5 Critical Things for Church Websites | Kenny Jahng

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On this episode our returning guest Kenny Jahng discusses with us a blog he wrote titled 5 Critical Things for Church Websites.

Podcast Transcription


Jason Hamrock: [00:00:06] Kenny, welcome back to the podcast. How are you doing, my friend?

Kenny Jahng: [00:00:09] Doing great. Always better when I’m with you guys.

Jason Hamrock: [00:00:11] Yeah. It’s so good to see you, man, you are a welcomed, welcomed guest. Not even a guest, you’re kind of a brother welcomed on the show because you have so much insight.

Kenny Jahng: [00:00:21] That, or like the unwanted, you know, the guy from down the hall in the dorm that just somehow is always in your room.

Bart Blair: [00:00:28] You know, my crazy cousin Kenny, who we’ll let him out every once in a while to play, but for the most part, we try to keep him locked down.

Jason Hamrock: [00:00:35] Yeah, he shows up in your dorm room all the time. But he’s always really insightful, and he’s got a lot of good stuff to talk about, so that’s why we bring you on the show.

Bart Blair: [00:00:42] Yeah, absolutely.

Jason Hamrock: [00:00:43] Yeah. I’m so glad to have you on. I am excited about our conversation today, but I’d love for you to update the audience on what you’ve been up to? What’s Kenny been up to lately?

Kenny Jahng: [00:00:55] You know, I feel like the soundbite has been it’s been Revenge of the Nerds. Right back in the day, church online pastors were at the bottom, bottom of the pile, and now everyone wants to learn about digital engagement, and so that’s literally been the focus in this season. And it’s been amazing to see so many ministries and pastors just really want to learn, and that learning posture, I think is back. At least that’s what I sense, is this enthusiasm for, hey, we’ve got so many opportunities in front of us. And so my latest focus has been churchtechtoday.com. We, our team, recently took it over and are using that as a platform, as a learning laboratory, to really help churches build that perfect tech stack and see what they can do. God has gifted us with digital, and I always say the Holy Spirit works in pixels, and we have to honor that. God’s a creator, and why not use our websites and all the digital tools that we’ve got in front of us to help further the Gospel? So anyway, and it’s basically the name of your company, Missional Marketing. I mean, that’s literally what we’re able to do today, so I’m excited about that.

Jason Hamrock: [00:02:05] Okay.

Bart Blair: [00:02:05] So can I ask you a quick question? You used this term before we started recording, and you just used it just now. What does a tech stack? When you say you want to help churches build a tech stack, can you, for the dummies in the room like me, what is a tech stack?

Kenny Jahng: [00:02:22] Oh, absolutely, yeah, there’s so much jargon right out there. You know, back in the day before I went to seminary, I used to work in the marketplace and I was a partner in a dotcom incubator, those venture capitalists, etc…in the tech startups area. Tech stack is just the term talking about all the different pieces that you have in your tool kit to accomplish your operations, your mission, etc… So sometimes you have a marketing tech stack, you have an operational tech stack. So we’re talking about, what do you use for collaboration. Do you use Microsoft teams? Do you use Google Docs in the Google Suite? Do you use Zoom for video conferencing? What do you use for email marketing? For your church management software? So all those different pieces, everyone is basically pulling together jigsaw puzzles of their own, right? And a lot of times you’ve got missing pieces, you don’t even know that certain pieces exist, and so building a tech stack, so that everything’s efficient. And I like to say what we need to do today in the church is to honor technology, respect it, but not overuse it or use it in the wrong way. The right way is to understand that we have the opportunity to use technology to scale personal relationships, it’s not to replace personal relationships, it’s to help us scale personal relationships for being a herald for the g|Gospel. And so…

Jason Hamrock: [00:03:44] That’s huge.

Kenny Jahng: [00:03:45] Tech stack is just part of that, it’s just what do we use as a team in our church across all the different disciplines of marketing, communications, etc. so that we can actually be better together.

Jason Hamrock: [00:03:58] Okay. Before we get into…We’re going to talk about five critical things that are going to help your church website. But before we go there, I want just briefly, so churchtechtoday.com, churchtechtoday.com. If I go to churchtechtoday.com, what am I going to see? What am I going to experience? Why should I go there?

