Jason Hamrock: Today on the podcast, I am excited to have Seth Muse. Seth is a former communication director at a megachurch, he’s been in ministry for 20 years, he’s in all kinds of things. He has a current podcast where he’s a host, and it’s called Seminary of Hard Knocks, it’s got a lot of great content. He also is a church communications coach. And if you want to learn more about him, go to sethmuse.com.
Jason Hamrock: But today we’re talking about just what church communication directors are dealing with and, how they can navigate this pandemic we’re in right now, and just the cultural change that’s happening inside the church. So I hope you enjoy.
Jason Hamrock: Well, hey, Seth, thanks for joining us today. Glad to have you on the podcast.
Seth Muse: Yeah, my pleasure. Jason, thanks for having me.
Jason Hamrock: Yeah. Yeah. So we were just chit-chatting a little bit there, we could go on and on about where churches are when it comes to the digital ministry or discipleship, and it’s funny how churches are all over the board. And you invest a lot of time coaching in churches, right? Especially, well in all kinds of things, but especially the digital, like social media space. So what are, through this pandemic, what are some of the things that you’ve been coaching churches on that you said, hey, you’ve been doing it this way, and you’ve been doing a good job, but you’ve got to do it this way to do a great job or to get better. What are some of those things that you’re talking to churches about?
Seth Muse: Yeah, I think the biggest thing most churches right now are, it’s a difference between what they’re focused on in the panic mode, and what they need to really, you know, grow and expand and, you know, continue. And I think what what most churches are focused on are, oh, no, we don’t have tools, we don’t have equipment, we don’t have no how in these certain areas that we now have to have absolute now how, and the best equipment, and all of these things. And that’s not necessarily true, the biggest issue for churches right now during the pandemic is getting around the mental block of their priorities, and in the procedures, and things that we have defined ministry as in the past.
Seth Muse: It’s like we’re revealing, what the pandemic is revealing about churches, is that we may have had a little bit almost to an idolatry view of in-person buildings, meetings, you know, as ministry. And I think getting around the paradigm shift of the world doesn’t necessarily work that way only, anymore. It’s seeing ministry as something bigger than just face to face, and seeing how digital spaces contribute to ministry, and can actually contain ministry in some ways. It’s something that I don’t think we, I mean, I had a client say that we’re freaking out. We saw the future, we were trying to do, you know, something was going to take 15 years, and suddenly we have to do it in 15 days, and didn’t know what to do, didn’t have resources, didn’t have manpower, didn’t have any of that. And I think that’s a lot of churches, you know, so I think that’s been the biggest issue is just getting not only church communicators, we kind of already saw some of this. But getting pastors and leaders to, you know, catch up to this idea that ministry could be online in some ways, and not completely, but how that can be ministry, you know, partnership with, you know, your in-person ministry, and how it fuses together and becomes your ministry in general. So I think that’s been a difficult thing for churches to figure out, is what does that look like? And I think the biggest block to that is just getting their head around that digital’s okay to call ministry.
Seth Muse: And if we could do that, it unlocks, you know, this whole, oh, well, what could that look like? Because, as we were talking earlier, you know, that it seems like the church has this understanding of it should just be natural like. Okay, I got to do ministry here in the space now, so what am I going to do? But we have just not seen digital as a ministry for so long, that it’s almost like we don’t, we have we have no idea what to do with it. And it’s just a new context, you know, ministry is still ministry, it’s just a new context. It’s almost like a missionary going to a new country. What would you do? You know, you just do that for digital. And it’s it should be natural, it doesn’t seem natural, so when I coach, it’s like that is a big issue.
Seth Muse: And the second issue that I always try to deal with is just internal communications among staff, especially right now, because we’re all so spread out and remote. And this is totally new for so many people, and it’s difficult. So helping staff communicate better, be on board with each other better, understand what’s happening in the church better. And just finding that ways to build that internal infrastructure has been a challenge as well.
