned on question posts more than in any other month, I think. Because as I’ve been looking at the churches that are using our social program and seeing the results, I keep seeing these question posts, they’re doing so, so extraordinarily well.

And I think one of the reasons that a lot of our churches don’t rely on question posts as much as I would say we should, is that the big celebrity mega churches don’t really use them. and so we look up to these churches and these celebrity pastors and we say, “Well all they’re doing is taking kind of like influencer photos and so we’re going to do the same.”

Alex Mills: Oh, that’s a good point.

Brady Shearer: And what I think is lost there, is the fact that, whether it’s me and I’m including myself here, whether it’s me or any of our churches, like we don’t have that kind of like cult of celebrity, that level of clout to just post pictures of us like smiling and holding a coffee cup. Chad Veach can get 4,000 likes. And I love Chad, and I like following him on Instagram but our churches are not operating in that world.

Alex Mills: Sure.

Brady Shearer: It’s a different world.

Alex Mills: And if you’re a person like Chad, you don’t have the bandwidth to respond to all the responses you would get if you were to ask a question on social media. So a lot of what we see from bigger churches and bigger profiles, like individual profiles is like projecting as opposed to inviting people into, Hey let’s chat about this, just because it would be impossible to have a conversation with thousands of people. And you start meaningful conversation. But for churches like mine, even churches like yours who is like 10 times bigger than mine, 20 times bigger than mine. We have the bandwidth to ask questions and then be there, be available to respond and have some sort of meaningful dialogue on social.

Brady Shearer: These 39 questions that we’re about to share with you have all been part of our social program. If you want to be a part of the social program, you can go to prochurchtools.com/products. Find the link there, explore the whole program, the pricing, what it includes, what it entails. But what’s amazing about these questions, and just the idea of posting a question on social, is you can do it so easily quickly at the drop of a hat so you don’t even need to produce this content necessarily. You can go onto Facebook and just type up one of these questions and then use the color background that they have and you can post it from there.

I always stop the scroll on those types of Facebook posts because Facebook likes that you’re using kind of their content creating engine and they give huge amount of real estate, like a big contrast white text with like a blood red background. It’s like so stark. I stopped the scroll and then on Instagram Stories you can just use the question sticker, and you could use these questions in that way. So you don’t even need a Canva, a Photoshop or anything like that. You can take these questions we’re about to share with you, right now and you can create content directly natively on the platforms like Facebook and Instagram. It couldn’t be easier. It could not be easier, Alex.

Alex Mills: You know what would make it even easier?

Brady Shearer: What’s that?

Alex Mills: If we gave, not 37, not 38, but 39 examples of real questions that you can use for the next 39 days.

Brady Shearer: 39 days straight.

Alex Mills: Sure. If you want.

Brady Shearer: Let’s dive into question number one. Name a worship song that has helped you feel closer to God? Now I chose this example first, because I saw our good friend Alex Wilson post this on his InstaChurch live Instagram account. And it stood out to me and it was in my feed because it was getting crazy amounts of engagement.

Alex Mills: So much engagement.

Brady Shearer: This account that he has, it’s got about 1500 followers, which I personally think is not something out of the realm of possibility for most churches. You can generally have like 10 times as many followers on a social account as you do in a weekly service. So considering most churches, around 100 people, you could have 1,000 followers on your social accounts, if you really worked at it for a couple of years. This specific post got 49 comments, and that compared to 12 previous posts, is more than all of those other posts combined with comments.

Alex Mills: Oh nice.

Brady Shearer: So the 12 previous posts did not have 49 comments combined. This singular post asking the question, “Hey, name a worship song that has helped you feel closer to God.” Technically not a question, but hey, garnered 49 different comments. And that’s to show you how powerful a post like this can be. It can engage your community in ways that other types of posts cannot.