Kenny Jahng: [00:04:19] Yeah. So over this last year, we’ve been evolving the content. It used to be, I think, really focused on the guys that are the roadies at a church doing the setup, the tech, the guys wearing black, you know, with the gaff tapes and rolling up the extension cords, you know, people in the sound booth. But I think this COVID has changed everything, and everyone has gotten their hands dirty with digital. And so now I think the question is how do we empower more churches to really figure out how to use all the digital tools, software, etc.? So part of it is discovery, right? I think like Bart, you might not know the term tech stack and you might not know that certain categories of things exist, I think there needs to be a safe place, a resource, where you can come and learn and discover and try things out and learn from peers. I think one of the things that’s great about the church is that we’re so collaborative. Your organization, my organization, we trade notes all the time. We’re here on a podcast together trying to educate our audiences together. And so I think that’s what I hope Church Tech is going to be. Church tech today hopefully will be a place where you can come and learn about different tools, software, hardware, etc., and then strategies on how to deploy them. Again, how to scale personal relationships in the name of ministry and the Gospel.

Jason Hamrock: [00:05:38] Okay, so users go to churchtechtoday.com and bookmark it. Can I also subscribe to receive your content?

Kenny Jahng: [00:05:46] Absolutely!

Bart Blair: [00:05:47] Look at who you’re talking to. Look who e you’re talking to.

Jason Hamrock: [00:05:49] I know, but I got to throw it out there.

Bart Blair: [00:05:51] The king of lead generators, I’m sure there’s a lead generator somewhere on there.

Kenny Jahng: [00:05:54] Yeah, this is one of those things, we are now trying to find, what are the things that church leaders really want to learn about? And then try to build, that’s a jargon term, too, a lead generator. It’s a resource that churches should actually try to figure out how to develop for their own use. But it’s a resource that you can offer your audiences on the Internet that they would in turn give you their contact information and permission to have conversations going forward so that you can nurture them to become raving fans for your mission and join your community. And so that’s what we’re doing. Yes, so the first one is, we’re launching actually this month, a whole comprehensive guide to texting companies. Texting is something that every church should embrace, but it’s bewildering to everybody if you haven’t been using texting for your church. And so we’ve got a guide where we have dozens of texting companies that we’ve profiled, pros and cons, comparison chart articles, etc. So that’s like one example of the things that you can pick up at churchtechtoday.com

Jason Hamrock: [00:06:55] All right, go do it. Okay, let’s get into the content here. So there’s an article, five critical things about your website. Let’s talk about that, let’s go through those five critical things, and we’ll go out one at a time. The first one is information about Jesus. Explain that.

Kenny Jahng: [00:07:13] Look at this. we have websites galore all over the place. But if I visited ten churches in your zip code, my question right now is challenging to church leaders, is do you actually have information about Jesus? If I was curious or asking questions about faith and religion and Christianity and Jesus, do you actually have information there that will actually serve me where I am? Or do you require me to come in person and sit in a captive room where you lock the door and talk to me for an hour straight and people are standing up, putting up their hands, clapping, and all this? Do you actually require me, it’s like a bait and switch, right, sometimes where I want to learn about Jesus, I’m going to a church because that’s where I should be going to learn about Jesus, but when I get to the website, you don’t have all the resources there that can actually disciple me, that actually brings me along. So that’s one of my pet peeves. Can we actually go to your website and actually have some of the basic questions about Jesus, about faith, so that it helps equip me right there without having to attend, without having to sign up for a small group, without having to come to you and your building? How do we do that? And so I feel like that’s something, you know, it’s easy to casually dismiss, but it’s a big aha moment for a lot of churches.

Jason Hamrock: [00:08:34] I look at a lot of church websites, and I’m amazed that I find all kinds of things about baptism. Yes. Well, there’s something that comes before baptism, I mean, I’m just saying. Okay? And that’s just, how to have a relationship with Jesus. Oh, and then the first thing I should do is go get baptized. So you are spot on with that.

Kenny Jahng: [00:08:54] Usually, you have a statement of belief page, right? So you just rattle down Bible verses and little things from systematic theology that you learned in seminary. The average person in culture who just clicked over from Netflix or YouTube or some other site has no idea, that’s too deep, that’s too quick. So how do you do it in a way that makes them feel comfortable and answers their basic questions? I mean, there’s so much you can do in that area.