Jason Hamrock: Hmm. Yeah, you and I were speaking earlier about some of the the models, when you think about like Blockbuster, right? And how they collapsed, because they’re almost arrogant enough to think that we’ll just build more brick and mortar stores and people will keep coming, and they they took their eyes off where people are wanting to go to. Right? And so Netflix, that’s why Netflix exploded, and Blockbuster failed. And so you think about where we are, as the big C Church, and kind of where the big church is going. And the concept, and the idea, that we can’t be so arrogant enough to think that they’re just going to come in person. Like it just isn’t going to happen, you have to put effort into that. And I see that happening, like, you probably see that happening. It’s like churches are starting, to the leadership is starting to go, hey, maybe we need to reallocate funds, reallocate staff, or reallocate ministry focus, to figuring out where does discipleship begin, and can you do that online, and kind of all that.
Jason Hamrock: And so I’m starting to see, you know, at least at Missional Marketing, what we do is we try to take content that’s being created, and repurpose it to be put on online so that Google can crawl it. How are you seeing that being done when it comes to other platforms like social media? Like are you are you seeing that churches are doing a good job, or they’re figuring out how to take their content and repurpose it?
Seth Muse: Yeah, I mean, some are. The new challenge to that, I mean, before we used to say, like, your weekend service is a content production machine. You’ve got video, you’ve got messages, music, you’ve got everything else you do in a service. So find ways to slice that up, take that through the week, do that. That’s kind of easy, but a lot of churches weren’t doing that. But now you don’t have that, really. I mean, you may, well, you don’t have it like you did. You have your message, but it comes in in parts, and it’s online, or, you know, it’s just different now. And I think that churches are realizing just how much space there is to fill online, and that they don’t have the content. So now what is the struggle, is trying to figure out, okay, well, what kind of videos should we shoot that have nothing to do with our service? You know, because we need that kind of content too, you know, blog material, or vlog material, for YouTube. You know, that type of stuff that Google loves to crawl, that when your website continually updates and changes, it loves to find new things to show you. All those things that are now contributing to whether or not people are showing up at your service, in ways that they haven’t before. They were always important, but now it’s like that’s what you got. You know, it’s like you’re taking them from a search, to a live stream. It’s one click, you know, it’s right there, and that’s what you’re trying to do mostly.
Seth Muse: So when you feel like you’re trying to get back to some kind of normal, and get away from all that. It’s Just, I don’t think we’re ever going to get there again in the way that we were, but we have to look at our budgets, we have to look at it in real time. As, you know, this is something we need to really put effort into, and that videos like how to study the Bible, and what is, you know, what’s my daily devotional video from my pastor, shot with my iPhone posted to Facebook? You know, and that type of thing matters so much more than it did. It did matter before, but it’s so much more now, because it’s a way of discipling your people through the digital space. And what’s hard to understand, I think, for pastors is that they’re not physically present when the discipleship takes place because people may watch that video 10 days after you posted it, and you have no idea. You know, so how is that ministry? Well, it is, it’s just you’re not really present for it, they have to connect with you, so you have to kind of plan for that.
Seth Muse: So I think there’s a lot of factors there with, you know, repurposing your content, that you don’t have as much content. Like right now, like, what are your church photographers doing? What do they take photos of, you know, there’s nothing, they’re not there, you know, it’s like there’s nothing to take photos of. So your social media probably is suffering because you’re if you typically rely on your photographers dumping, you know, eight million photos of your band. Or, you know, that classic silhouette hand in the air, and the blurry band in the background photo that everybody needs. That, you know, it’s like if you don’t have that, what do you have? You know, well…
Jason Hamrock: Oh, no.
Seth Muse: Oh, no. You know, it’s like well take pictures of real stuff, man, you know. Not that that’s not real, but take pictures of stuff like what’s going on at your house. Take photos, you know, get your people to take photos. You have to dig a little deeper, and mine, it’s almost like mining, you have to mine your own audience for content, and I mean, user generated content is what we call that. When, you know, others provide it for you, you don’t even make it, and you just share it. But that honestly performs better on social media than most of the stuff you make, and that you shot in a studio with, you know, thousands of dollars of lighting and camera. You know, it’s just, it’s the way the world is. So I think when we realize as a church that the quality, quote, quality of what you put out, the definition of that word quality has changed for the common audience. That it doesn’t require all that stuff and set up and prep, that the raw video still looks pretty good, and they’re very okay with it. It opens up so many opportunities for you to create content that is going to connect with people, for your social media channels, for YouTube channels. You know, there’s best practices, lighting, things like that, and audio you can do, but man, it’s so not as hard as it was. And I think we made it hard, because we came out of that production era of the church, that I believe is absolutely just over, people are over it.