Alex Mills: This next question is similar. It’s kind of like that first question. The question is what worship songs move your heart closer to Jesus, (we’re making a playlist). So a similar question, but maybe for a different purpose. You’re collecting feedback as a church. Maybe you your pre-service playlist is getting a little stale and you want to play music. Maybe that not just you like, but that your community likes, so collect that feedback from online. Have some engagement. People are going to learn from each other in the comments, but you can use that feedback to create a playlist to play before and after service. This is a great idea.

Brady Shearer: You can also create a post a week in the future when you actually share that playlist on social. Question number three. What’s a favorite faith memory you have from your childhood? Pretty self explanatory.

Alex Mills: Yeah. Next question. What’s a familiar Bible verse you returned to in times when you need it most?

Brady Shearer: Question number five. What’s the best thing about being your current age? I will answer this question. The best thing of being 28 is I can finally see the change in advertising. But I’m finally the one that’s being advertised to. This whole time.

Alex Mills: You matter.

Brady Shearer: My whole life. I grow up and everything’s for like people that are in their thirties and they’re in their forties because they have earning potential, they have money and now a millennial is being marketed to. I’m like, “Oh, all of these people want my money.” Now this might not be a good thing, but it’s like movies are being made about things that matter to me now. It’s like, “Oh, I remember those times.” Growing up it’s like, “Remember the eighties?” No.

Alex Mills: I don’t.

Brady Shearer: I don’t, yeah, nostalgia because I heard about these toys, I heard about those types of clothes, that’s some weird hair, but I don’t really remember it. And now they’re making movies about the time that I remember. Oh, late nineties yes, Lord, that’s, I grew up.

Alex Mills: The same thing happened to me this morning. I saw a commercial for an upcoming election we’re gonna have here in Canada. And after the commercial was over, I was like, “That was targeted at me.” Like he was talking to me and apparently we matter. So good for us. How old are you, 28?

Brady Shearer: 28.

Alex Mills: I’m 26 right in the sweet spot, I guess.

Brady Shearer: And we’re going to stay here now for like 20 years. We’ve got like 20 years of things being made and marketed to us.

Alex Mills: Amazing.

Brady Shearer: I know, I love it.

Alex Mills: Wow. Next question. Where are we? Here we are number six. What’s your favorite video game of all time?

Brady Shearer: NBA 2000 on PC. It was a CD-ROM.

Alex Mills: Nice.

Brady Shearer: I made a Brady Shearer as my personal custom player.

Alex Mills: Of course.

Brady Shearer: He was 7’2″ I was not compensating for anything whatsoever. That was one I would just put it on rookie and like an average like 75 points. We were 82 and 0. Back when I had a complex cause the Rafters are never gonna win. Fast forward 19 years, champions.

Alex Mills: Champions. Tony Hawk Pro Skater series for sure.

Brady Shearer: Oh yeah, Pro Skater 2.

Alex Mills: So good, yes.

Brady Shearer: The dark slide, you could get into like those secret areas. Forget 2000, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2.

Alex Mills: And on any console. Like Game Boy SP, play it on PlayStation. It’s so good.

Brady Shearer: Classic question number seven. What was your favorite childhood show growing up? Arthur, for me.

Alex Mills: Saved by the Bell.

Brady Shearer: Question number eight. You went to the year 2050 for a period of three minutes you have access to an internet search engine. What do you look up?

Alex Mills: Did we make it through 2020?

Brady Shearer: Yeah, I guess like in 2050 we’re alive. I’d probably look up climate change like-

Alex Mills: How we doing?

Brady Shearer: How are we doing right now?

Alex Mills: What’s the average temperature outside here in Canada? Question number nine, what name did your parents almost call you?

Brady Shearer: Do you have an answer?

Alex Mills: No, I think I was always Alexander and I think if I was a girl, I might’ve been Alexandra.

Brady Shearer: So my full name, I have four names. It’s my family’s tradition for the men to have two middle names and to be called by their first middle name. So my dad is Kevin Christopher Shearer. Whole life, he’s gone by Chris. So up until I was 19 years old, I did not go by the name Brady, which is my first name. I went by my second name, which is Cole, 19 years Cole Shearer.

