Instagram Reels, Tik Tok and Other Innovative Ways to Reach More People Online | Katie Allred

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Katie shares some insight to make about how churches can leverage Instagram Reels and Tik Tok to reach more people for Jesus

Podcast Transcription

SHOW TRANSCRIPT

[00:00:26] Well, welcome to episode 42 of the Missional Marketing Church Growth Interviews Podcast. My name is Bart Blair and I’m here with my friend and ministry partner and the CEO of Missional Marketing, Jason Hamrock. Jason, good day to you, sir.

Speaker2: [00:00:41] Good day to you Bart. How are things in Dallas, Texas today?

Speaker1: [00:00:45] It is a good day. I’m not going to talk about the weather. It seems like every time because you’re in Arizona and I’m in Dallas, we always talk about the weather. It’s hot there. It’s nice here today, ok. No more about the weather. I’m doing very well. I’m doing very well. I’m excited about the podcast that we’re going to get to introduce today, which we’ll get to, we’ll get to that in just a minute. But I’m doing very well. Now, I wanted to kind of catch you up on something our listeners were actually wondering. I went to the Scarborough Renaissance Festival a couple of weeks ago. The last episode, the last intro you and I did, I told you I was going to go see Cirque de Sewer at the Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie, Texas. I was driving too fast to take a picture of the Waxahachie sign. I was going to text that to you, but I did text you a picture of Cirque de Sewer during the show. Yes. I will tell you this, it lived up to the hype. She was actually really, really good. She was actually, I didn’t realize this, she was actually on America’s Got Talent doing rat tricks on America’s Got Talent and had a standing ovation from Simon Cowell.

Speaker1: [00:01:54] So, like, so it was it was really a good show. It was. I would say if you’re a person listening to this podcast and you’re in the market to go to like some Renaissance festival or something, and you see that Cirque de Sewer is going to be at that Renaissance festival, you should go just for that. It was such a short show, but well worth the price of admission. Never quite seen anything like it before.

[00:02:18] Did you get some interesting in food?

[00:02:20] You know, we did eat some food and and what we ate was good. But I will tell you this. I mean, I’m in Texas and it’s like COVID never existed. And there were a bazillion people at the Renaissance Festival. So my son Silas and I stood in line forever to get like chicken sandwiches or something. I mean, every line for every food vendor was, it was ridiculous. So we ended up not staying as long as we probably would have stayed in the day just because the crowds were so big. And we were all kind of, we were hungry and thirsty and didn’t want to stand in line. So I wasn’t quite prepared for that.

Speaker2: [00:02:59] I have a soft spot for funnel cakes, You know funnel cakes, you put all the toppings on there. I’m in. I’ll stand in line for a long time for a good funnel cake.

Speaker1: [00:03:07] I ate my last funnel cake, I think when I was about 23 or 24 at Six Flags Great America. I think that’s the one in the Chicago area. And I ate a funnel cake and then rode rides.

[00:03:20] You can’t do that.

[00:03:21] I got so stinking sick. I think it was like twenty six, twenty seven years ago. I ate my last funnel cake. I have to say it makes me a little queasy about funnel cakes so. All right, well, hey, if you’re listening to our podcast and you love funnel cakes, you have something in common with Jason. If you’re like me and your stomach turns and when you think of them, you can be my friend. Jason, why don’t you introduce the guest that we have on our podcast today?

Speaker2: [00:03:47] Yes, you get to listen to Katie. All right. Now, Katie, this is her second time on our podcast. She was actually our first guest well over a year ago now. And she came back. She actually came back. And Katie, she is super talented. She runs, she was co-founder of Church Communications with with Kenny. And so Church Communications, if you don’t know about that, go check out good churchcommunications.com . That will be in the show notes. Also go to Facebook and then search for church communications and join that group. Huge group. Thirty thousand plus people or they’re close to it. They’re real close to thirty thousand people in their group. But Katie, she is a gifted, talented leader and she knows a lot about church communications. So today we get into good conversations, especially around Instagram. So you’re you’re going to like it. If that’s that’s kind of your your thing, then you’re going to learn something from Katie today.

Speaker1: [00:04:43] Yeah, it’s a little bit different because we talked not just about Instagram, but Instagram Reels and Tik Tok, which for an old guy like me, it was a very interesting conversation. Katie’s got her finger on the pulse of some things that it’s like speaking foreign language. But she has some really good insights and some really interesting points to make about how churches can leverage those platforms, Instagram Reels and Tik Tok to reach more people for Jesus. Because at the end of the day, that’s what we’re trying to do. Hey, if you are a listener or a watcher of this podcast and you find this content helpful and useful for you, we’d love for you to do a couple of things. One, rate and review our podcast on whatever platform that you listen to or watch the podcast on. That would really help more people find what we’re doing here. And if you have a ministry colleague or somebody that you think would benefit from this content, make sure you share it with them. We would just love to. Jason, I have a great time doing this, but we don’t do it just for us. We really want more church leaders, church communications professionals and pastors to benefit from the guests and the content and the stuff that we’re creating here. So if you would rate us, review us and share it, we would really appreciate that. All right. So here’s our interview with Katie Allred.

