What's in this session?

  • Do you think it’s better to post 30 images per Sunday in one post, or is it better to have 1 photo with a story. (1:03)
  • Any Advise on a church welcome centre? (7:10)
  • What best practises are there for safety policies pertaining to adults interacting with teens on snapchat. (11:43)
  • Should I abdicate leadership just to raise up a millennial? How do I become all God desires of me, if I am too old to matter anymore?(18:35)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Brady: Today on the Ask Brady show we talk about old pastors, young millennials, and how the two can find harmony. Well hey there [crosstalk 00:00:32] Pro Church nation and welcome to the Ask Brady show, episode number 25. We’ve got four great questions from the people of Pro Church nation, and I’m joined as always, to my left, you’re right, it’s Roxanne.

Roxanne: It’s true.

Brady: True it is, behind the camera the editing wizard himself, Jonas.

Jonas: [inaudible 00:00:48].

Brady: [inaudible 00:00:51]. And the man with the cam, Alex Mills.

Alex: Thanks, it’s not really as special as it sounds because I work here but, I’m here.

Brady: Roxanne take us away with the very first question.

Roxanne: So the first question comes from Andre and he sent in a video.

Andre: Hey Brady, hey Roxanne, how are you? My name is Andre, I just had a quick question, I just finished watching the episode of Ask Brady show where you were talking about photography and photos versus graphic images. My question is, do you think it’s better to post a album of photos like 30 images per Sunday in one post or is it better to have one photo with a story? My second question is, real quickly, when people are doing videos, Facebook videos like you say a pastor take their phone, is it better for them to shoot in landscape mode like I’m in right now or portrait mode? Personally I do not like the portrait mode and when pastors or people that do on Facebook videos I just feel like it’s better in landscape mode because it’s wider. What do you think? Thanks Brady.

Brady: Well thanks for the questions Andre, the first question, whether you should post a single image with a story accompanying or post a bunch of images, let’s say 30 in a single album, I think that you’re going to find that a single image is going to outperform, when it comes to engagement, a full album. But when it comes to social media as always, you want to test these things yourself. And so we teach this social media formula basically engagement divided by reach, these are two of the metrics that Facebook will give you if you click results after you’ve posted a status. Facebook’s going to give you all of the analytics. So basically engagement would be how many people liked, commented, or shared a post, you could also add in video view there if it’s a video post. And reach will be how many people saw the post in their feed.

And so what this will give you is an individual custom score for your social media posts. And this is important when it comes to comparing next to other posts that you’ve published on your social media page, Facebook in particular in this instance. And basically what you can do by this is you can go through all of the posts that you’ve published on Facebook and see oh interesting, when we post X it performs better than this. Or when we post at this time, it seems to perform better than we post at this time. When we post images it seems to perform better than if we post just statuses with text only.

And so what you can do is you can go through all of your posts over the last month, two months, three months, I think depending on how many times you’re publishing every single month you might want to do all the way up to three months. And just kind of look for the trends, see what is performing better see what’s performing worse and then kind of rank all of the posts in a chronological order. Look at the top five and say to yourself okay these are our top five best performing published posts on Facebook, what makes them great? Look for commonalities between time of day, like I said, type of medium, video, image, status, link post, poll, live video. Look for subject matter, oh every time we post about kids ministry it performs better. Look for what type of creative asset you’re using, so if it’s a image what’s in the image? Is it people’s faces? Is the image really bright? Is it colorful? Look for how long the video is if you’re comparing videos.

There’s so many different things to look for and look for the commonalities. My suspicion, my prediction is that a single image with a story will well outperform an album. With that being said, that doesn’t mean that you’d want to do either or, I think that if you just had a big event, like let’s say you did baptisms, like I could see value in posting an album as well. Especially for those that are fully engaged with your church more than the average person, the might be scrolling through and they were at the baptism service and they’re like oh man I want to look through all the photos, see all my friends who got baptized, maybe I got baptized, maybe I want to see if I’m in the crowd, hey look at me I’m cheering on Kathy, go Kathy.