Alex Mills: Not a lot of people know this.

Brady Shearer: No, and it got so problematic because when I left the house to go to Bible college and I moved across the country, I was like, what better time to go by a brand new name.

Alex Mills: Brand new start.

Brady Shearer: My actual name. Do you know how many times I had to go to the bank and I’d be like, “Yeah, I’m Cole.” They’re like, “Sure you are Brady, put him in cuffs, get them out of here.” Became difficult. My third name might be my favorite though. Brady Cole Jabez Shearer. Why? Because I was born in great pain and agony and my mom wanted me to remember it, so she gave me the name, Jabez.

Alex Mills: Should’ve gone by that one.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, it’s a pretty cool name.

Alex Mills: Well you could switch it up, again.

Brady Shearer: I could.

Alex Mills: Pro Church Tools with Jabez Shearer. Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue.

Brady Shearer: Jabez or Jabez. Which one would you go with?

Alex Mills: Jabez.

Brady Shearer: Yeah. So those three names are pretty crazy. They’re not as crazy as the name that I was almost called. If you’re asking, where does Jabez comes from your terrible birth. What do Brady and Cole come from? Baseball players, like Brady Anderson, like Cole Johnson, like the Baltimore Orioles in 1991. The name that I was almost called Knox.

Alex Mills: Stop.

Brady Shearer: K-N-O-X because Jabez with a Z, Zed wasn’t bad enough. Knox was almost my name.

Alex Mills: Was it going to be your first name, or your first middle name that you would go by?

Brady Shearer: I think it was just going to be Knox Knox Knox.

Alex Mills: Sounds about right.

Brady Shearer: Wow.

Alex Mills: See what kind of stimulating conversation-

Brady Shearer: This is what I’m saying, like this is amazing.

Alex Mills: … In the comments section.

Brady Shearer: Question number 10 what sport or game can you do better than almost anyone?

Alex Mills: Wow. None. Question 11, what’s the best marriage advice you’ve ever gotten? This is going to be a lot of fun in the comment section. This is going to be really meaningful.

Brady Shearer: Agreed.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: More meaningful than finding out, I was almost called Knox. Question number 12. What is something you’ve done that you are fairly confident you’re the only person at our church to have ever done?

Alex Mills: Well if it wasn’t for my wife that I know the two of our said, the only ones who have ever bungee jumped over the Nile River.

Brady Shearer: That’s a great one. You’d put that in the comments and what would happen is somebody would come up to you on Sunday and be like, “You bungee jumped at the Nile River?

Alex Mills: Sure did. And then I’d tell them I was in Uganda for YWAM then next thing you know they’re on YWAM. Getting saved. Finding a wife just like I did. Life changed.

Brady Shearer: Seems like a bit of a stretch, but possible. Question number 13 what’s one piece of advice you’d give to your younger self?

Alex Mills: I’m not old enough to answer that question yet I don’t think.

Brady Shearer: But it’s kind of like your rule. You can’t write a book until you’re 30?

Alex Mills: Yeah, ask me in four years. Question number 14 what is the best breed of dog and why? You can’t answer that question because you have two dogs.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, no, I can’t choose. It’s like choosing between children.

Alex Mills: Or maybe it’s a breed that you don’t have.

Brady Shearer: Well, I doubt it. I would have got that breed then.

Alex Mills: Right, huh. See what kind of dog you get next.

Brady Shearer: I’m not getting another dog.

Alex Mills: Oh.

Brady Shearer: Maybe another kid. Also, thanks to everyone that gave me very good single syllables nicknames for Sadie. One was a Sades, talked to my wife about that. She was pretty excited.

Alex Mills: One was just S.

Brady Shearer: Didn’t care for that one.

Alex Mills: No, what about, what was the other one? Sadie? It was S8D. So still pronounced Sadie, but you can write it down cool.

Brady Shearer: Why do you do this?

Alex Mills: I read it in the comments.

Brady Shearer: That one was actually in the comment.

Alex Mills: I think so, yeah.

