What's in this session?

  • THE GOAL: Stop the scroll, start a meaningful conversation, provoke spiritual practice (1:17)
  • #1. 20-Second Bible Lesson (2:17)
  • Promote Biblical literacy (2:20)
  • #2. Would You Rather with examples (4:26)
  • #3. Bible Lottery (6:58)
  • #4. “How To" (8:04)
  • One of the best frameworks for blog posts when it comes to ranking in google is a "how to" post - we took this idea and applied it to social (8:07)
  • Taking the truths of scripture and shaping it into frameworks that are clear and actionable (9:23)
  • #5. Prompt To Spiritual Practice (9:48)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Alex Mills: If you’ve ever been involved with your church’s social media accounts, you probably know how easy it is to be repetitive, it can feel like you’re just posting the same stuff over and over again. We want to help you with that. By the end of this podcast, you’ll learn five social media ideas for posts that are anything but ordinary, and we’ll show you real examples of what that can look like.
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: Alex, every day you should be posting on social media. Every day, I run out of ideas of what to post on social media. And I don’t think that I’m alone there, I think a lot of churches … They know that social is important-
Alex Mills: If you’re running out of ideas, then the rest of us are surely fresh out of ideas.
Brady Shearer: That’s fair. Especially because the person who’s posting on social for a church is not likely a full-time social media individual. They’ve got other tasks, social is maybe not top-of-mind for them. And so we wanted to explain and share five different templates for social media archetypes that are almost certainly something that you have never seen or done before. These are against the grain, they are not a thing you’ve done before.
Alex Mills: They’re going to stop somebody’s scroll for sure.
Brady Shearer: Well, let’s talk about the goal of social, because you know what you could do on social to get a lot of engagement? There’s a lot of things that you can do that are not necessarily going to be in tune with what you should be trying to accomplish. We think every church, basically you’ve got three aims on social.
The first is to stop the scroll. Attention is the most valuable commodity your church can possess. If you don’t have someone’s attention, it doesn’t matter how great your social post is. That’s why you need to stop the scroll, whatever you can do to stop people from scrolling. And then you have the opportunity to accomplish the next two aims with your social. Posting, which is to start meaningful conversation, and provoke spiritual practice.
So the goal isn’t just tons of likes and tons of comments. Those have a place, and can be meaningful identifying metrics, but those aren’t the goal themselves. The goal, stop the scroll, start meaningful conversation, provoke spiritual practice.
Alex Mills: Nice.
Brady Shearer: The first post that we’ve been experimenting with within our social program … And all of these posts come from our social program, if you want to know more about it, you can shoot us an email at hello@prochurchtools.com.
This first post example is the 22nd Bible lesson. We wanted to promote biblical literacy with this type of post because we think that biblical literacy is at a probably low standard. I was gonna say all time low, there’s no way that’s true, but it’s lower than I think we would like it to be within our churches.
And so we took this idea of, “All right, in less than 20 seconds, how can we share some fun, interesting Bible trivia with this list post?” So in this first example we talk about how the Bible is made up of 66 different books. It was written by 40 different people from different backgrounds over the course of about 1500 years, and it is the best-selling and most widely distributed book of all time.
Alex Mills: Some fun facts.
Brady Shearer: Almost certainly there are people in your church that don’t know one, two, or all three of those things.
Alex Mills: They thought it was written with the literal hand of God at one moment in time.
Brady Shearer: Exactly. And now this explains, “Oh, that’s interesting, that helps me understand what I’m reading a little bit better.”
Another example here, we said, “Did you know, many of the world’s most popular names come from the Bible? Like Jacob, like Sarah, like James.” Did you know the longest word in the Bible is also a name?
Alex Mills: Go ahead.
Brady Shearer: Maher-shalal-hashbaz, the Prophet Isaiah’s son, and interestingly, also the inspiration for the name Mahershala Ali.
Alex Mills: That’s going to be our next social post: Did you know fun facts about celebrity names and.their origins?
Brady Shearer: Why must you be the way that you are?