Seth Muse: So, I mean, we saw attendance declining anyway, right? It’s like, you know, church attendance was declining. Your church may have been growing or whatnot because you’re doing something specific, but I guarantee it was not because your band was awesome, you know, it was not because your video, you know, your three cameras that cost a million dollars each, you know, or whatever. It wasn’t because of the production of what you do, you know, it was because of something else going on in your church. But for the majority of churches, attendance declining in person. So when this pandemic happened, I feel like people might have even breathed a sigh of relief that, okay, well, I can’t go to church. Man, it’s such a chore anyway. You know, not that it’s a good thing that we can’t do it, because I was kind of in that far swing, like we got to get more people to think digital, and now it’s like that’s all we have. And even I’m going, man, okay, this is too far, this too much, I miss my church. You know, I’m a super introvert and I’m just like, oh, I need to get back to church. So I’m not saying, I’m not advocating for not going to church in person. But, you know, it’s like you try to get people to come this way so hard, you end up being, like, overcompensating in your own life. And now you’ve got all of it you want, and it’s like what God always does, it’s like that’s what you think you want, well, here’s a bunch of it. It’s almost like asking for extra ketchup in a Wendy’s drive through. You know, it’s like here’s three packets of ketchup, like can have some more, here’s 50 packages of ketchup. You know, I don’t want that much ketchup, man.
Jason Hamrock: You put them in your glove compartment, and you forget about them.
Seth Muse: For real, it’s like I’ll use that…
Jason Hamrock: When I need ketchup. So I think, catching the drift here, it’s like it really, it matters a little bit on the technology that you have, it matters a whole lot more on the quality of the content, and the creativeness. Which, you know, all that effort and focus that, you know, all kinds of churches, big or small, would put into trying to get people to come onto their campus, right, events, and conferences, and, of course, we can worship. If we can just take that same kind of head knowledge and focus it over here to how do you really create meaningful online content for engagement, now we have almost an equal playing field. Doesn’t matter who you are, what size of church you are, it matters about how much brain power are you going to put into this thing. And learn, just like you, it’s like reading the Bible, you’ve got to study and figure out how to do this, you know, appropriately and effectively.
Seth Muse: And man, biblical illiteracy is a huge issue that you can address with digital content and should. It’s like, you don’t think you’re doing the world a favor by teaching people how to study the Bible better on a regular basis? Oh my gosh, if people could study the Bible better, things would be much better, you know, just within the Christian world. And they want that kind of content, they don’t know how to study it. They’re listening to teenagers on Tik Tok telling them, oh, I didn’t know that about the Bible, you know, or whatnot. Maybe adults aren’t, but you know what I’m saying, like, that’s what the youth are listening to. It’s just, be part of that conversation, and for so long, the leaders of our church have not been part of that conversation because they are not in that space. They’re not engaging, they’re not adding what they have to add to that space, content creators, you know, creatives like myself, you know, students, kids, you know, people with a passion. And I think, I can’t remember where it’s found, Proverbs says that zeal without knowledge is folly. And and it’s like you have a generation of people who are activists, who want more, but don’t have the knowledge to actually teach the Bible well. And here we are as pastors with years of experience and understanding, not doing it in the space where people want to hear that, because we might get, somebody might be mean to us. Like so what, Paul was imprisoned and killed. You know, it’s like we can’t take somebody’s going, you know, oh, this is stupid, you’re an idiot if you believe that crap. You know, we can’t deal with that, come on. I think it’s where we miss our opportunity on digital, is to add what we can add to the conversation.