Brady Shearer: Oh, I thought you were making that up now.

Alex Mills: Maybe I just made it up. I think it was in the comment.

Brady Shearer: Okay. Number 15 question. Name the one thing you don’t like on your burger.

Alex Mills: Relish. Put pickles on there. Just keep relish off. I think we’ve talked about this before.

Brady Shearer: We have.

Alex Mills: Question number 16. What was your favorite thing to do during recess as a kid?

Brady Shearer: We talked about that one too. Mine was backyard football.

Alex Mills: Oh nice.

Brady Shearer: Speaking of all time video games, Backyard Football with Pablo Sanchez.

Alex Mills: Like no rules.

Brady Shearer: Pablo Sanchez what a legend. Backyard Basketball, Backyard Baseball. Very good. Question number 17. How did you first hear about our church?

Alex Mills: Oh, we love this one.

Brady Shearer: This was one of the earliest questions that we asked and it garnered such amazing responses and feedback from our churches. They were like, “We’ve never seen these types of responses on social.” That was one of the things that first kind of like led us to believe, hey, maybe questions are something we should dive into more.

Alex Mills: And this is one of those questions that can actually give you valuable insight as a church because you can hear, “Oh, people are hearing about us on Facebook a lot based off this feedback. Let’s double down on our Facebook ad spend or whatever.” So this could give you some valuable insight there, as well. Question number 18, we have a few of these. Describe your church only using emojis.

Brady Shearer: Question number 19. What was your favorite subject in school? Recess does not count.

Alex Mills: Question number 20, named the one thing you don’t like on your pizza.

Brady Shearer: I would just like to take this moment to talk about the just terrible choices my wife continues to make. Her family’s pizza, this is her whole family.

Alex Mills: I’m concerned already, that they have like an identity, like this is our namesake.

Brady Shearer: When my wife and I first started dating, and I like met her parents, although we were dating in like high school and youth group, so I knew her parents, but it was like first kind of time that we were all together. they’d take us out to Pizza Oizza, which is an Ontario pizza joint. Yeah, just pizza twice. It’s terrible, what a joke.

Alex Mills: Can you give me a slice of Pizza Pizza, pizza please?

Brady Shearer: Yeah, that was the joke, growing up, just terrible. And they’re like, “Yeah, we get a …” I was like, “Oh nice pizza. I love this.” Like after church. And they’re like, “Yeah, we’ll get one large pizza.” And I was like, “Oh, okay. We’re all sharing this pizza. That’s fine. What are they going to get? Pepperoni? Maybe barbecue chicken?” Can I just say something about barbecue chicken pizza for a moment. Every time I am with people, yes, I’ll get to the other pizza story in moment. Every time I’m with people I’ll be like, “Hey, let’s get a barbecue chicken pizza.” Oh that’s kind of like fringe it’s kind of niche and it’s always the pizza that everyone eats and it always disappears. And then the one that they’re like, “Let’s get a meat lovers.” That one doesn’t get finished. And I’m so upset about this.

Alex Mills: You know what it is? It’s the barbecue sauce is so sweet.

Brady Shearer: Yes.

Alex Mills: So once you get it, it’s like once you get to a certain measure of sweetness, you can’t step down to just like basic pepperoni. Because then your appetite’s going to be disappointed. So if you dare to try the barbecue chicken you’re stuck there. Like you’ve ascended to apex.

Brady Shearer: You’ve ascended.

Alex Mills: And that’s it. Just based off the sugar content of the sauce.

Brady Shearer: That’s a fine theory. And I think you might be right. Whatever it is, it’s so frustrating to me because I only want one pizza. I just want this barbecue chicken pizza. And they’re like, “Well you’re going to be the only ones that’s eating it. Fine, whatever, we’ll get it.” And then they all eat it. And then I’m stuck with this …

Alex Mills: Stuck with this pizza that your wife’s family …

Brady Shearer: Exactly. They order one large pizza. Three toppings only black olives, mushrooms, and pineapple. No, green olives. I forgot. It’s green olives. It’s not even black olives. Green olives, mushrooms, and pineapple. That’s it. Cheese and sauce. What kind of sociopathic family would order that pizza?