So this is also like, it brings the question about of like quality versus quantity. You’re probably going to get better engagement with a single really well done image with a story accompanying but that’s not going to give you the type of depth of engagement as a full album will. Someone who’s scrolling through dozens and dozens of photos. And that’s also not something that Facebook can track. Facebook can track a single point of engagement, like I mentioned a like, a comment, a share, but it cannot track the depth of an engagement. It can do that with video, it can see how long you’re watching a video for but they can’t really tell how long you look at a photo, if you read the whole story. Like let’s say you’ve got a whole paragraph of a story, 200 words. Facebook doesn’t know who’s read those full 200 words versus who hasn’t or if they do know they don’t share it with is.

So I would test to make sure you know what’s working best, I would not go with an either or situation, try both and. My guess and a suggestion for you right from the top would be to kind of do like a three to one or a five to one or a seven to one when it comes to single images versus albums.

To your second question, I agree. As a cinematographer I do not care at all for portrait videos. The thing is though, it doesn’t really matter what I think, doesn’t matter what you think Andre, doesn’t matter what we like. What you need to consider is what people are engaging with and if you’re looking at a phone like this, you know that people are scrolling through Facebook up and down. And so if you’re shooting a landscape video, 16 by 9 aspect ratio, the way a TV would be, it’s only going to fill let’s say, this much of the screen. If you’re shooting and exporting and uploading with a one by one portrait view, or even higher like Instagram allows and Facebook has allowed, it’s going to fill up maybe the entire screen. And when it comes to grabbing attention, this is going to perform better.

And so as a cinematographer, we were shooting videos this morning, I love my 16 by 9 wide angle because I’m shooting and used to shooting for that but when it comes to social, we often export our videos in one by one or even taller so that it’s best for the medium that we’re delivering to. The important thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter what you like or what I like, what matters is what the audience likes, what the market likes. And that’s what you have to go with.

Roxanne: Mm-hmm (affirmative). All right. Question two comes from Ryan and he says “Hey Brady, love your tips and advice, any advice on a church welcome center? We have a small space, I am hoping to see a mirror up with our church logo and name, a table for sign ups, holders on the wall for brochures and such”.

Brady: Great so church welcome center, the red tent, the I’m new desk, the welcome center, connect central, central connect, center connection, connect at the center.

Roxanne: I think we get it.

Brady: Closer to the heart.

Roxanne: All right.

Brady: Rush, Canada. Anyway, I don’t know why, that’s quite the little tangent there. Two things that I would recommend when it comes to your welcome desk and whatever you might call it. First is that you want every single thing to be able to happen right here. This is the idea of the central hub, this is what Nucleus, our church website platform, was founded upon. Having this single space where everybody can go, existing member of the congregation, new visitor, whatever it might be to get what they need. Now if you’re a giant church, sometimes churches will split this up. If you’re a church of two three four five six seven eight nine ten thousand or beyond, a lot of these places will have multiple places. So new visitors this is your spot, existing congregation members this is your spot, kids check in this is your spot. So there is reason to think that that might be something to consider if you’re a giant church but for most, 99 percent of churches, you want to have one spot for everything.

And you want to make it, that’s the first thing, the second thing is that you want to make it really clear what it is. I just went through all the different names that people will give to their desks, welcome desk, I’m new center, the visitor’s desk, the red tent. If you are a new visitor, that phrase, that moniker literally means nothing to you. So what we do at our church is we call our welcome desk, Central Connect, but we don’t really refer to it as that too much from stage. We call it the big blue wall, and if you walk into our lobby at church you will not be able to miss the giant big blue wall. And on it it says this is Central Connect and it says, we make it so undeniably clear. So instead of just big letters that say Central Connect, it literally says this is central connect, if you are new or want to take a next step, this is where you do it. It is the most clear and unquestionably non-confusing phrasing. Maybe it’s a little bit on the nose but whatever.

And when we refer to it from stage, when I’m on stage doing announcements I say if you’re new here, and I’ll actually say it twice, I’ll say if you’re new here we want to connect with you take the card from the seat back in front of you, when you’re done take it to the big blue wall in the lobby, we call this Central Connect. Take it to the big blue wall in the lobby and we’ll put a gift in your hands when you do that. This is one of the best ways that I’ve found, and this is not an idea that I came up with. My church did this, I started attending the church and was like why haven’t I thought of this? This is brilliant, I’m going to steal it and share it with Pro Church nation. It is so clear and obvious where new visitors are meant to go because we don’t use churchy language, the visitor’s desk, the I’m new desk, it’s so hard to find those things. You cannot miss the giant blue wall.