Jason Hamrock: So what are churches, like are there any churches that you know about, or what are churches doing, that you feel like are kind of leading the charge, or leading in the space of building up an online ministry? Or, do you have any ideas on…
Seth Muse: Well, I would look for churches that have an online pastor, they have a person that is literally labeled pastor, who is responsible for what goes on online, a digital pastor, an online pastor. I know that North Point has this, Saddleback has this, Jay Kranda is at Saddleback, Dave Adamson does does some things with online at North Point. You know, it’s going to be, it’s typically the bigger churches that have staff for this. But most of the unsung heroes of this are these volunteers at these smaller churches that just handle social media, that are doing ministry, and their pastor may not even know about it. It’s that kind of thing, just talk to the people that are in your church that are savvy when it comes to social media, and see what they’re doing, especially if they’re already volunteering and helping you with it, and start working with them to see how you can improve and be part of it. Because I know one thing is, man, when your pastor’s face pops up on your church’s social media, comments, likes, and interactions and impressions go up. They want to see you. They want to see you, and if you don’t know how to do that, there’s somebody in your church that does. That you just have to go, hey, help me do this, and they would love to help you do this.
Seth Muse: So I think when you look around at other churches, there may be bigger churches in the area that have some kind of best practices, or staffing ideas, for you or whatnot, you may post that in the Facebook group and find it. But at the end of the day, what works in your context is probably available to you right there, you just have to start. And stop worrying about it being clunky, it’s going to be clunky, it always is. Social media, it’s a sandbox.
Jason Hamrock: Yeah. So between like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, how are those platforms really aiding the church, and which ones do you see thriving. Or which one of those unique platforms, what do they bring to churches?
Seth Muse: Yeah, that’s a great question, because I think we think they all do the same thing, and they don’t. With Facebook, you get a lot of community, especially with your older crowd. Like if you’re looking at those maybe late 20s, mostly 30s, and 40s, and 50s, and 60s, those those demographic ranges tend to really connect on Facebook. And Instagram is going to be your 30 to 40 now, and some 20s. Tik-Tok is going to be a young crowd. So when you’re looking at them, you’ve got to understand like who’s where mostly. We used to say don’t post the same thing on all those, because it’ll be the same people seeing the same thing twice. Like, that’s not really true, people kind of have one platform they really go to a lot. So you really don’t have a lot of overlap anymore, but you have to change things around to fit this platform.
Seth Muse: So for Facebook, everything for Facebook, I think, if you’re focused on your page, you’re going to get one percent or so of people seeing what you post. But if you use groups, it’s going to be higher, and they’re going to be able to be part of the conversation. So I think groups are incredibly important going forward for churches and online ministry. Even if you only have one campus, which is most of us, you know, start a Facebook page and connect a Facebook group for your church to that page. And let the group be the thing where you put like, you have moderators, you have people interacting, your page can be about, you know, whatever page is about. But I think community is a big focus for Facebook, you have to talk, you have to focus on conversations and community for Facebook, I think if you do that and that’s first, not how flashy and cool is this content, that’s going to help you win on Facebook and that’s what it brings.
Seth Muse: With Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook, it’s a different platform. Mobile only, pretty much, I mean, there’s a desktop versions, but who cares. It’s a mobile thing about photograph, so let your pictures speak on Instagram. We do a lot of like created graphics for Instagram, I should say, and let your photography shine on Instagram. Even, and I hate to say this, because even if you do like stock photography in your captions and things like that, there’s a way you can tell a story with a photo. I don’t recommend doing stock photography, but sometimes that’s better than some of the graphics that people are making. So it’s like choose your battles, right? Ge a photographer, do you do your best, but phone cameras are pretty great. But Instagram is really more about display. It engages in so many ways in stories, if you’re using stories, that’s super like one to one conversational engagement with all the stickers, and polls, and you can go to your DMS really quick. But if you’re talking about just the Instagram feed, which most churches only do with Instagram, which I think is a shame. But if they’re only posting the feed, you have to think about how you’re displaying your vision, your values, you’re showing what’s going on. Don’t just talk about the fact that you believe things, show how that stuff is going on in your church. So any kind of, think of it like reporting almost, like here’s what’s happening at our church. That’s an Instagram strength, is that you can put up a picture of what it is you’re trying to do as a church. So community conversations on Facebook. Display,on your Instagram feed.
Seth Muse: And on Instagram stories, and now Reelz, and IGTV, which IGTV is great for so long sermon clips and things like that. All these different things you can display what’s going on at your church, and get people to interact with you one to one, be active in those comments and DM’s for Instagram, or it is going to be kind of a waste of your time.