Alex Mills: That’s not good.

Brady Shearer: It is inedible. It’s edibleness, is none. It is nill. It is zero. Donut, does not exist.

Alex Mills: Pineapple should never be on pizza.

Brady Shearer: If you put pineapple on a pizza, go and unsubscribe, we don’t want you. We never wanted you.

Alex Mills: But, I mean for the people who do like pineapple, it’s usually something relatively understandable. Like the Hawaiian, they’ve got ham or whatever.

Brady Shearer: How did pineapple get into Canadian pizza?

Alex Mills: I don’t know.

Brady Shearer: That’s a joke.

Alex Mills: But with olives and green olives, at that.

Brady Shearer: Green olives. It’s like the three most offensive flavors that you could put. Oh, let’s just meld them all together. What was this question about?

Alex Mills: What’s the one thing that shouldn’t be on pizza?

Brady Shearer: There’s three and those are them, we’ll put them all together.

Alex Mills: Yeah all of those things.

Brady Shearer: My goodness. Number 21, what’s one of the biggest life changes you’ve experienced in the last five years? The comment section that I remember seeing from a church that used this was a mix of I got married, I got a new job, to people going through tragedy. And it was really meaningful stuff that allowed this church to jump into the comments, which we encourage you to do with all these questions. Make sure you’re interacting and responding to every single interaction that you get and reply to these people and do some personal ministry, and kind of follow up from there.

Alex Mills: Yeah, because I mean, a lot of these questions are fun. We’re obviously having fun on this episode, but when you read this question quickly or at face value, you expect to hear happy things like, “Oh I got married,” “I got the best dog ever.” “I learned what kind of toppings should be on pizza,” that kind of thing. But we’ve seen this workout in real life from real churches where like you mentioned, a lot of the comments that were showing up here were like, oh, some of this stuff isn’t so happy. Some of the stuff is really tragic and it opened up a door for a pastoral opportunity, for pastoral ministry to happen there in that moment, like whether in public or through a private message. But also you learn something of significance about the people that you’re doing life with at your church. So some of these questions really, and we’ve said it before, we’re saying it now, we will say it again. Really do provide an opportunity, open that door for meaningful conversation, meaningful interaction on social. And that’s what this is all about. Question 22 a little less serious. What’s the best flavor of pie?

Brady Shearer: People want us to talk less about pie on this show, so we should probably just breeze past them, and we’ve answered that one like 18 times on different episodes, somehow. Question number 23 what’s your favorite summer activity? Eating pie. Question number 24, which scripture has been your greatest comfort?

Alex Mills: Nice question 25, a little bit dangerous here. Describe your youth pastor using only emojis.

Brady Shearer: Question 26 when did Jesus first become real to you? I think we have a similar story on this. I went to a youth convention called overflow and Jeff Dayo was leading the worship there and he was singing this song called I Surrender and it’s like, I surrender all to you, basically, Jesus I surrender. And I remember this Baptist kid being in this like hockey arena of like 2,000 people and they’re raising their hands like lunatics. What is this? This doesn’t happen in church. And I remember just like lifting my hands.

Alex Mills: You just felt your hands raising.

Brady Shearer: In surrender.

Alex Mills: You’re like, “Please stop, please stop.”

Brady Shearer: Yeah, and it was my youth leader forcing me. And I remember like this just incredible experience and incredible feeling and I always, seventh grade, remember that moment is when, oh, this became not just attending church with my parents. Like this is something that is real to me.

Alex Mills: Yeah. I had that, we were just talking about this recently. You and I. I Had a very similar experience at a very similar like youth conference Acquire the Fire. Same thing. It was actually the Michael Gungar Band was a worship leader. And it was that same thing. It was like just this incredible moment of music and looking around and seeing everyone kind of participating in the same thing that I wasn’t really sure what it was, but I knew that there was an element of truth to it, that there was something real.

