What's in this session?

  • The case study (0:52)
  • #1: Chad Veach (2:37)
  • #2: Craig Groschel (3:24)
  • #3: Elevation (3:38)
  • #4: Rich Wilkerson, Jr. (3:50)
  • #5: Steven Furtick (4:17)
  • #6: Vous Church (4:30)
  • The stats 1-in-5 (4:54)
  • TV allegory (5:02)

Show notes and resources

Free Bonus: Click here to download The iPhone Church Photography Case Study – learn to shoot stunning photos for your church with only your phone

The Transcript

Brady Shearer: For the last month, my team and I have been tracking six churches and pastors that are absolutely crushing it on social media. Why did we do this? Well, simply stated, We wanted to learn from the best. And so for 21 days, we recorded every single thing these churches published on social media. I then worked my way through the 1,000 plus social posts that we documented looking for trends and patterns. What is it that makes these churches so excellent on social. And then in this podcast, I’ll answer that question and reveal a new principle I discovered through this case study that I’m calling The One in Five Rule.

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: A couple of weeks ago Alex, I approached one of the team members here at Pro Church Tools Kyle. And I said, “Kyle, I’ve got a great job for you. You’re going to love this.” “Is it thankless?” “Yes.” “Is it tedious?” “Yes.” “Will you be rewarded?” “No. But I need you to do it.” And what I did was I laid out six different churches or pastors on social media that I think are doing an absolutely amazing job with their social platforms. And I said, “Kyle, a lot of churches come to us and they say, ‘Who is doing great on social? Who can we follow?'” And so I said, “I want to do a case study where we record literally every single thing that they post every single day on social for 21 days and then we’ll give that case study away for free.” And Kyle said, “It sounds pretty easy because I’ll just wait until the 21 days are over and then take screenshots.” And I said, “You’re right, Kyle. Except for Instagram stories. I need you to set a timer on your mobile device. Saturday and Sunday my man you need to be taking those shots because if we lose it, it’s gone forever.”

Brady Shearer: We put this whole case study together and then started mining through the, I think there was more than a 1,000 posts in there, and trying to find what are the biggest takeaways, what are they doing well here. And one of the most fascinating insights that I got was what I’m calling the One in Five Rule that we want to break down right now for Pro Church Nation.

Alex Mills: Yeah, I love this case study so much because we’re trying to figure out social, we’re trying to figure out best practices and tips and tricks, all that good stuff. And this case study revealed so much to us. Like we couldn’t explain everything we learned just in 10 minutes. And so this is just one thing that we learned from this study. There’s so much more to it, but this one is real valuable.

Brady Shearer: And if you go to checklist.church, you can download the whole case study so you can go through all of the posts yourselves, and we’ll have that linked up in the show notes. This six different churches that we tracked, we want to go through each six right now churches or pastors. The first one, Chad Veach, the lead pastor of Zoe Church in Los Angeles, California. Chad is 38 years old in the 21 days that we tracked his social platforms and we tracked four different ones. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and aforementioned Instagram stories.

Brady Shearer: In those 21 days, Chad posted 316 times across all channels. That’s an average of 15 posts per day across all four. Here’s what’s interesting. Only 8.5% of the posts that I tracked, I would consider promotional posts. Much of it was behind the scenes. Photos, fun, maybe not especially spiritual things. On average, Chad only posted 1.29 promotional posts per day. The vast majority was not promotional.

Brady Shearer: On to the next pastor. Craig Groeschel, age 50, Pastor of Life Church. He posted 189 total posts in 21 days. That’s an average of seven per day. 14.3% were promotional. Moving on to Elevation Church. Church founded in 2006. They had 119 total posts in the three weeks. Average of six posts per day. 21.8% promotional.

Alex Mills: A little bit higher.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, a little bit higher. Next up number four on the list. Rich Wilkerson Jr, age 34. He’s the pastor of Vous Church in Miami, Florida. 148 total posts in those 21 days. An average of seven a day. 10.1% promotional posts. I know this is a lot of numbers. We are leading somewhere. Stay with us. Steven Furtick is next up. Second to last, age 38, pastor of Elevation Church. 82 total posts in 21 days. An average of four a day. 8.5% of those posts were promotional Alex, and last up Vous Church founded in 2015 out of the youth ministry of Trinity Church, previously known as a Rendezvous. 257 total posts in 21 days. That’s an average of 12 a day. 15.9% promotional posts.