Jason Hamrock: Yeah, so it’s like, you said something that caught my attention. It’s like news reporting, or actually storytelling, what your church is about through that story. And that helps to, if you’re about, you know, community, and you want to make an impact in a community, then how are changed lives happening in your church because of impact in community, and telling that story.
Seth Muse: Yeah, it’s like, what story do you want to tell, should be the first question. And then say, what photo can I get that would show that story, and then use your caption. I’m surprised how many churches don’t even fill in the caption, they don’t even write anything. But use the caption to give that picture context, so that people understand what you’re talking about. I’m not saying write a book or a microblog, which you could, but tell micro-stories. And my company, Church Com Team, that’s one of the things we’re focusing on with churches right now that we work with. We do, you know, communication support for churches remotely, but we’re trying to help them see how to tell micro-stories. And whenever we do that, their social media engagement goes way up, and that’s just for Facebook and Instagram as well. But on Instagram, it’s like it’s an art form, you know, that require some attention. But it’s always better for your audience, even if you don’t get, like, the comments that you want on Instagram, almost, it’s okay. If you’re not getting comments on Facebook, it’s like, okay, what are we doing wrong? But if you’re not getting comments on Instagram feed, it’s like, all right, are we get PM’s? Because what happens is, we put out this content and we work hard, and then when people respond we don’t talk back to them. And that’s a huge part of both those platforms algorithm showing it to more people, is if the church or the creator responds conversationally. So, you know, there’s so many elements to this, that you need someone who’s focused on it.
Seth Muse: As far as Twitter goes, I don’t know how Twitter serves the church, to be honest.
Jason Hamrock: Yeah.
Seth Muse: I don’t ever use it. I think that your staff can definitely use it, and as a pastor you can use it individually. And we definitely see some pastors using Twitter as themselves, not the church Twitter.
Jason Hamrock: Right. Right.
Seth Muse: I think that Twitter needs you to be personal in a way that is unlike the other two. So as a church, I don’t see a lot of use for Twitter, to be honest. I’m sure there are uses, I never focus on it or worry about it at all. When I ran communications for my last church, I mean we just shut down, we didn’t do it.
Jason Hamrock: Yeah.
Seth Muse: So, and that’s the other thing, it’s like they don’t all, you don’t have to do all, do the one that works. You know, Facebook and Instagram are the big two to me. People are going to always start with Facebook, but I think that you should move to an Instagram first mentality. Because when you do that, what you post to Instagram can be translated to Facebook easily, what you post on Facebook cannot always be translated to Instagram easily. So if you think Instagram first, you’ll be okay on both. So that’s, and plus you get your 30s and 40s in those young families we’ve been trying to reach for so long, they’re on Instagram. That’s the parents, you know, and what what you do there, it’s going to matter.
Jason Hamrock: That’s right. Well, let’s change gears, let’s talk about church communication directors. Right? So I know you guys do a lot of consulting, and you talk, and help a lot of church com’s. You’re a former church communication director, so am I, and so what are…For what you’re seeing, what are church communication directors struggling with? Where do they need assistance? What kind of questions should they be asking leadership in this time?
Seth Muse: Sure. I think they’re struggling, well firstly, they’re middle management, and it’s always hard to be middle management. You have leaders who are above who are making decisions, and sometimes you’re not privy to what’s going into those decisions. So you get it, it’s just like anybody else, you get a decision handed to you. And you’re like, what, you know, I don’t know what to do. And then you also have, you know, your team, or volunteers, or, you know, you’re by yourself and you have to work with others that, you know, maybe that are under you in the org chart, or peers with you in the org chart, or whatever. And you’re trying to get some things done, and right now, people do not want to hear about requests and systems when everything’s shot, you know. Like are you telling me I have to turn in a request that’s fully…I don’t know, I don’t know what’s going on, man. And you’re like, I don’t know what’s going on either, but I know I can’t get anything done if you don’t give me the info, so you’ve got to get the info. So we’re chasing down things probably more than we ever have as communication directors.