Alex Mills: Another example of this post archetype, we talked about how the shortest Bible verse contains just two words: Jesus wept. That’s from John 11:35. But did you know that the second shortest Bible verse is also just two words? Rejoice always, First Thessalonians 5:16. The longest verse? Esther 8:9, clocking in at over 80 words in the ESV translation.
Brady Shearer: Longest chapter?
Alex Mills: Psalm 1:19.
Brady Shearer: Yes, nice.
Alex Mills: Let’s go.
Brady Shearer: My grandmother has that whole chapter memorized in the King James version.
Alex Mills: Really?
Brady Shearer: She’s a legend.
Alex Mills: Wow, I thought I was good with the Beatitudes.
Brady Shearer: Nope, she’s got you.
Alex Mills: All right, grandma, I see you. Post archetype number two: would you rather.
Brady Shearer: I love this one.
Alex Mills: We took the “would you rather” approach and applied it to fun Bible topics. So let’s go through this quickly. Alex, would you rather build the ark or name the animals?
Brady Shearer: Come on, I’m not picking up a hammer, I’m naming the animals.
Alex Mills: The only reason I think that you building the ark would be better is because I think that, once you got to the “acquiring the animals” part, you, as the young David Suzuki, would be able … This dude is crazy. We went to the cottage last weekend. He had been there a total of six minutes, he goes down to the water, he runs up, he’s like, “”I caught a fish. It’s like the size of his torso. I’m like, “Where did you get it?” He’s like, “I just caught this fish, man.”
We’ll be driving in the desert going 60 miles an hour – true story again – in the Mojave desert. He’s like, “Stop, stop the car.” There’s no one within 60 miles of us, and he’s like, “There’s a tarantula on the road. Back up.” I back up 100 meters and there’s this giant tarantula, giant for a spider, but still, how do you spot that going 60 miles an hour? He’ll just hear a bird and he’ll be like, “Cockatoo.” It’s like, “Dude.”
Brady Shearer: I’m naming the animals for sure.
Alex Mills: Obviously you’d name the animals. But if there was one animal that they were having trouble like wrangling up-
Brady Shearer: I’d be the wrangler.
Alex Mills: Yeah. You would just be like-
Brady Shearer: I’d be the cowboy.
Alex Mills: You’re the horse whisperer for all animals, all of God’s creation.
Would you rather see one of Jesus’ miracles or listen to one of his sermons?
Brady Shearer: Do I get to choose the sermon?
Alex Mills: Nope, it’s a lottery sermon. You might get a good one, like Sermon on the Mount, you might get a bad one. Although I guess there’s no bad one.
Brady Shearer: I have to see the miracle then, because all the miracles were pretty great.
Alex Mills: The ones that were recorded.
Brady Shearer: Some of the sermons would be like, “Jesus, I didn’t need to hear that.”
Alex Mills: I didn’t say it was one of Jesus’ recorded sermons or recorded miracles. You just get to see an everyday miracle.
Brady Shearer: I’m still going with the miracle. I need a little bit of faith.
Alex Mills: An everyday miracle, what an oxymoron. Would you rather have the strength of Samson or the wisdom of Solomon?
Brady Shearer: Well, I have Samson’s hair, so I’m going to go with the wisdom of Solomon on this one.
Alex Mills: Would you rather see God creating the world or Jesus rising from the grave?
Brady Shearer: Oh, I wasn’t ready for that.
Alex Mills: That’s a new one, I didn’t tell you that one yet.
Brady Shearer: You’ve got to see the Lord walk out of that grave.
Alex Mills: I think you’re right. I think you’re right. But imagine him just shaping the entire universe.
Brady Shearer: That might be anticlimactic, because he kinda just said it, and then poof, it was there. So it’s like, “Oh, well that was quick.”
Alex Mills: Third post archetype is the Bible lottery.
Brady Shearer: This is the kind of engagement that you can have in the comment section, that’s what these posts serve to accomplish. And we actually just posted the one about the ark and the animals on our Facebook page, and it was a blast. People love that stuff, so these conversations, they’re fun, we’re having fun. It’s a great way to use social and to engage with people who are part of your church.