Bart Blair: [00:09:23] There is, there’s a ton that you can do in that area. But can you describe for me what you would see as a simple, deliverable for an information about Jesus page? If you know Community Church of Greater Cleveland called you tomorrow and said, Kenny, we’re going to hire you to develop this page for us. Where would you lead them? What kind of content would you have on that page? What would that look like?

Kenny Jahng: [00:09:51] Yeah, so actually, I would have just pointed them to you guys. One of the things that you guys do is that you’ve developed meaningful content that answers felt needs with a biblical lens and worldview, whether it be about anxiety, or anger, or relationship, or conflicts, or parenting children. There are so many different topics, that you’re basically just trying to answer questions that people in your community have. So if you’re in a suburban community, that might be different questions versus in a rural community or an urban city center. And so there are these questions, think FAQs about Jesus, FAQs about religion. What’s in it for me? Why should I be coming to church? Why? Because there’s this thing about Jesus, this person, Jesus. Who is Jesus? That’s where I would start.

Kenny Jahng: [00:10:45] And there are tons of resources out there that you can use that you don’t need to create from scratch. I’ll give you one example, is the Bible project, right? The Bible project has created so many great explainer videos that are completely free to use for churches, that you can actually embed videos and tell stories about Jesus on your website. And then again, I’ll go back to the resources that you guys have, that you’ve actually built copy-written, SEO’d, all that kind of stuff that’s been optimized, and more importantly than all that other stuff, answers questions that people are actually asking about Jesus. Those are the types of things that you do. I think you have over 70, 80 pages worth of stuff…

Jason Hamrock: [00:11:26] Yeah, we do.

Kenny Jahng: [00:11:26] That you guys can work with churches to help put on their site, and then answer questions and bring people in. I think that to me when you do that, when you answer questions about Jesus for people, you’re doing a couple of things. One, you’re providing direct relevance, you’re demonstrating the relevance to the person who’s visiting your site. It’s not about me, me, me, the church, it’s all of a sudden about you, you, you, the person who’s visiting my site. What questions do you have? How can we help you? Second is when you answer it in thoughtful ways, especially ways that the culture hasn’t answered it or other churches aren’t voicing them, then you set yourself as an authority, as a place for If I have questions about faith and spirituality and Christianity, then this is a safe place that I can go to, it sets up your authority. And when you do that across multiple topics, and you do it over and over and over again, then you actually build trust with that audience. And those three things are so important to engage people, get people off of the Internet, and into a personal relationship with you offline. So anyway, that’s a starting point, let’s start with Jesus, let’s answer questions, and let’s not complicate it. Just start asking questions and answering them online.

Jason Hamrock: [00:12:40] Yeah, and I don’t think the answer is a six-page, single-spaced, document about Jesus. You’ve got to design it so it’s reader-friendly, in bite-sized chunks. And if you want to go deeper, you click the little button, and it goes down so you can go deeper if you want. But boy, you are so right, oh, man. And by the way, when you add that information in there, it gets SEO’d, and organically you can start rising up in the organic search results when someone’s searching for Jesus, which is awesome. Yes, that’s a good one, that should be number one. Hello, that should be number one. Let’s talk at the next one, About Us. Talk to us about the About Us page.

Kenny Jahng: [00:13:25] Yeah. Again, most websites have an about us page. We all know that. But do you actually do the job of what people expect in the about us? Are you actually meeting that objective? So do you have a really good, crisp way of explaining to someone why your church exists, specifically in that town, what you care about, what’s your ministry approach, how are you trying to help redeem the culture in your town, in your zip code, and who are the people that are actually leading the different ministry areas for those things? People have relationships with people, they don’t have relationships with institutions. And so you have to humanize, as quickly as possible, the things that you’re doing in the community for the community. And so I think that’s just one of those things in terms of positioning. And I’m biased because I’m a Story Brand certified consultant, but that to me is, you’ve got to position everything for them, for the community. The about us should not be, we’re so big, we have this many people, this is what we do, here’s our building has a huge parking lot. It’s not about us like that, really, it’s about them. We call it about us, but it’s an invitation for them to join the story together on our mission together. So anyway, there’s so many different ways that you can go with that.