Seth Muse: So I think that, well, like I said earlier with internal communications, that is something I think communication directors should focus on, because I think we are uniquely positioned to be the one that actually makes that better. We have to touch every staff position at some point on the church staff, if you’re the communication director. You have to deal with all the way from your senior pastor to your volunteers, because I’d get emails when I was at my last church from random people who are like, hey, I’m on one of our softball teams and I need to get the logo for our jerseys. I’m like, who are you? I’m not sending our logo out to everybody, you know, like I don’t know what’s going on. So it was, who know, it’s like being a youth pastor, only for everybody’s department. You never know what you’ll be doing that day, you know, it’s a crazy, crazy situation. So I think focusing on internal communications and being, you know, the champion of just knowing what the heck is going on, and making sure.
Seth Muse: So what that looks like, you have a conversation with a staff member, let’s say your pastor said something in passing. Or, you know, your executive pastor says, I think we need to do this, so here’s what I want you to do, and he gives you a task, and you know, this is true. All right, so I send an email to your staff, you know, to your team, and say, here’s what the pastor told me, what the executive said to do. Copy your pastor on that so he knows what’s going on, if you have that relationship. Just make sure the people who need to know, know what you just talked about. It’s over communication, and it feels like overkill, but right now, especially, it helps everyone stay on the same page. You are this pivot position that can get information, and then put it in the inbox of someone that needs to know it, without saying, why didn’t you tell you what you told me? You know, why didn’t you tell them what you told me, I thought we are all on the same page? Because then you show up at the service and go, tada, I did all this hard work. And the person that should have known that didn’t know, goes what the heck is this? Why did we do that? Why didn’t you ask me about it? Let’s not do it, let’s change it at the last minute. And we’re all like, ugh, what do we do? Well, we didn’t communicate, that’s what we didn’t do, you know. And so I think when you’re in this position it’s extra work, and doesn’t feel like communications, but it is in fact communicating with each other. So when we focus on that, I think it makes all the other things that we’re trying to do in communications easier, especially if we have a team that we’re trying to lead. And if you’re blessed to be able to have people that work with you in the same Department of Communications, then the hardest thing is being middle management, and just being the informational hub for the church. And making sure that everybody knows what they need to know, and has the info they need, and that makes them want to give the info to you as well. Like, ooh, you know, Seth is our coms person and, you know, he always tells me a bunch of stuff. So when I find things out, I have the precedent now of I need to tell Seth this, I wonder if he knows. You know, like they help you out. So it just develops this culture of communicating well within, you know, our staff and leadership, Much less how do we communicate with our people? You know, it’s the infrastructure that makes that the external communications work. So I don’t know, that’s what I think communication director should really focus on right now. Is that, not the overproduction of content, as far as like the shine. You can overproduce a lot of content, you know, if you’re in over overproduction mode, that’s fine, but over communication mode needs to happen as well.
Jason Hamrock: Yeah, that’s really good advice. Just, I think probably for you, and the same thing for me, I felt like it such a burden to make sure that your event was super successful, you know, and they would rely on me and my department, my team, to make sure that there is plenty of people at their event. Well, that’s not happening anymore, right, and you may not even be under the same roof anymore because of social distancing rules. And so I think that that key of, in my opinion, yeah obviously, over communicating with the staff, incredibly important that you don’t get into a bubble that’s such, that just causes storms, fires, that you don’t want. The other thing I think is you, in this space and in this new, it’s not a new digital age, but in this new direction that we have to go in. I think communication directors just kind of constantly need to be fed. They need to listen to guys like Seth here, you’ve got to absorb what’s going on around you outside of your world, so that you can bring it into your world. And really, you know, leadership up, like go up to leadership and inform them about what we should be doing and why we should be doing it, and not just going, hey, I have a wild idea. No, I have an idea, and here’s why, and here’s what I’ve seen happen before, and this is the result we could could expect if we go into the space. And I think that’s what a good communication director should do is, don’t try to feel like you could do it all on your own, you don’t have to. There’s so many resources, guys like Seth, and Missional Marketing, you can go and learn a ton about how to do this effectively.