 

Bart Blair: [00:01:04] Katie Allred. Welcome to the Missional Marketing Church Growth Interviews podcast. We’re actually really excited to have you back on the podcast today.

Katie Allred: [00:01:12] Well thanks for having me, Bart. I always enjoy being here.

Bart Blair: [00:01:15] Well, it’s been – we were just talking about this before we started recording. It’s been just over a year since we launched this podcast and you were the first guest on our podcast. That makes you the first “repeat” guest on our podcast. We’ve learned a few things about podcasting over the course of the last year so hopefully we’re a little bit better at it.

Jason Hamrock: [00:01:40] Yeah. Yeah.

Bart Blair: [00:01:40] One of the things that I thought – you and Jason had your conversation about 13 months ago. COVID was just starting. And now, here we are. Fast forward a little over a year. We’re in a completely different landscape as far as COVID is concerned. And, I just thought we’d start off today by just having you share, kind of, what your life looked like over the course of the last year with COVID. What kind of things changed? What kind of things amplified or accelerated for you? What kind of things, kind of, shut down and stopped? But just tell us, what what was 2020 and the first part of 2021 like for you, once COVID hit.

Katie Allred: [00:02:18] Yeah right. What a wild year. Everybody’s saying that. I know that everybody saying like, “it was just a weird time”. I mean, we’re going to be saying that till we’re like 80. 2020 was a very weird here for me. Yeah. So, you know, I started off 2020 in India, which was very odd. I’ve never done international travel and then the first time I do international travel, they announced a global pandemic in China. And I thought like, OK, well, it’s in China so I thought it was going to be like the bird flu. Right? Like, something that never goes to America. Like just something that happens is contained to China. And, I can just remember sitting in Germany actually, on my flight home, and them recommending that we start wearing masks and using hand sanitizer. And I was like, well I don’t have a mask because I’m about to fly home on this 18-hour flight to India – I mean back to America. And so I was like, well, I’ll just like sanitize the seat and hope for the best. Anyway – yeah so, that was like culture shock to begin 2020 and then March happens, right? I just went on a flight March 1st and March 2nd. I flew out to Southeastern to talk about online learning. So, I was at Southeastern Seminary talking about online learning communities – like how you can build an online learning community with your students, right? And, it was so funny coming back and just realizing how, gosh, how timely that was, because, you know like, who would have thought that immediately, two weeks later, that would have been the only option.

Jason Hamrock: [00:04:02] Right.

Jason Hamrock: [00:04:04] It’s like, what a gift of prophecy we somehow had – that Southeastern had. Their vice president who called me and was like, hey, could you come talk about this? And it’s so interesting because I never talked about, like, online learning communities, specifically before. And so anyways, yeah, what a shift. And then, what we saw in churches. Right? So, OK. I had been – I feel like I’ve been John in the wilderness for the last 20 years of my life. Out there eating berries with my hair, like disheveled and you know, just talking about like, the church should get on the Internet. Like, there are people we can reach on the Internet. We should be on the Internet. And then, I just felt like a crazy person for the last 20 years. And then, all of a sudden March 12th happens, right around that time and then, that’s the only option, is to be on the Internet. And, I was inundated with the requests and confusion and our COMMS group grew 5,000 members in like, that two-month span there of March and April. Just because people like, just did not know, especially pastors who pastor by themselves, just did not know how to reach people online. Did not know how to livestream and do just the basic things, not even engaging people really. Just getting online, right? Just getting in front of their computer and doing what we’re doing right now.

Bart Blair: [00:05:30] Let me stop you there, for just a second, Katie because, I’m going to guess that the vast majority of people that are listening or watching this, know who you are and they know what the Church Communications Group is. But you just drop that, our Church COMMS Group. Why don’t you take just a second to kind of unpack that, for somebody who might not have any idea what that is and what the benefit is. Because, I’m telling you, there’s probably thousands of people out there who would say that the Church COMMS Group was a lifeline when COVID hit. And yeah, why don’t you just break that down for a second.