Jason Hamrock: [00:14:49] Well, I would…

Bart Blair: [00:14:50] Yeah. I’m just going to pause there for a second. You’re about us page should be an invitation for them to join us in our story. And that’s usually the about us. Page is a brochure. It’s a digital brochure. Yeah. About how awesome we are and how and what we offer you rather than rather than trying to connect with you where you are and inviting you along in the process there. Love that.

Jason Hamrock: [00:15:17] Kenny Well, and I think.

Kenny Jahng: [00:15:19] The gold paradigm is the ABC church, right? It’s all about us. It’s the holy huddle. We don’t care about you, it’s the holy huddle. A It’s a fractional. You need to come to me. You need to look at me. You need to listen to me. Be is all about the building. You just need to come to our building, to our activities. We don’t come to you. Anything outside of our parking lot is not church, right? If you’re in the community, it’s not church. And then see is once we get you here and lock the doors, it’s all about See, Fashola, We want your tache.

Bart Blair: [00:15:46] To build our.

Kenny Jahng: [00:15:47] Building and programs. No, that’s the old model. We got to abandon the ABC church model.

Jason Hamrock: [00:15:53] Yeah, I’ll add on top of that. When I think about us, it’s usually about our staff and about our leader and about our elder board. Who cares? I want to know about the congregation. Are those my people and what are you doing that shows me interest in terms of serving the community and being outwardly focused and friendly. And there’s things for you and your family to engage here and get help to whatever whatever the the felt need issue is. Maybe it’s faith, maybe it’s marriage, whatever it is. That’s your about us. Page In fact, I don’t even really like using about us because it’s just like, oh, it’s almost as worse as I’m putting my mission statement on the home page.

Kenny Jahng: [00:16:32] Yes. You need all that stuff, right? You that stuff needs to be on your site or maybe even in that section, but it needs to be framed and positioned. Yeah. Like the you need a staff page, you need a bio about the leadership in the pastor, etc.. But that’s not the only thing, right. I think the big the big shift paradigm shift to help someone craft a better about a section really is stop assuming people’s interest and then start demonstrating and and explaining why, why, why our church matters. That’s that’s a huge paradigm shift. But if you can adopt that, a little bit of a shift in perspective, it helps you write and produce content that’s so much more engaging and gives you traction with the visitors.

Jason Hamrock: [00:17:19] Yeah, Yeah. Okay. Third one is stranger friendly invitations. Yeah.

Kenny Jahng: [00:17:26] So churches love saying, Oh, we have a first time guest team or first time visitor, we call them connection cards and that. At the end of the day, it’s intimidating to go into a church, especially if you’re alone.

Jason Hamrock: [00:17:40] Yeah.

Kenny Jahng: [00:17:41] You are a bunch of strangers to somebody else that’s coming in, you’re not friends, they’re not guests in your life. They don’t know who you are. Right? There is a step before they become your guest that you both are strangers to each other. So how do you make it stranger friendly? How do you make something that inviting or that safe to remove the risk so that you’re the person who visits your church for the first time, who doesn’t know anybody is actually going to feel comfortable? That’s a very, very big ask, right? That’s very, very hard. But I do think that if you can actually. You know, work with the teams internally and really stress test everything that you’re doing for external audiences to make them stranger friendly. Then things change. Growth really can happen once that happens.

Jason Hamrock: [00:18:34] Hmm. I love that. I mean, because I think it is super intimidating to if you’re in a new community or there’s a reason why you’re going to a church for the first time. It could be a divorce situation. It could be having some serious issues. It could be I’m new to whatever it is, right? You’re walking. I mean, how often do you walk into a brand new building, like a gym or something like that and you don’t know anybody, Right? It’s intimidating, right? You just kind of stay to yourself. So I am. I’m with you 100%. We have to be over, you know, really help our congregation understand where you’re here to love on people and be very welcoming and remove that barrier to entry as much as possible.

Kenny Jahng: [00:19:17] Now, I will say one example that you can think through is usually when parents are bringing their kids for the first time and say, you’re churched, you know that there’s a kids program and you know you’re going to leave them alone. So what happens? The kid is the stranger. The parent is then talking them through what to expect. Don’t worry. I’m only going to be two doors down. There’s going to be three people that are going to be able to help. You’re always going to be able to find somebody. You’re going to find other kids that are your age. You’re talking your child through all the things that remove that risk and increases confidence that it’s going to be okay. How do we do that with everybody else? People? Yes.