And we do this with our kids check in as well, earlier I mentioned that if you’re a church of multiple thousands, splitting up your welcome desk might be something to consider. Our church is multiple thousands and so we also have another big colored wall, it’s the big orange wall and this is where kids check in happens. We talked a lot about someone coming to a new church and making sure it’s easy for them, making sure that the unfamiliarity and the potential discomfort of coming to a new place, mitigate that as much as possible. One of the biggest barriers is what do I do with my kids? Where do my kids go? I’ve got all these kids, what’s happening? We make it very simple, there’s this giant orange wall and this is where kids check in happens. And so even before church starts, two minutes before, I’m out on stage and I’m saying if you’ve got kids with you, there’s still time to check your kids in just head to the big orange wall in the lobby.

These are unequivocally clear instructions for people that are new. Because we don’t want it to be confusing for them. So two thoughts on the welcome desk, number one make sure that it’s all encompassing. Unless you’re a massive church, 99 percent of churches, every single thing should be happening here so that the communication is clear and everyone knows whether they’re a new visitor or existing member of the congregation, where they need to go. Second thing, to make it ultra clear for new visitors who may not be familiar with the facilities that your church is meeting in. Make it clear, if it’s your building, paint a wall, a giant wall one color. The big blue wall in the lobby, if you’re renting, if you’re a start up church, if you’re a set up tear down church, you can do it with big, those signs. Go to the big orange sign in the lobby, go to the big orange flag in the lobby. Can’t miss that.

Roxanne: Perfect. All right, question three comes from Bethany, she says “I’m a youth pastor and I have lots of youth using Snapchat, I use it personally but have not let any of the kids friend me, got to have a little privacy. However, I have a few young adults who are rockstar volunteers and they have streaks and connections with the youth on Snapchat. I am wondering what best practices are for safety policies pertaining to adults interacting with teens on Snapchat. I hate to destroy the intergenerational relationships they are developing daily. Thanks for any advice you can give”.

Brady: Bethany, I would also hate for you to destroy the intergenerational relationships that have been built on social media. This is what makes social amazing, you’ve got rockstar volunteers, you’re using and seizing the 167 hours beyond your Sunday service, or in this case your Friday service, or whenever you youth ministry, young adults meets. You have an amazing thing going for you, any time a new platform comes around we always feel afraid of it, right? Nobody likes change, something unfamiliar, something seems new, we hate it, press against it because nobody likes change because we are comfortable in what we know. And our identity is tied up into what we know, and this isn’t meant to be a framer on change and why we are prone to reject it, but the key here is that there are so many terrible things that you can do on the internet beyond Snapchat.

One of the number one sited reasons for divorce nowadays is Facebook. People connect with their ex lovers from high school, reconnect, meet up, things go south. Facebook has been, it’s insane how often Facebook will come up in divorce, irreconcilable differences, started with Facebook. You know, like it’s insane. Pornography, one of the most popular activities if not the most popular on the internet. All you have to do is Google, it is incredibly easy. Instagram stories also disappear just like Snapchat stories, you can DM on Instagram. Where do you think the term “sliding into my DM’s” came from? It came from people going around the public sphere of social, going into the private and being like what up girl, how you living? Tinder, I mean what needs to be said about that?

The point is that every social platform is prone to something like this. Every part of the internet is prone to something like this. Because the internet is not the problem, the social platform is not the problem, we are the problem. We will always find ways to do bad things no matter what, because we are bad people. That’s why we need Jesus, simple as that.

Roxanne: Truth.

Brady: Now I think the biggest problem here is that people are afraid of Snapchat. People will hear stories about its origins that it was meant for sexting, ugh what a terrible term. And that will immediately turn people off and make people think that it’s, you know what? The internet was used for terrible things, that doesn’t mean the internet is terrible. And so when it comes to safety procedures, I don’t see Snapchat as any different than a message that’s sent on Facebook. Like for instance, let’s say I send a shady Facebook message. You might say well there’s going to be record of that so it’s okay, what if I delete it?