Brady Shearer: What are we getting at here? Well, when you add up all of those different numbers, case study wide, the average promotional post rate was 13.1%. The highest like we mentioned Elevation at 21.8. At the very most only one in five posts that were published by these churches and pastors were promotional in nature. This is the One in Five Rule in action.

Brady Shearer: I want you to think of social media listener or viewer, Pro Church Nation as a television show. And you got to think of promotional posts as the commercial. Sometimes commercials can work and in many ways they’re necessary, but nobody really likes them. So you want to use them as infrequently as possible. The problem is, most people perceive social as a vehicle to point people to the real ministry that’s happening.

Brady Shearer: We use social to point to our Sunday morning service. We use social to point people to our through the week events. But the shift that we need to make if we’re truly going to understand social and use it properly the way these churches are, is to use social to accomplish the mission of the church. Not simply to point people to events that then will accomplish the mission. Accomplish it natively.

Alex Mills: I mean, it’s almost become a ministry of itself. And I’m an associate pastor, a teaching pastor in our church. I pastor, our Sunday gatherings but I also run all of our social accounts and I’m learning that I’m just as much of a digital pastor. I’m doing just as much pastoring, sometimes I’m doing more pastoring, pastoral work during the week through social, through this device in my hands than I am on Sundays. It truly is a ministry in and of itself because, we say it all the time. There’s 167 other hours during the week that we’re not in church where people are going to work, they’re living life, they’re facing real struggles and wrestling with the bulk of life.

Alex Mills: Social is a vehicle. It’s an opportunity to do ministry throughout the week, meet people where they’re at. And sure there’s a time and place to point people to our Sunday services or what our church is doing. Most of these churches in this study had some sort of major release during this time period. Whether it was a book or a CD. Elevation released their recent CD. There are things worth promoting-

Brady Shearer: Zoe had a whole conference.

Alex Mills: Of course, and so you have to promote some of the things you’re doing. There’s a time and a place for those commercials, like you said, that’s a perfect analogy, but it can’t be all that we’re doing. It can even be close to all that we’re doing. And I think the One in Five Rule’s really going to help kind of put this into perspective for all of us who are running social accounts and help us as we’re filtering through what we’re going to post and how we’re going to post it.

Brady Shearer: Well, think about what we do on Sunday mornings. We get the people that are connected to our church to all gather together so that we can have a single person deliver a message to many people gathered in one place. If that is not clearly the same as what we’re doing on social, you’re missing it. Because 167 hours beyond Sunday, we’re all gathered in the same place on Facebook, Instagram, and you can take the pastoral work of the church and similarly to when you have everyone gathered in a physical building, you’ve got everyone gathered in a digital building, and you can do the exact same thing.

Alex Mills: Absolutely.

Brady Shearer: You don’t have to say, “Come on Sunday, and you’ll have your questions answered.” “Can we answer the question now?” “No, no. You got to come on Sunday.” What is that? That’s completely backwards. And the reason we chose these six churches Alex was one because they’re doing absolute great work on social. But also I wanted to choose varying ages of pastors. You’ve got Rich and Chad who are younger, and then you’ve got Craig, who’s a bit older. And even looking at the way these churches manage social, I could tell that Chad and Rich were doing a lot of it themselves. Whereas Craig was having a lot of it done by his team and he would jump in every so often.

Brady Shearer: He was doing Instagram stories that were completely his own in his own kitchen. But a lot of the stuff was done by his team. If you have an older pastor, it’s okay if you come alongside him or her to help with the publishing on social. Make sure they’re doing some themselves, but it’s okay to come alongside them. And then we also chose churches of varying sizes. And you might think that Zoe Church and Vous Church are these giant churches, but they’re like two or three year old church plants, many of which don’t have their own building yet. They’re just expanding like right now. And they’ve used social to catapult their churches and reach so many more people, but they’re not Elevation. They’re not [inaudible 00:08:55]. They don’t have dozens of campuses, huge amazing live stream IMAG broadcast cameras.

Brady Shearer: No. They’re just shooting stuff on their phones. They’re shooting stuff with like little cameras. This can all be done affordably and we need to start understanding that social is not for promotion, it’s for doing the work of the ministry on line.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: If you want to download this whole case study, if you want to see what this One in Five Rule looks like in action by real churches that are doing exceptionally well, go to checklist.church. You can download the case study there. That is the featured resource for this episode of Pro Church Tools. Thanks for watching. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time.



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