Bart Blair: [00:19:59] The big people in the room. I think that, you know, one of the hardest things for churches and I think this applies to every one of these five critical things for a church website. But I think it’s particularly of importance when we talk about an invitation, and that is we have to run everything through the filter of our unchurched neighbor and the person that we would like to see come to our website and come to our church. And we don’t do that very well. We use insider language, we use insider terminology. And you made a statement earlier, maybe this is part of your story brand indoctrination, but you said don’t assume that you know what people want or what they’re looking for. And I think that when we’re extending an invitation, look, here’s the reality. If everybody in my neighborhood was looking for a church to attend. I’ve got two churches at the end of the street, and those two churches would be full on Sunday morning. Yeah. But they’re not, because the vast majority of the people in my neighborhood, in my community are not looking for a church to attend. But there are other things that they are looking for.

Bart Blair: [00:21:12] And so what I need to do as a church leader is try to figure out what it is that they’re looking for so that I can create opportunities to intersect with them and invite them into those things, invite them into those processes or those relationships or those things that are going to serve them where they are. Most people in America today are not looking for a place to go sing a few songs that they don’t know with strangers, with strangers in a giant karaoke bar, and listen to some guy talk to them about some theological things that they’re not even sure if they believe or not. Most people aren’t looking for that, but they are looking for something. And Google is proof of that, right? Jason and I talk about this with churches all the time. If you want to know what people in your community are looking for, just go look at the Google data of what people are searching in your community, in your name. And if you’re not in if you’re not providing answers incarnate only for the questions that they’re asking, that they’re trying to DIY on Google and YouTube, you will forever be irrelevant to them. Yes, I will stop there.

Kenny Jahng: [00:22:19] Now, this stranger-friendly posture, I think, is my rant against churches for their ministry philosophy. But we’re talking about websites. The website is the perfect place that you can nerd out and talk ad nauseam about all these little things that you might not do from the stage, you might not do externally in an ad. You could, this is where your blog comes in, this is where your social media comes in. You could answer all those questions that people have in their minds that you want to get out there, but it’s not efficient to do it in different areas, but you can do it on through content marketing.

Jason Hamrock: [00:22:56] I had an idea for churches talking to their day and they were talking about building the ultimate Christmas page, and I thought if I was because he might go to church, if I was going to go to that church, I might want to experience like what Christmas is like there. Plus, I’d probably want to read some kind of review about the church. Right. And I was and I thought, well, what if you actually had either testimonials or reviews on your church website, not just on Google or Facebook or Yelp, right? And in churches never do them going. Why not? You know, and it’s one thing for the pastor to talk about. I mean, he gets paid to talk about how good the church is. So don’t go there. You know, use somebody that’s in your congregation that I might relate to. Right. And have a.

Bart Blair: [00:23:39] Situation. Yeah, it’s interesting, Jason. It feels a little cringy, but we don’t hesitate to get people to share their stories about how Jesus has impacted their life or changed their life or being connected in a certain ministry has impacted them. And so I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with if your church puts on a fall festival, if your church has a Christmas Eve service, or your church is doing something that’s outreach-oriented, to have people who have been a part of it and experienced it, maybe either as a volunteer or as just a general participant, to have them share their story, whether on video or in print on the website. I think that’s a really cool idea.

Jason Hamrock: [00:24:16] Even if it’s just a soundbite of, I love my church, and our family loves coming here. We’ve met so many people and we’ve got connected, and my kids are different now. That’s it. I mean, if you had that as a soundbite, that would almost encourage me. I’m going to go check that out. If their kids like it, I mean, my kids might like it. Right.

Kenny Jahng: [00:24:32] So in e-commerce, we have something we call a wall of love. So sometimes it’s a page that’s literally just a wall of testimonials, screenshots of comments from social media or from emails, sentences that you screenshot and put into there. And you can organize those different categories. E-commerce sites do that all the time, but it’s not done for churches and I don’t know why. And there’s a difference between testimonials and case studies. You need to have both testimonials, right? They actually point to the ministry fronts, and your ministry approach, and what you guys are doing, those programs, and they talk about that and actually, it undergirds the authority that you guys have. Case studies talk through the experience that I went through a small group, or my child went through the K through five program for Sunday school program. And it talks about specific elements of that that you can use, that actually provides relevance to new prospective visitors to the church. So you need both. But testimonials are so easy to garner, especially from your community. It’s just one of the things I feel like, Oh man, if you just sent that one survey right to your congregation, you would be able to get dozens of them immediately.