Seth Muse: Yeah, and that comes out of a relationship. You know, it’s the value of that walk down and hang out for a second and ask how the kids were. A quick story, there was a guy at my former church that I’m still friends with today, just does the marriage ministry there, you know, his name is Brock. And Brock was talking about he has re-engage three nights a week, you know, all these different campuses, and he’s like, you know, it’s crazy, right? Huge ministry at the church, and so, you know, he was he was talking to me about how hard it was to get people to stick with their appointments. And he is like, because what happened was we were like let’s go to lunch, and he goes, well, I can’t I have an appointment. And then he was like, well, they just didn’t show up, do you want to go ahead and go. And I was like, yeah, let’s go. So he was telling me about what happened, and I was like, Well, have you heard of Calendly? And he goes, what’s Calendly? And I was like, Oh, my gosh, are you serious? You don’t use Calendly to book appointments. And he goes, no, we just emailed back and forth and look at our calendars and try to work it out. And I’m like, well I mean, that works, but have you heard of Calendly? So it’s like, I showed him what it can do, this little free program that he can connect with his calendar and provide slots for people to sign up for, put all the appointment on the people. And then it automatically sends them links, automatically sends the calendar to him. And he was like, this has changed my life, this has absolutely changed my life, this is so much better. And I was like, I can’t believe you didn’t know about that. Well, that’s basic for me, but we were talking before, like, kind of shocked at how little, you know, some church leadership are aware of these amazing digital tools that are available to them. They don’t even know they exist, much less…
Jason Hamrock: That everybody uses except for them, right?
Seth Muse: It’s something we all use, and we’re like Calendly, MailChimp. What? You know, it’s like, yes, these things are free. You know, like these are…Google is free, like, do you know what? all the Google Suite can do. Oh, my lord.
Jason Hamrock: What’s Google?
Seth Muse: Yeah, it’s like I use it for email. And I’m like, you know, do you use drive, you know, calendar. And it’s like, do you know how those work? And it’s like I’m not saying like pastors are dumb, they they definitely know a lot about technology, especially in the Apple world. But there are so many little things like that, that are just free little extras that make their life so much easier, that as a communication director are old hat to us, you know, that we know all about. So helping them connect those dots, just through the conversation. Like, well, you know what you could do? You know, that relational conversation is where I think communication directors can really serve the pastors in a way that they didn’t know they needed.
Jason Hamrock: Absolutely. Well…
Seth Muse: It makes ministry easier.
Jason Hamrock: If we go back into February, and we asked ten pastors, hey, you ever heard of Zoom? You’re probably going to get eight of them, or nine of them going, what are you talking about? Now it’s like, I’m sick of Zoom. But it’s such a, we’re doing this right now on Zoom, it’s such a powerful, powerful tool that can be used for discipleship.
Seth Muse: And they weren’t ready either. I mean Zoome was like, when everybody started using it, it was like, wow, we have security issues we need to address and adjust. You know, they’re not immune to it, we’re all trying to figure things out. But, you know, approaching this stuff with some humility and realizing there’s things that you don’t know, and that this 20 something kid you’ve got volunteering in your coms department might be able to make your ministry of thirty years really powerful right now, because of things that they know that you don’t know.
Jason Hamrock: Yeah, and I think it’s just, it’s connecting the dots. Because you have, pastor you have the most incredible message ever.
Seth Muse: And we want to get that out.
Jason Hamrock: But the way you bottle that up and get it out there has got to change.
Seth Muse: Yeah. And we want that, like communication directors are not the wet blanket that you sometimes get pegged as. As the, well, we can’t do that, and here’s why we can’t do it, and we need to not do that, we need to not be that way. But because we’re typically more how people than wow people in general, and so the wow people are typically the pastors who go, wouldn’t it be great if we did this? And we’re like, well, how would we do that? And it’s like, oh, sad trombone, you know? But we definitely have the know how to make those things happen, and want those things to happen, you know, for you and your ministry. We want to see you reach more people, we want to see the message be seen by more people, you know, and more people come to Christ. I mean, that’s why we do this.
Jason Hamrock: Exactly.