Katie Allred: [00:05:59] Yeah, well, thank you for saying that. Honestly, I consider it a great privilege and a blessing and an honor to be a part of it, which is funny because I started it, but at the same time, I just feel privileged to be a part of the community. So like, Church Communications – it started as a Facebook group. We’ve grown. We have a podcast, a website. We have our CC PRO membership or we’re launching training and doing online summits and those kind of things for churches. Like, we just finished a mental health summit for pastors. So, yeah, the Church Communications Facebook group is really the heart of it. It’s really the core of it. I really believe ministers should not do ministry alone and that includes all ministers, all church leaders. I don’t care if you don’t have minister in your title. If you’re a volunteer, you’re a minister. You know, the first Great Awakening was about giving the word back to the people. But I think what’s happening now is the second Great Awakening where we’re giving the ministry back to the people. And, that’s what I want to be a part of. I want to be a part of giving the ministry back to the people. And, I think communications is doing that in a big way because it’s so big. We’ve never gone through this huge communication shift. Like, the whole landscape has changed, right? It used to be about the pastor in a pulpit delivering a sermon on Sunday morning, and it has been that way for the last thousands of years. But now, there is more that we can do as a people. The church as a people. It’s not a building. It’s not that necessary transaction. It’s really about the people, right? And, what we’re doing to serve the Lord together and loving the Lord and reaching people. The pastor is a part of that. So, I think we had to change. You know, what we thought about the church as it was to what it is and what it could be, right? Which I think is really cool. It’s really exciting to see what God can do if we just allow a little bit of imagination, right?

Jason Hamrock: [00:08:01] Yeah. Yeah.

Katie Allred: [00:08:04] So what did you all see when the landscape was changing?

Jason Hamrock: [00:08:10] Oh – you know, good question. And by the way, go to ChurchCommunications.com. Just check them out. Also go to Facebook and join that group. What’s the size of the group now?

Katie Allred: [00:08:22] We’re at 29,000 members.

Jason Hamrock: [00:08:25] OK, we’ve got to get you over 30.

Jason Hamrock: [00:08:27] We will hit 30,000 because of this podcast. You’ll just come on, you know.

Jason Hamrock: [00:08:30] Just right over the top.

Jason Hamrock: [00:08:31] Well, I’ll tell you what. It was about this, you know, about – I want to say Easter was maybe a few weeks away when churches kind of shut down. And I remember having a conversation with a guy on our team. His name’s Chuck. Chuck and I were talking and at that point, we were – we had launched all these Easter campaigns for churches. I mean, well over 150 campaigns. So, all that stuff’s humming and buzzing. It takes a lot of work because we’re working with the church to get all the graphics and assets and you know, videos together. We get it deployed. We’re like a week or two in and he and I are just sitting there going, oh no, what are we, what shall we do here? I just made the call. I’m like, pause everything. Just pause every campaign and switch it to online because it was at that point we recognized and realized no churches are coming in person. What I didn’t know. It was a little bit, you know, you’re going in this – everybody’s in this uncharted territory was, how long this was going to last. For us, it was like, well some churches because we work with churches in almost every state. Some churches are just – they’re still shut down versus others are like, they opened up immediately. And for us, though, it was kind of interesting because we had a lot of churches reach out to us going, can you help us? We don’t even have online giving set up. And, we’re just kind of scratching our heads going, OK, how do you not have this….yes, we want to help you. You know.

Katie Allred: [00:10:04] Yeah – basic stuff, right? Yeah and several churches reached out to me and ask about online giving. And I was like, wait, you don’t have online giving? Like how do you not have online giving before? Like, what was your plan beforehand?

Bart Blair: [00:10:17] In a short period of time, we found ourselves, you know, for a few weeks running in lanes that weren’t really our lanes but doing everything that we could to try to get these churches where they needed to be. The most popular video we have on our YouTube channel is a video about how to livestream on Vimeo. The truth is, we don’t really – that’s not a space that we really work in. We don’t do the whole livestream thing. There are consultants and agencies and people that specialize in helping churches get that set up. But, we had a team member that put together how to do your livestream on Vimeo. I mean, it’s still, monthly, getting hundreds and hundreds of views every month because I still think there are a lot of churches that are still trying to figure some of those things out.

Katie Allred: [00:11:03] Right. Yeah. Still trying to figure out livestreaming. And the thing is, I don’t think livestreaming is the best we can do. You know, that’s funny part, right? Like, I really think, if we’re going to church online really well, it needs to be its own thing. Because, what we do on Sunday morning, it wouldn’t work in a different – it just doesn’t work in a different capacity, in a different atmosphere and online church is a different atmosphere. Online learning, for example, like, research shows in online learning, when we’re watching a video, we only watch it for fifteen minutes. OK. So, if that’s the case, if we can only like, watch them for 15 minutes straight, especially if it’s not like an interview style – it’s just one person talking, if we can only do it for 15 minutes straight, what happens to a sermon that’s 45 minutes?

Jason Hamrock: [00:11:52] Yeah.