Jason Hamrock: [00:25:47] Right.

Kenny Jahng: [00:25:48] Then off it’s done This week.

Bart Blair: [00:25:49] We just added a sixth critical thing that websites, and the church websites need, and that is a wall of love. You need a wall of love. Okay, let’s let’s get back on track here. What’s the next one on our list, Jason?

Jason Hamrock: [00:26:00] It is right. Goes right into it. Plan a visit page.

Kenny Jahng: [00:26:03] Yeah. Yeah, that. So one of these things that we hope that prospective visitors do, we gear our content for it, but then we actually never help them actually do it. So what’s the purpose of the website? Most of the time, one of the core priorities is to get people to visit to make that decision to visit. And it’s just logical that, hey, if you’re ready to actually come this Sunday or next Sunday or the following Sunday, if you’re ready to bring your family, why don’t we just help you a little bit further? So plan your visit. And it could be practical things such as some churches that are kids ministry needs check-in or registration data for safety reasons, etc. You can get that out, get that done now before they actually have to sit in the lobby and fill out paperwork. There can be things like, oh, help you decide which campus to go to. If you have a multi-site. There are so many different questions that you can actually help make that decision in a micro commitment and most importantly, receive some information with permission to send them some reminders, some nudges, and potentially some connection points even before they get to church.

Kenny Jahng: [00:27:19] Right. How might we pray for you? Maybe there’s a call that you offer that says, Hey, we’d love to get on the phone for 10 minutes and pray with you The likelihood for someone to visit your church after you pray with them or even just send a voicemail back. That’s been a tactic that I’ve seen work very, very well. We’re on a plan. Your visit form. You ask a prayer request and you simply send back an audio recording of you praying for them and their need and the request. And then you have the opportunity to be able to say, Hey, I’d love to meet you in person. I’d love to make sure you have a VIP experience on Sunday. Is there anything else I can do? Can I help you with your kids? Can I help you with parking? Right, all that kind of stuff. Send way a plan your visit page or module or something to really explicitly help them do. That is something that every church website should be doing.

Jason Hamrock: [00:28:11] You know, it’s interesting that I think it’s really like you said, it’s really intimidating to come to a church for the first time, especially if you’re churched or unchurched, but you’re like, Yes, I’m going to go do this. I actually think it’s it’s almost better to say when you’re ready. but before then, watch online, and get comfortable with us. We want to answer your questions, engage with us online. I’ve got a church that we work with that recently added to their connection card. You know, how do you find us? Like a friend? I drove by or whatever. They had another bolt that says, I’ve been attending online and now I’ve come in person and we’re finding that more people are checking that box, which is just indication that people will watch you for a season. And I think it’s important that we acknowledge that to say, hey, your plan a visit could be you’re going to sit on your couch and visit. That’s totally cool, right? And get information, get comfortable, and then when you’re ready, get in your car and drive on over on Saturday or Sunday. And I think we have to give people that permission.

Kenny Jahng: [00:29:10] Absolutely.

Bart Blair: [00:29:11] I think, you know, there’s something about that that I think we’ve lost culturally in the church that makes a lot of sense. Most people who are sports fans, I’ll use sports as an example, because every Sunday afternoon at this time of year here in the fall, there are football stadiums all across the country that are filled with literally hundreds of thousands of people who have paid millions of dollars in money to buy tickets to go there and then will spend millions more on merchandise and refreshments and whatever. Most, if not all of those people started by watching a team online.

Kenny Jahng: [00:29:52] Yes.