I remember the first time I raised my hands was that a delirious concert and I was standing beside a friend of mine. And my parents weren’t there, and just those moments, they mark you forever and you realize like, yeah, this is true. That’s a great question. Question number 27. What’s one book that you would recommend every person read, other than the Bible?

Brady Shearer: Question 28 what do your kids love most about church?

Alex Mills: 29 name a book from the Bible that has changed your life.

Brady Shearer: Question 30, do you have a good dog or any good pet? Take a picture. Tell us your pet’s name, share it in the comments.

Alex Mills: The ones that ask folks to share pictures are also really fun. We did one at Christmas time. It’s like take a picture of your Christmas tree and share it here. Obviously, that’s not a question but it’s just fun to get people engaged and you see like, oh people took time.

Brady Shearer: That’s a good one, do you have a good Christmas tree?

Alex Mills: Yes, but like people took time to take a picture of their Christmas tree and share it and we almost got to share in each other’s traditions a little bit. So that’s kind of fun.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, well, the reason I think these questions can be so helpful, one angle we haven’t talked about yet is a lot of the time you have a pastor or senior leadership in church, and they have relationships with a lot of the people in the church. But those people don’t necessarily have relationships with one another. And so these types of threads can be great for like sharing the personal experiences of people that you recognize at church and you see week in week out, but you don’t necessarily have that relationship with them. And it intensifies this feeling of belonging and closeness and familiarity with people. And it can be the spark for relationships that didn’t exist prior. Which is amazing.

Alex Mills: Who would have ever thought that we could use the internet to do this kind of stuff?

Brady Shearer: Well, it can definitely be used for evil, so knowing it can be used for good is comforting.

Alex Mills: Amazing. Well, speaking of good, question 31, share a scripture verse that is meaningful to you.

Brady Shearer: Question 32, what’s your favorite old worship song? Everyone loves to talk about throwbacks.

Alex Mills: Yeah, and I guess it depends on how we define old here.

Brady Shearer: Yeah. For me, I’m like, more than life.

Alex Mills: Yeah, like early Hillsong UNITED and yeah, my dad’s like Keith Green be like, Keith who? I’m kidding. I love Keith Green.

Brady Shearer: We love Keith Green so much. Don’t get us started on Keith Green.

Alex Mills: Yeah, question 33, how old were you when you first started attending church?

Brady Shearer: Question 34, what’s your favorite memory from the day you got baptized?

Alex Mills: Question 35, what’s your favorite worship song that we currently sing at church?

Brady Shearer: I saw one church post this and I was looking through their common threads and like one song had come up 70% of the responses and this church even got in the like, we didn’t know you loved this song so much. We’re gonna sing it more. Yeah. Just practically. That can be helpful. Question number 36?

Alex Mills: Yes.

Brady Shearer: Why did you start attending our church?

Alex Mills: Nice, question 37, if you could have coffee with one person from the Bible, of course other than Jesus, who would you choose and why?

Brady Shearer: Question 38 how many hours of sleep do you get each night?

Alex Mills: And question number 39 the last question.

Brady Shearer: Did I just say question 39, and then say 38?

Alex Mills: Who knows? Describe your pastor using only emojis.

Brady Shearer: Pro tips. If you’re looking for more questions, something that I’ve been using, 39 isn’t enough. I’ve been going to ask with it.

Alex Mills: Yeah, that’s only enough for the next 39 days.

Brady Shearer: That’s true. If you go to ask Reddit, there are endless threads, endless subreddits of questions. Now, most of them you want to steer clear, do not click.

Alex Mills: Yes, super not safe for work.

Brady Shearer: But a lot of them are like these types of questions that really make you think. And I have been just taking those questions, one out of every maybe 20 is applicable, and then using them for the social program. So feel free to use these, take them, experiment with them, let us know how they are working for you. And if you want to get involved with the social program, again, prochurchtools.com/products is where you can go to sign up for that. And that’ll do it for this episode of Pro Church Tools. We’ll see you next time.



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