Katie Allred: [00:11:52] Right? Like, we’ve got to change some things to make them more interactive, more engaging to keep the – and not just because we want it to be entertainment. It’s not entertainment for entertainment sake. It is – how do we engage the whole person with the whole gospel so that they can really come alive, right? Be a part. And, it’s just like what we like, I mean, a sermon, it might be 45 minutes and you’re saying, well, it’s discipleship, but yeah I mean some sermons are also [00:12:21] entertainment. Right [00:12:23]? And so, there’s more to it.

Jason Hamrock: [00:12:27] Yeah. There’s seeds and I’m a big big fan of churches that grab sermons snippets. If you can grab, you know, maybe a shorter one that’s good for social media. But then, you grab like a, 3 or 4 or 5 minute or maybe a 6 or 7 minute.

Katie Allred: [00:12:43] Right.

Jason Hamrock: [00:12:44] Shortening snippet of a sermon. Something that’s like the best of what pastor just preached on to me. To me, I’m going – do that. I think so many churches just kind of post – they’re posting their whole, like hour 15 minutes.

Katie Allred: [00:12:57] Right.

Jason Hamrock: [00:12:57] Like don’t do that. At least they’re putting their sermon, which is like 30-35 minutes. I still think you should prop that down.

Katie Allred: [00:13:04] Yeah. Yeah. If that’s the best you can do is just livestream the entire thing. Like, that’s fine. It’s like, you’re like, I literally don’t have the capacity to do anything else and I think that’s fine. Like I’m not like getting angry or anything. It’s honestly fantastic. Jesus absolutely loves that, like, you know like, if you can just do that. I just think like, there is other things that you can do that maybe you hadn’t even thought of before. Like making it more like a TV segment, you know, like, if you watch the news on Sunday morning, right? I used to watch “Good Day, Alabama”, when I was a kid. And Good Day Alabama, you know, they have like a cooking segment and they went to the weather and then to the news and I mean, what service today that we couldn’t do the exact same thing, basically, in church?

Jason Hamrock: [00:13:48] That’s right.

Katie Allred: [00:13:52] Oh, let’s see, okay now we’re going to the kids ministry. Or we’re going to talk about, you know, kids ministry and now we’re going over to missions. We’re going to talk with a missionary in Uganda today, like.

Bart Blair: [00:14:00] Yeah. That’s interesting. I have some ideas. Nobody’s really asking my ideas. Although I did.

Katie Allred: [00:14:09] Bart, tell us your ideas.

Bart Blair: [00:14:09] Jason, I don’t have time on this podcast to unpack them all.

Jason Hamrock: [00:14:14] Don’t get him started – he’s got a lot.

Bart Blair: [00:14:16] But, I will say this. I will say this that – I think that one of the mistakes that we make when as we transition back into our emphasis for the weekend gathering on campus, on site, is to limit our online experience to “a fly on the wall experience” for what’s going on, on campus. I don’t think that’s the long-term solution for church online. I don’t know anyone who really believes that that is. But, a lot of churches, for lack of creativity or for a lack of staffing and capacity haven’t really gone beyond that. What I would visualize and I’ll say this – one of the things that I hear from like online campus pastors or those that are responsible for sort of facilitating what’s supposed to happen online on Sundays, a lot of them will say, well, we just don’t get a lot of engagement. We have 50 people or 100 people or 300 people on the livestream and we’re trying to chat with them in the chat feature but we just don’t get that many people. We don’t get that many people chatting with us. And so well, that’s probably because the vast majority of people who are watching your church online experience are the people who a year ago were sitting in a Sunday morning service and there is no back and forth during a Sunday morning service. That’s not natural for them. They’re accustomed to going and sitting for an hour and listening for an hour and not having a back and forth. And what you have to do is you have to actually differentiate the experience online so that you’re not just simply trying to replicate what happens in your venue, but you’re creating something that is unique for your audience. I still think that the pastor’s sermon, I think, can still play a significant part of what you’re doing on Sunday morning. But even having it presented in ways, even in segments where you can have dialogue and engagement and you have hosts that are sort of facilitating some conversation around it. I’d treat it, personally, I’d treat it more like a small group experience than I would a presentational experience if you really want to increase that engagement in the church online space. But, you know, anyway, I don’t know. I have lots of ideas, most of which I would never be responsible – I would never be responsible for pulling them off and so, I can dream, kind of big, because I don’t have the pressure of actually trying to execute on it.

Katie Allred: [00:16:37] Yeah, that’s exactly what I would say, like, I know, like the thing is, like some things are just not possible. You’re just not capable. But, even like the lo-fi ideas of like, if you go back and watch Jimmy Fallon during the beginning of the pandemic when he’s at home with his family.

Jason Hamrock: [00:16:53] Yeah, yeah.