Roxanne: Yeah now you can delete your conversations on Facebook.

Brady: See? Roxanne knows, is she doing shady stuff? Roxanne, tell me the meaning of this, no. I trust Roxanne just like you need to trust your young adults that are volunteers, and your kids. Let’s say something bad is happening with one of your young adults and one of your kids, that’s going to happen and it’s not going to be because of Snapchat. You could send an Instagram DM, you could send an Instagram story, those also expire.

Roxanne: Yep.

Brady: If someone sees something bad on Snapchat, they can just screenshot it. Like ideally, really hopefully, if one of your young adult volunteers, God forbid, is doing something inappropriate with a minor, the minor should be screenshotting that, taking it to the police, to bringing it to you, and then it’s done. And if the young adult and the minor engage in something and Snapchat enabled that, look the problem isn’t Snapchat. And you can’t throw out a platform that’s going to be able to do so much good, as it is already in your ministry, for the sake of the potential that something could go wrong. We don’t act like that in any other area of life, but we use new platforms and these urban myths about what these platforms were intended to do or the origin stories of them. And we create these scare tactics and these mythologies to propel people to do things that we want them to, to avoid change. To avoid what is unfamiliar and uncomfortable for us. Which is just silly.

You know how many people die in automobile accidents every single year? More than 30,000. I’m not going to get in the car ever again. Well of course I’m going to get in the car, I need to get somewhere, I’ve got things to do.

Roxanne: Right.

Brady: It’s not a necessity, I could take public transportation, it’s probably safer. Yet I don’t. Because the risk of the car, which is incredibly risky, is well worth what it gives off, how it helps me. And everyone makes that decision almost every single day. Same goes for Snapchat, in your question you said look at all the amazing things that it’s doing, why would you give all that up and the potential for more even amazing things, just because the tiny sliver of a chance something could go wrong. We don’t do that in any other area of life and this is what makes story telling so powerful. We are all telling stories to ourself every single day. We’re looking at the realities around us, and it’s all nonsense, and none of it makes sense, and so the way our brains interpret things is we create narrative because narrative will make sense of something.

If we know that there’s a good guy and a bad guy, suddenly things make a little bit of sense. Of course it’s not all that black and white, right? We don’t get in a car every single day and think to ourselves, this is one of the most dangerous things I could possibly be doing, we just get in the car and we drive. Because the story that we’ve told ourselves is not a story that would make us fear getting in a car every single day because that might incapacitate us and ruin our entire workflow when it comes to our life. We create these narratives, when you recognize that there’s this narrative that you’ve created or someone else has created or your senior leadership is propagating, that Snapchat is the devil and evil, it’s easy to buy into it.

One, it’s not true, humans are evil, that’s why we need Jesus. Two, three, I’m running out of numbers to count here, most important thing to remember is that if something bad is going to happen, people will do it. And we don’t live our lives in a way that is risk averse to some of the most dangerous things we put into our hands every single day. No reason to ruin the good of Snapchat for the small small small small small percentage that something bad could happen. And just as the narrative that you’re hearing or others are telling to you is helping shape the way you see Snapchat, you can create a narrative that can combat that too. The narrative being, young adults are connecting with students and people are making connections with other believers outside of our services, beyond just their friendships in high school, mentoring, because of social media. Which is a much more powerful narrative rather than a scare tactic.

Roxanne: Mm-hmm (affirmative). All right, fourth question comes from Pastor Dow and he says, “I recognize that the average senior pastor is older, I recognize the viability and the strategic need to create and build millennial church leaders, but I also need to remain viable as a 47 year old leader and contributor for the next 40 years. Should I abdicate leadership just to raise up a millennial? How do I become all God desires of me to be if I am too old to matter anymore? Could it be that if our models don’t shift we will also lose a great deal of wisdom that needs to remain?”.

Brady: Another human condition that every one of us struggles with. We swing the pendulum back and forth, back and forth. Right now the average protistantly pastor is 54 years old. 1990, the year before I was born, or sorry, ’92, the year after I was born, the average protistantly pastor was 44 years old. Pastors have gotten 10 years older in just about a couple of decades. Combine that with the biggest generation in the history of America, the millennials, now comprising the biggest demographic within the American workforce, more than one in three, in 2025, millennials and generation Z, the yet to be name generation behind millennials, young people, is going to be 56 percent of the American workforce, more than one in two. Millennials are here, there’s more coming, they’re everywhere. We are everywhere, I am one of them. She is also.

