Tips and Tools to Align your Church Leaders behind a Shared Digital Strategy

Run this exercise with your leadership team to find alignment around your digital tools.
Lauren Ralston

At a recent conference, Austin Smith, Director of Partnerships at Apollos, discussed the significance of aligning leaders behind a shared digital strategy. In the following presentation, he provides an overview of typical digital challenges faced by churches and offers solutions to overcome these roadblocks.

We hope you find these insights valuable in facilitating conversations around your digital strategy!

The Challenges of Digital in The Church

Digital decisions can be tough. Here are some of the challenges our team often hear from churches across the nation:

  1. Do we need a new website?
  2. Do we need a new mobile app?
  3. Should we switch our ChMS?
  4. What’s our digital strategy?

It’s challenging to navigate this digital landscape, and can lead to feelings of uncertainty and frustration. Not to mention, teams struggle with distraction and tend to focus on day-to-day tasks over deep strategic thinking.

To combat these issues, it's crucial to set aside time to align your leaders behind a shared digital strategy.

How to Approach Your Church’s Digital Strategy

To solve these challenges, take the time to write down and create visuals for your strategic plan. This way, you'll be able to make more confident decisions and build more effective digital products.

To create an effective digital strategy, focus on three essential elements:

  1. Align on the problems to be solved, not just the solutions.
  2. Define the target audience for each problem and understand their specific needs.
  3. Decide on the job-to-be-done by each digital platform, whether it's your website or mobile app, and use them accordingly.

Engagement Map Exercise to Align Your Church Leadership

Engagement mapping is an effective exercise to evaluate how your digital tools are working for your organization. The purpose of this exercise is to provide insights into each digital product’s strengths and weaknesses, identify potential areas for improvement, and develop strategies to improve performance.

The engagement map exercise can be particularly valuable in situations where there is a lack clarity or conflicting opinions on the leadership team. Finding clarity around your digital approach can help your team improve your use of technology and ultimately enhance your members' experience.

Here are four key steps to run the exercise:

1. On a blank sheet of paper, identify all of the current digital tools at your church. This could include mobile apps, communication platforms, management software, TV apps, and more. (5 min)

2. Now write the tool names in the place on the engagement map where it is currently functioning. There are five phases beginning with “Attract” and ending with “multiply”. (7 min)

3. Ask yourself, "Which of these tools needs the most attention and/or is not being used in the optimal place?" Make a red dot on the top 3 needing the most attention. (1min)

4. Now ask, "Which of the different phases (e.g. Attract, Grow, etc.) need the most attention over the next 2 years?" Circle the top 2 in red. (1min)

Download the Engagement Map Template to run this exercise with your leadership team and provide clarity around your digital products.

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