Katie Allred: [00:16:54] Even that was very entertaining, right? Like and it wasn’t amazing camera work. It was his wife with her iPhone the entire time. And I was like, you know what, like that works too. Like, it doesn’t have to be amazing quality. It doesn’t have to be sets. that had to be like you’re like, OK, you’re asking us to be a news network? No, I’m asking you to be a news network. Like, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Like, I think it’s OK if you like, record different segments with different people on your iPhone and string them together. I think that’s fun too. So I don’t know. There’s so many different ways. Like, I think we’ve been boxed. Like open the box. It’s OK. Like, there are holy things that we should consider holy and treat separately but there are things like Sunday morning gatherings, I think, can be different. They could look different.

Bart Blair: [00:17:44] One of the things you asked at the outset was what we saw churches, kind of, doing differently through COVID. One of the things I will say is that, many churches that didn’t have video equipment now have video equipment. They didn’t have a video editing suite. Now they do. They have somebody on their team or volunteer who can edit video. Sometimes they’re just shooting on iPhones or something of that nature. But one thing that we did see was more and more churches embracing the fact that video is something that we need to be using. And so, from our perspective, one of the things we saw a lot more churches doing was experimenting with YouTube advertising. In fact, on the note that you just made about the production quality, I ran YouTube campaigns for several different churches and one of the most successful ones that I had was actually a pastor who did a selfie recording with his iPhone in front of the church building. And it just played really well on YouTube. As far as video is concerned, we know. I think this is one of those places where the box is opening up. So offline, before we started recording, you started talking about use of Reels. Some of the stuff that we’re looking at is, things like utilizing Snapchat and TikTok or Tik Chat and Snap Talk and all these things that young people use.

Jason Hamrock: [00:19:03] Snap Face. That’s what it’s called.

Bart Blair: [00:19:05] Snap Face. That’s what Jason – Snap Face. What are some of the things that you’re seeing churches do in terms of video? What kind of stuff? Talk to us about Reels and what you see churches doing as they’re using Reels and other things that you see churches using with video.

Katie Allred: [00:19:20] Well, you know, I wish I could tell you like a church that I was like man, they’re doing a great job. Let me think. I think Transformation Church with Mike. He is doing a really great job. Do you all follow Transformation Church?

Bart Blair: [00:19:32] I do not.

Katie Allred: [00:19:34] Yeah. I think that they’re doing some really innovative things. I would check them out. The one out of California.

Jason Hamrock: [00:19:39] OK.

Katie Allred: [00:19:39] They’re doing some really fun, different, like Snapchat – or sorry Snapchat accounts. Instagram Reels. Something, you know, it was crazy. OK, so, I created my first Reel for the school business the other day, recently. And, let me see how many people have seen it. I’ve created one Reel, okay, and it’s silly. It’s a really dumb Reel. So, if you end up finding it, good luck. But, it’s a really dumb Reel and I got 200,000 views on it in a month.

Bart Blair: [00:20:09] What!?

Jason Hamrock: [00:20:09] Wow.

Katie Allred: [00:20:12] 200,000 views, in a month.

Jason Hamrock: [00:20:16] That’s crazy.

Katie Allred: [00:20:17] We got like 100,000 followers from it, which is really random for a business school, so, and it was basically just following a trend. So, here’s the thing about it. If you’re going to like, do a Reel or you’re going to do TikTok. So I think, Instagram, OK. So, Reels and TikTok. They’re short-form videos, right? Like they’re short-form videos and they generally go along with a trend like, either a music trend or dancing or doing something to some music [00:20:44] like pointing at [00:20:44] stuff. Or there’s like, some kind of trend like, you do something and that’s the trend. Right? Like, the trend that I did with this video that got 200,000 views was I just ran up to someone and asked them a question without them realizing that I was asking them a question. And then he ended up being hilarious, which is why we got 200,000 views. But, so short-form content. Instagram, I think is really a great place to be with Reels right now. I think they’re pushing it. The algorithm prefers it more than posts and more than stories. Okay so if you’re not creating Reels, you’re missing out on like riding the wave, right, of what Instagram is pushing in their algorithm because they want these Reels to take off, right, because they’re trying to compete with TikTok. Instagram is a great place for a church to be but TikTok, on the other hand, is more about personality. It’s more about an individual. I don’t feel like churches – they can create content there, but it’s so personality-driven. It’s so driven by the face, right? I think it’s very connected to people’s individuality.

Jason Hamrock: [00:22:01] Like Twitter?

Katie Allred: [00:22:03] Yeah, kind of like Twitter. Right. So, you know how Twitter didn’t work for churches. Like, churches kind of, flop on there. And yeah, because Twitter is about the person, right, that you’re following. It’s very individualistic. So, TikTok is very much the same way. Like, it can be the exact same content on a Reel versus a TikTok and if it’s meant for one or the other, it will flop on one or the other. You know what I’m saying? Or, it will perform really well. It really does depend on the platform. So, I think if you’re a church, you should be on Instagram doing Reels. If you’re a pastor, you should be on TikTok doing, you know, TikToks. OK, and I think you can reach people very well on those things. Now on TikTok, you know, obviously the more – not controversial you can be, but the more open and honest you can be about things, the better teacher you are in one minute flat, I think the more traction you can get. There are some really great posters on TikTok that I really enjoy following.