Bart Blair: [00:29:52] On TV. They became a fan of the team, watching that team on TV, and it culminates in needing to go and have that experience in person. Now, granted, if you’re dropping 1000 bucks on sports tickets because there are some people, I guess, that buy season tickets to some sports teams and that’s not what we’re looking at. But I think that there’s a natural progression. I’ve been to bookstores, to book signings, for authors. I’ve never known anyone to go to a book signing and get an author to sign a book before they’ve actually read that author’s books. You read the books first, you get to know them, and then you want to go see them in person. And I think the same thing is true in that whole transformational process of connecting with people online, inviting them to check us out, inviting them to kick the tires. I heard a guy who does book launches for authors say you’re asking people to come and make a decision as to whether or not you’re a good fit for them before you ask them to actually transact. And the transaction for us is that in-person visit. So checking out the website, watching an online service, following us on social media, that’s all part of that person’s process of trying to decide if your church is a good fit for them. I think that when people do that and they show up on a Sunday morning, they’re more likely to get engaged and get connected incarnationally a lot faster because they’ve already decided that you’re probably a good fit for them. They’re going to fill out, you know, how many times I’ve heard pastors and church leaders say, well, we mentioned to people every single week that we want them to fill out the connection card, but nobody ever fills out the connection card. Well, that’s because they’re on their first Sunday, they’re not going to fill out that connection card. They haven’t decided yet if you’re a good fit for them and whether or not this is going to be their church. But when they’ve been through that journey online, I think it actually expedites that process.

Jason Hamrock: [00:31:44] I kind of like the idea of season ticket holders for churches. That’s pretty good. You know, you buy a yearlong pass, and you have to pay a tithe for that.

Bart Blair: [00:31:53] Let’s see if we can market that. Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know.

Jason Hamrock: [00:31:56] Okay, let’s get to the last one, and this is one of my favorite ones, have an active blog. Talk about the benefits.

Kenny Jahng: [00:32:03] Oh, I mean, in this day and age right now, this should be a no-brainer. Look, we know that…I just had this example with a client of mine that we’re coaching. We were talking about how much energy and effort they put into publishing for their Facebook page, and then what happened a couple of years ago, Facebook zero happened, Facebook explicitly is telling people that if you have a page, we’re not going to show it to…If you have 1000 followers who opt-in and say, I want to see information about that page, they’re explicit and say, no, we’re not going to show it to you, we’re actually going to bring that down to 10%, 7%, 5%, and actually it’s eventually going to go to zero, and you’re going to have to pay to actually show it to them. And not only that, you’ll never be able to pay enough to show it to that entire list of people who raise their hands. Social media, and rented spaces, always change the rules and they’re not your rules. You need a place where you can bring people back and actually have a place that you control, and this is what Google rewards over and over and over again that you actually, I can tell you that, I can’t tell you how many times where if you have a local site talking about local issues and using keywords and phrases and referring to local other things in your town, that you’ll be able to be elevated in the ranks for social and search when people actually search for that stuff because it’s so easy to do relative to everybody else. So anyway, a church blog is definitely something that you have to invest in. The art of writing forces people to actually clarify their message, I think that you should have your entire staff contribute an article every single month, one person, one article across your entire staff, everyone should be able to talk about something that’s relevant to people who are considering coming to church for the first time.

Jason Hamrock: [00:34:04] When I have this conversation with churches they literally say that, I don’t have time to write a blog. And I say, well, you don’t have to, you have 52 of them. They’re like what? You preach on Sunday, right, somebody preaches on Sunday, so that turn that sermon into a blog.

Kenny Jahng: [00:34:22] Absolutely.

Jason Hamrock: [00:34:22] The service we offer churches. But I’m going, you take that 3000 words that were preached, and you turn it into about 1000 word, very helpful. DIY blog. Hello. You don’t have to actually originate the content, it’s already been created. And they are like, I never thought of that. Like, yeah, and then you can put that sermon on that page, you can have some snippets on that page, have a gated content piece or a download on that page. Come on, man, it’s not that hard. You have to.

Kenny Jahng: [00:34:50] And talk about the relevance, right? I mean, Jason, think about it, what’s a sermon? A sermon is what the people need to hear that week, the people in your zip code want to hear that week, and the words are relevant to the people in your zip code, that’s definitely square one, right? You’re a content machine, the church is a content machine, by definition. That’s square one, use your sermons. And I would argue you shouldn’t just publish your entire sermon as is, you have the ability to slice and dice most sermons. Hey, you’ve got the Tim Keller three-point sermon, break it up into three different articles.

Jason Hamrock: [00:35:28] That’s right. That’s right. Yeah. You may have, like, guest speakers, so don’t use them, but that’s where you use the staff. Like you could use, you can have like 12, once a month, have 12 blogs, plus another 40 or 50 or whatever, you got it, that’ll be a really robust SEO machine that you’re putting on your website that’s going to help people.