Alex Mills: It’s fun conversation, it’s based around the Bible, and then when you get to church, Grandma’s going to come up and be like, “How dare you want to build the yard? You should be naming the animals, Grandson,” and then you’ve got stuff going.
Number three, the Bible lottery. The way this worked was we asked church volunteers and leaders to share with us their favorite Bible passages, and we compiled 10 of them, and then we asked people, “Comment below with a number from one to 10, and we’ll give you a passage of scripture to read today based on those suggestions.”
Brady Shearer: I love this one.
Alex Mills: We’ve also done this with an extremely fast rotating gif where you have 10 frames basically, and you ask people to just click pause, and then whatever frame they land on when they click pause, that’s the passage that they should go read. So Bible lottery.
Number four, the how-to post. One of the best frameworks we’ve found for blog posts when it comes to ranking in Google and reader engagement are the how-to posts, I think because it gives readers confidence that they can do something themself. It’s explanatory, it’s why we love recipes, like, “I could cook something like that? Wow.” So we took that idea, we applied it to social. So in this first example we said-
Brady Shearer: How to build an ark. I mean, the Bible does give us a pretty-
Alex Mills: That’s true, all the instructions are there, you just give them the scripture reference. Maybe that’s for next month. But this first one, how to survive a difficult season. Inspired by Psalm 16:8 we said declare number one, I know God is always with me. Number two, He is near. And number three, Nothing can shake me.
Brady Shearer: That’s better than building the ark. Well, we’ll see.
Alex Mills: How to deal with rejection, inspired by Psalm 34. Remember, God hears his people. Number two, he’s near to the brokenhearted. And number three, he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
Brady Shearer: I love this.
Alex Mills: How about this one? The ultimate advice for dealing with disappointment, from John 16 and Romans 8. Number one, remind yourself God promised life would come with troubles. Number two, put your faith in the one who has overcome the world. And number three, remember God is working together, all things for the good of those who love him.
So essentially we’re combining list posts, we’re combining how-to posts, maybe a little bit of ultimate guide posts in there. So after writing 100s and 100s of blog posts, we have these frameworks that have been proven to engage people, and we’re taking the truth of scripture and shaping it into frameworks and ideations that are clear and digestible for people.
Brady Shearer: And actionable.
Alex Mills: That’s a good one too. And then finally, number five, a prompt to spiritual practice. So in this first example, we start the social post, and this is a video social post, it starts by saying, Jesus says, quote, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world,” end quote. And then another prompt comes up after that says, “Spend the next 30 seconds in prayer, meditating on this problem.” So we start by sharing scripture, we start by sharing a promise of Jesus, and then we say, “Don’t just read this and click Like and think that’s great, take 30 seconds right now, stop and meditate on that.”
Another example, we start by saying, “What’s one thing you’re grateful for today? It can be anything. Got it? Awesome. Now take 30 seconds to thank God for it.” Quick in your mind, think of something you’re grateful for, stop, give thanks. Final example: devote yourselves to prayer, be alert, and be thankful when you pray, that’s Colossians 4:2. Now spend the next 45 seconds in prayer thanking God for every good thing in your life.
I lied, there’s one more example. This one I like, so I want to make sure I say it. “Who is a friend you haven’t seen in awhile, someone you wish you could see more often?” We probably all have someone that we think about like that. “Take the next minute to pray for them.” Sure you can’t see them as much as you’d like, but you can still pray for them no matter where they are in the world.
These examples all come from our social media program, 100s of churches are using it. We give you daily content so that you don’t have to come up with it. I come up with it. It’s a lot of hard work, but I do come up with it, and then we distribute it to you, and it comes with unlimited customization. So if you want to change something, you want to swap out some footage and put in your church’s footage, put it in your church’s photos, if you want to change the Bible verse translation because you’re like, “ESV is fine, but we like NIV,” whatever it might be-
Brady Shearer: Swap out “How to navigate a difficult season” for “how to navigate a difficult sea on an ark”. If you want to swap out something like that-
Alex Mills: This is why we didn’t allow your church into the program. If you want to learn more about it, get the sign up link, you just have to send us an email, hello@prochurchtools.com. That’ll do it for this episode. We’ll see you next time.

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