Bart Blair: [00:23:06] Explain something to me about TikTok. I’m just going to be honest. I’m an old guy and so I’m not a TikTok user. My son sticks his phone in front of my face a lot and says, Dad, what’s this TikTok. That’s about the extent of it. He has also duped his mother into being in a couple of TikTok videos but again, I just, kind of, stay clear of that. So, here’s my question. One of the things that I’m just going to share my opinion. Your opinion may differ, but I need to know how it works in relation to TikTok. One of the reasons why I like Facebook and the use of Facebook is that my ultimate goal with engagement is to try to get my traffic, my visitors, my viewers to my church website. That’s really – that’s where the bulk of who I am, who we are and the calls to action that we’re trying to provide for people. That’s where we really want them to be. And so I like to utilize Facebook not just to promote posts and engagement, but to continue to be one of the top referral sources back to the church website. And I tell churches that, 60 to 70 percent of your content on Facebook really ought to have a clickable link back to your website. Obviously, with Instagram, it’s a completely different ball of wax because Instagram is built to keep people on that platform. The only way you’re going to get the traffic. It does. But with Instagram, somebody has to go to your profile and click on the link in the profile so it’s one step removed. OK, so if I’m a pastor and I’m using TikTok and I’m creating TikTok videos or if I’m a church and I’m using Reels or however I’m using that, how do I connect with people on those platforms besides just entertaining them and providing them maybe some information that’s helpful or useful or encouraging or entertaining. How am I actually engaging with people on those platforms if I’m using them as a church?

Katie Allred: [00:25:01] I think it’s the same way that you’re connecting via like a Facebook page or anything like that, right? Like you can share stories of life change. You can share your testimony. You can share what’s going on in your church. You can share – because social media is not a billboard, right? It’s a conversation. You want to start conversations. So like, you as a pastor, like discussing like, you know, some bigger questions, like – what happens after I die? OK, here’s what the Bible says. This, this and that. Like, people want to see that kind of content, but they’re not seeing it from pastors right now. Right. They’re seeing it from people who are not, like Christians at all because, you know, the pastors aren’t creating that kind of content. Maybe it’s because they’re afraid. They’re a little afraid of one, like the people and the trolls and the comments. That’s going to happen though, like, I mean. Who cares? That’s going to happen. Trolls are happening no matter what. If you don’t think I’ve never been trolled, you know, that’s just a lie. I’ve been trolled plenty of times.

Bart Blair: [00:26:04] I told you I was sorry about that. I really was sorry.

Katie Allred: [00:26:07] Quit trolling me all the time with all your bots you know.

Jason Hamrock: [00:26:07] Your Bart bots.

Katie Allred: [00:26:07] Or some guy who doesn’t have a picture – it’s just like an American eagle and like a flag or something. And I’m like, OK, thanks for your trolling. I appreciate it. You faceless person.

Jason Hamrock: [00:26:29] Jesus still loves you, but that’s, you know, that’s fine.

Katie Allred: [00:26:32] Jesus still loves you. But yes.

Jason Hamrock: [00:26:34] Quit trolling me.

[00:26:34] So yeah, I think like you said. OK, so we talk about felt needs. Like I think we talked about felt needs in our first podcast. Like yeah. Like felt needs are a thing that the church can use obviously to reach people and also prayer, right? I think prayer is a way that we can reach people. And so, if you can like post like, hey, I’m going to pray for you in your TikTok and like you start doing these prayers for people in TikTok. I think that’s good. I don’t think that’s showboating. I know that Jesus was like, don’t be a Pharisee on a street corner just looking at people. I don’t think that’s it. I think your modeling prayer for other people. And I think that’s a way to reach people. And then, another thing is, just like obviously teaching and preaching the word is, I think, tremendous and just isn’t being done on these platforms right now. And so, and I think people really crave it. There’s so much, like so, I am on – in TikTok, basically like, the more stuff you watch, the deeper you get into it. And so, because it figures out what you like and what you watch the entirety of and it shows you more of that. So I’m like deep into ex-vangelical stuff, which is hilarious because I consider myself to be like a typical, I don’t know, not typical. I’m definitely not a typical evangelical by any means. I’m an evangelical though, and so, there is so much information where I’m just like, wow, like, people are deconstructing and those kind of things. But like, I don’t think people are instructing. I think they’re renovating their faith and like building the house back up. Right. And, I think there are some pastors out there that could really help, especially all these young people who – Gen Zs – especially who are coming up in this time, right. Where people are doing all this work. And so, if pastors can be on those platforms, it helps speak truth into these spaces. That’s where we should be, right?