Bart Blair: [00:35:49] I think it is important to note that SEO and the blog is a long play. You know, the short-term benefit of having an active blog is that you can regularly and consistently provide content that can be repurposed for social media, can be used in your electronic newsletter, and can engage your local church body. We work with churches where we help them actually run ads towards some of the written content that’s on their website, but the SEO content, it’s a long-term play. And it’s interesting, I was actually on a call with a church earlier this week, it’s a relatively, I’ll call it a normal size Southern Baptist Church in a semi-rural part of Virginia. You know, a church of maybe a couple of hundred people there, they’re trying to make an impact in their community, they’re not trying to be a worldwide global ministry. But as I was reviewing the analytics on their website with them this last week, the second most visited page on their website was a blog post written in 2018, which was a summary of a sermon from four years ago. And the pastor that I’m talking to is like, well, I don’t understand why there are so many people going to that page. I mean, that’s like four years old. And I’m like, exactly, that’s the way SEO works. People are Googling this particular topic, and Google has decided that your blog post from 2018 is an authoritative article on that particular topic. I’ve used this example for years and years, but if you Google the history of the Easter Egg, Chase Oaks Church in Plano, Texas, wrote a blog post about three or four years ago, and Google has decided that that blog post on Chase Oaks Church website is one of the most important articles on the entire Internet about the history of the Easter egg. And every single month they are getting thousands of new visitors to their website on a blog post written four years ago on a topic that people just have a curiosity about. What’s the history of the Easter egg? Of course, needless to say, around Easter time, that’s like the top visited page on their church website.

Jason Hamrock: [00:37:53] Yep.

Kenny Jahng: [00:37:54] Now I will say though, it’s a long-term play. But Google is very, if you’re consistent in publishing, Google pays attention to everything you put out. And so I’ll just give you an example. On Church Tech Today, we just published an article, Things to Have in your Church Sound Booth or Your Media Booth, and within hours they ranked at number one. If you actually Google things to have in your church sound booth, or things that in your church media booth, because we were talking to a pastor and he’s like, there are so many things that I need a checklist because I keep forgetting like batteries and cords and stuff like that. And so we just wrote an article, and within hours, it rose to number one. I think it’s, you should try it now, Google things to have in your church sound booth and I think it’s still in the top two or three, if not number one in Google search. But it’s within hours, and it’s the same thing, I think if you’re publishing consistently, your trust goes up with Google that says, oh, I should pay attention to this website. And especially if it’s local content, if you’re talking about local things, I do think that you have the ability to have traction for…I’m talking about like in the context of if you have an event coming up, right, we can write about…Today, we’re doing this in the October and November timeframe, you could write about Easter so that it comes up in Easter, but you could talk about Christmas, you could talk about something that’s even Thanksgiving at this time and still get results. So short term, it’s definitely long term, yes, but you can get some pretty immediate results if you get into the habit and discipline of publishing regularly. You guys know that, right?

Jason Hamrock: [00:39:31] Yep. Yep. Okay, let’s wind this down. Great information, really good points there. Tell us again, go to churchtechtoday.com, but how can people get a hold of you, Kenny, if they’ve got questions or they want to chat with you?

Kenny Jahng: [00:39:46] Absolutely. So, you know, things change over time, right now, the platform I’m choosing to live on first, natively, is Instagram. So if you look me up, KennyJahng@Instagram, also church tech today on Instagram, we are actually investing in carousels and reels because that’s working. So if you want to go to church tech today on Instagram, you’ll see what carousels are, and they’re all summaries of great tips, etc., that’s what your church should be doing, that kind of stuff. You can also find me on LinkedIn, and I’m heading over to TikTok next, and so that’s where churches also should be thinking.

Bart Blair: [00:40:27] So as we get off this call, you’re headed over to TikTok.

Jason Hamrock: [00:40:29] Literally, right now. Right now. Well, Kenny, thank you so much, man, it’s always a wealth of knowledge that comes out of you whenever we talk and get you on the podcast, so I really appreciate it.

Kenny Jahng: [00:40:41] It’s always fun. Hopefully, I’ll get an invite back again one day.

Jason Hamrock: [00:40:44] Absolutely.

Kenny Jahng: [00:40:45] Bite you off your ear too much.

Bart Blair: [00:40:48] Yeah, it’s always a blast. Thanks so much for joining us today.

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