Roxanne: I am.

Brady: Jonex, Alex also. The point here is that when you hear a stat like that you’re like what is he saying? All old people are terrible? No I’m not saying that, I’m also not saying that you need to keep millennials out of leadership as has been done so much with millennials so far. There’s a both and here, I don’t know why our brains are like this we just love black and white, we love good and bad, we love blaming someone and calling someone the hero. Almost everything is not an either or situation it’s a both and. And so in this case, if you are an older pastor living and ministering in a younger world, in a community that is mostly young people, which is almost everybody, what do you do? You don’t quit ministry, and I know Pastor Dow’s not actually seriously considering that. What you do is you raise up millennial leaders to work alongside you.

As a millennial, as a 26 year old leader, I need people older than me. Every single week I meet with my pastor who is a decade older than me, every single week I talk with my parents who are three, two decades older than me. Every week I talk with people that are younger than me, and every week I listen to leaders through podcasts and read through books who are generations older than me, decades older than me. Because I do not know very many things. I know some things, a lot about church communications that’s why we host this show, but in life, in leadership, I know almost nothing. I’m still figuring out as I go, we all need one another. So the important thing is to look at the demographic that you’re trying to reach, look at your leadership at church and ask yourself, how different are these two things?

So if your leadership at church is all 50 plus white dudes, you’re going to have a little bit of trouble, I imagine, reaching a diverse men, women, millennials, 30 and under. That might be a little bit of a difficulty. Now that doesn’t mean that you need to quit what you’re doing, but what you need then is to integrate younger people into your senior leadership, your leadership team at church, to help bridge that gap. Okay? Here’s a great example, Fortune released their best 100 places for millennials to work, this is a yearly list that they release. Only one church made the list, Elevation Church in Charlotte North Carolina. I got the Carolinas mixed up. Like South Carolina? No they’re not in Charleston.

Anyway, so Elevation came in at number 91 on the list, not the first time they’ve been on the list, I think the first time in a couple of years. I looked into their profile on this list because I was interested and this was what most surprised me, eight out of every ten employees at Elevation church is a millennial. Eight out of every 10, more than 150 of their employees, and it’s gone up every single year over the last couple of years. It’s interesting because their lead pastor is not a millennial, Ferdick might dress like one, but he’s not and that’s not a knock on him. The point is, Elevation’s doing great things and maybe you disagree, but they are highly prominent, reaching people, and their staff is primarily young people. It is insane to think that one of the most prominent and most well respected, most looked up to, most copied, most revered churches in North America, eight out of every ten people on their staff is a millennial. That is crazy.

So here’s what I would say. Look at your leadership team, look at the people you’re trying to reach. If there’s a huge gap between those two things that’s a problem. When churches ask me, we want to be more multi generational, more multiethnic, I say well you’re all the same age and you’re all the same ethnicity so if you want your congregation to look different you first need your leadership team to look different. So that’s the best place to start. No do not swing the pendulum, we’re all old we all need to quit let the young people take over. No no no but also not, young people they’re entitled, they’re stupid, they can’t get anything right. Because neither of those things are true, it’s not either or, it’s both and. Look at your leadership team, look at your congregation, look at your community. If you’re unhappy with any of the demographics between all of those, start with your leadership team which will then eventually over time, takes patience, be reflected with your congregation, which hopefully would ideally reflect the community that you’re serving in.

Roxanne: Yep.

Brady: Well there you have it, another episode of Ask Brady in the books, episode number 25, if you want your question answered on Ask Brady, you can always hashtag Ask Brady on Instagram and Twitter, we will find it. Or you can also hashtag Ask Brady in the comments below on Facebook or YouTube, hey send us an email. If you don’t want your question to be public on the comments, send us an email, hello@prochurchtools.com. Watch all of the past episodes of Ask Brady at askbrady.tv, thanks for watching Pro Church nation, we love you so very much you are doing amazing things, go help people, seize the 167, we’ll see you next week.



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