Jason Hamrock: [00:28:38] I agree. You know, you said something there that caught my attention. I think we churches should learn to use – which I think is the best content you produce is probably the sermon that was preached.

Katie Allred: [00:28:52] Yeah.

Jason Hamrock: [00:28:53] So just grabbing little reels of that. Just grabbing that stuff. But then, if you want to go deeper into the felt need area, start talking about healing marriage or healing relationships or being forgiven or overcoming grief, suicide, all those things.

Katie Allred: [00:29:08] And sharing your personal stories.

Jason Hamrock: [00:29:09] Yeah, I mean, there’s just yeah. There’s just so much. It can be overwhelming because you could almost never stop.

Katie Allred: [00:29:15] Yeah.

Jason Hamrock: [00:29:16] But you got to get started.

Katie Allred: [00:29:18] Yeah. Just getting started, I think, is the hardest part and like, opening up and being – like we would open up in a sermon, right? Like, there would be things that we would share in a sermon and I know it’s different on the Internet, right? Like opening and sharing. But at the same time, like, I think it’s just so necessary. I think that people are tired of the facade that we put up. Like the perfect pictures. And, I think TikTok kind of helps us remove that. I think that’s why people love it so much – is the authenticity that happens on TikTok. I mean, there is perfection too, right? There are people who practice dancing for 100,000 times and that kind of stuff. But, there is also a lot of like, just truth and like fun and those kind of things where I’m like, oh, there’s so much space for us to come and be a light in these spaces if we can do that. And so, yeah, that’s kind of my thoughts. Now Snapchat is a whole different beast.

Bart Blair: [00:30:15] Yeah, it’s interesting. I agree with you, Katie. I think, you know, one of the things that I try to get my head around a lot is the idea of – well, for starters, Christians don’t have enough fun. I’m just going to say it. I’m just going to call it what it is. We tend to look at people on Reels or TikTok or what have you and it seems senseless and purposeless. And again, I’m an old fart so, I look at it, I’m like, what a colossal waste of time. But I guess if I were trying to leverage that for the Gospel, I’d look at it in two different ways. One would be: I can bring light into a space that’s dark. I can bring light and levity into a place where people are really looking for something that is humorous or hopeful. You know, there is a need, I think, to address felt needs and there are ways to do it that don’t come across as preachy. In fact, I think one of the best ways to avoid trolls is to not necessarily deal with theological issues, but to deal with the real life issues that people are facing. Rick Warren. I’ve quoted him a 100 times on this quote, I hope it was Rick Warren and I hope this is the way he said it but I’m pretty sure it is because I always say it was Rick Warren. He said that if you’ll build your ministry around reaching hurting people, you’ll never run out of people to reach and your church will never stop growing. And, I don’t think that we as pastors and church leaders – I don’t think we spend enough time thinking about how we help people get out of the ditch. We don’t spend enough time on that. We really want to help people grow in their faith and deepen in their faith, deepen in their understanding of scripture, grow to be more Christlike. And we know that being anchored in a relationship with Jesus really helps people weather those storms but a lot of the people that we’re trying to reach are living in those storms and they don’t have that anchor and we need to help them out of the ditch sometimes before we can actually…

Katie Allred: [00:32:14] A lot of them don’t want to hear about Jesus, right? They’re very turned off to religion because of their grief or because they’ve been burned by the church and other things before, right? So its sharing those personal stories, sharing more topical things can help them be more open to it again, you know. And especially unlearning some things that they were taught as children that just aren’t true about the church or about Christianity in general. That’s what TikTok’s doing. Honestly, that’s what a lot of pastors are doing is a lot of “un-teaching”. And teaching like, what the Bible actually does say about things, which I think is so good. Like I think there’s like a – I think there is actually like a revival going on that that we’re not seeing the way that I think we would see a traditional – it’s not a tent revival, right? It’s like happening in the secret crevices of TikTok. And I’ve seen it because, like I said, some people are deconstructing. So many people are considering themselves ex-vangelical, but they’re still very much in love with Jesus. And so, it’s like, OK well, what do we do? What do we do with this great army of people and I think, you know, the pastors would rise up to work. Yeah, I think there’s there’s still so much that we can do. Right? I don’t know.

Bart Blair: [00:33:38] Let me ask you a question as far as that’s concerned. We’re coming up on the top of the hour here and we’re going to wrap up here in just a minute. But, you know, like, if there’s a pastor, a church leader, communications director, somebody listening to this and they’re like, OK, I need to kind of get my head around Reels. I need to get my head around TikTok.

Katie Allred: [00:33:56] Yeah.

Bart Blair: [00:33:56] I mean, other than Google and YouTube, do you know of any resources or any places that people might be able to look to, to learn a little bit more about how to do those things? I didn’t prep you with this question, so I don’t mean to put you on the spot if you don’t have any. But, just kind of curious if you anything. What? Instagram posts that worked. Is that Church Communications?

Katie Allred: [00:34:20] Oddly enough.

Jason Hamrock: [00:34:20] That’s that’s – yes, that’s Church Communications.

Katie Allred: [00:34:22] I wrote a book on the subject.

Jason Hamrock: [00:34:24] Plug it. Plug it. Where can we get that book?

Katie Allred: [00:34:30] It’s not necessarily about Reels. It is just about posts. However, I guarantee you, you can find a good, probably, out of these hundreds of churches we have in here, like probably more than 100 churches. You can probably find a few that are doing really great Reels content. Okay, so I bet you can find in TikTok, Right? You can probably find a few that are getting into that. Two. Go on the community. Go on Facebook. Ask the Church Communications Group. Like, who’s doing this? And we’ve had these conversations already but if you have specific conversations, specific questions, we would love to answer those questions. Right. Like, I think the community will be more than happy to help. That’s what I love about it. Is like, everyone’s more than happy to help you figure out what’s next. And of course you’ve got naysayers who are like, I’m an angry old man. That’s fine but why did you have to post here? Anyway. But yeah, no. Please come and ask the questions. Like I said, people will be so happy to help answer those. We’ve had so many great conversations already around TikTok. Most people come to the same conclusions, right, that TikTok is really about the individual. It’s not so much about the church. Although, I’ve seen a few churches on TikTok. It may change, right? It may become more organizational soon but, at the moment, it works really well for individuals. Instagram Reels, for the church itself. But, I think the thing is, churches on Instagram, they want to have like an esthetic. They’ve all become so aesthetically pleasing because I don’t know who told them, that’s what works on Instagram, but they should stop listening whoever told them that they’re aesthetically pleasing worship thing is going to like – nobody wants that. Like nobody cares about that. What they want to see is like, real people that. They want to see the awkward. They want to see the authenticity. They want to see like your church doing work in the community. They want to see those kind of things, right? And, I think Reels can help you become more approachable, honestly, as a church. And so, use that as an opportunity to feature all your children’s ministers and feature your missionaries, feature the people on your staff. Have them make Reels content. Create ideas. Follow the trends. Just watch other Reels, honestly, and copy what they do but make it about your church. That’s exactly what a trend is, by the way. It’s just copying what somebody else is doing and doing the exact same thing. I know that sounds like wrong because of plagiarism and I think we’re taught not to do that, but that is what Instagram Reels and TikTok are, basically, is people copying each other and that’s why it gets more popular. And then just making it individually about you or about your church.

Jason Hamrock: [00:36:11] Yeah.

Bart Blair: [00:37:20] OK. Church leaders, you heard it straight from Katie. Plagiarism on TikTok and Reels is ok.

Katie Allred: [00:37:27] Don’t download someone’s video and upload it – don’t do that.

Bart Blair: [00:37:30] Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s, that’s different. Don’t take someone else’s video and present it as your own. Make your own.

Katie Allred: [00:37:34] Make your own video that is inspired by.

Bart Blair: [00:37:34] Yeah. OK, thanks. Thanks for clarifying that. Thanks for clarifying that.

Katie Allred: [00:37:43] There’s all these sounds and songs you can use. Like it’s OK for you to use a Matchbox Twenty or something. You know like, go a little crazy. A little crazy with Matchbox Twenty so that you can reach more people, right? Yeah, you got to figure out. You got to play the game to get further – so.

Jason Hamrock: [00:38:02] I really like your advice. I mean, once again, go to Facebook and then search for the Church Communications Group. Ask to join. Once you are let in, post your question. You will get all kinds of feedback. I see this all the time. And so, that’s a great spot to get real authentic answers.

Katie Allred: [00:38:25] Yeah. So, make sure you do that.

Bart Blair: [00:38:27] Yeah.

Jason Hamrock: [00:38:29] You got to get over 30,000 so.

Bart Blair: [00:38:30] Yeah. We’ve got to get you over 30,000. Katie, thanks so much. We’re going to link to your book. We’re going to link to all of your church communications stuff in the show notes in the podcast. Man, we really appreciate you and your partner in crime, Kenny, and all that you guys are doing and your partnership with Missional Marketing. Man, we just want to be shoulder-to-shoulder with people who are making an impact for the kingdom and it’s just been a lot of fun. Thanks so much for spending time with us today.

Jason Hamrock: [00:38:57] Yeah, thank you Katie.

Katie Allred: [00:38:57] Yeah. Thank you so much. It’s always a pleasure.

Jason Hamrock: [00:39:01] Alright.

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