Seth Muse: It is so important to us that you do it a certain way because it’s more successful, which means more people hear the gospel, which means that what you’re trying to do and what we’re trying to do are the same thing. So understanding that, you know, that’s the mission behind, why do we nerd out over Google, and how many people saw a video? It’s because that matters to their eternity, and we want to be doing our part to help them with that, and I think sometimes we don’t see that as we’re all trying to do the same thing.
Jason Hamrock: Yep. Yep. Well, as we kind of close up here, this has been amazing, thank you so much for your input. Talk to me a little bit about what you’re doing. How can churches connect with you? How are you helping and where, you know, where do churches go to learn more about Seth and what he’s doing?
Seth Muse: Right. Well, personally, you can go to sethmuse.com, I blog, podcast. The Seminary of Hard Knocks is my podcast, you can subscribe to that, that would be great. For the church, where I could probably serve you the most is why I left the official position of my church, is to start a company called Church Com team, which you can find at churchcomteam.com. And what it is, is we are remote communications support for churches who desperately need it. We can either lead your team or support staff you have there when it comes to social media or website development, things like that, creating ads, creating, you know, all the things that you have to do. You get a team of professionals for less than the price you pay a full time employee per year. And it’s a good deal, and we price it that way to be a value to churches, because that’s my heart. I want to see them succeed in this area, and I know that they often, like we’ve been talking about, are frustrated and don’t have the manpower, don’t have the know how, don’t have the time to get everything done that’s that square one of basic communications requires now. Square one of communications has grown from what you need to be a basic functioning digital communications hub for your people. It is so vast, from website SEO, you know, Google search stuff which you guys do a great job with, website development, social media content, content planning, all of that, project management, we do all that. So it’s a company that is really important to me. I believe one of the reasons I left my one church, is so that I can help multiple churches, because we saw a need. And right now it’s going well, we’re having a blast doing it, we’re working with churches from Texas to Florida. Which I’m in Texas, but, you know, taking on new clients for 2021, you know, in the fall. And we’re having a great time doing it, so churchcomteam.com is what I’m really focused on right now. Or you can subscribe to my podcast, The Seminary of Hard Knocks, that’s how you connect with me.
Jason Hamrock: Yeah, and I encourage you to do that, because looking at your podcast, you guys put out a lot of great content. A lot of stuff that, you know, any church staff member needs to listen to. Right? And it’s not like church don’t be so arrogant enough to think that, well, our coms team, they’re the ones that handle all this stuff when it comes to digital. No, I think the whole staff needs to learn about where this is going. And it’s just in my opinion, you know, the church com guy is the one who’s going to go deeper into it, but we all need to learn. So no matter what position you play, if you’re a volunteer, or your the lead pastor, be tuning into this stuff, absorb it, and have a conversation with Seth about what that could look like. And I’m just a big fan. I did this at my church, I believe in surrounding myself with vendors or volunteers, but vendors that were experts at what they did. And with good value, rights, it’s not like we’re trying to take advantage. But yeah, I never liked, I never liked it when somebody said I should pay X amount of dollars, and this is all they do. I was more about like what kind of value do you bring in terms of helping me achieve what my mission is about? And, you know, price isn’t really the biggest thing at this point, it’s I want to put out really, really good quality, and I want to put out in a good amount of time, like a timely quality. Right? Price doesn’t really always matter at that point, but I’m just such a big believer in surrounding myself with people that are talented, who know what they’re talking about.
Jason Hamrock: Seth knows what he’s talking about, so I’d encourage you to reach out to him and have a conversation. But just, if anything, just absorb and learn. We, I think you and I both have the same heart, as I lead our company, it’s all about educating and equipping. Because I want you to win, when the church wins, we all win.
Seth Muse: That’s one of the benefits that we offer, is like especially in our top tier, we’ll come and actually do a whole seminar for your whole staff. To tell them how to be part of social media. Why is this important?
Jason Hamrock: That’s so good.
Seth Muse: Whether it’s quarantine time or not, you know, it’s going to be always important. It’s like you’ve got a kids pastor who could be killing it on Instagram or Tik Tok or whatever, and they aren’t doing it at all. It’s like, how do you show them what they can do,and why they should do it. It’s like that’s part of what our company does is, is we don’t just focus on executing tasks, it’s about coaching and training for your staff or your leadership. We do a lot of things that bridge that gap, we’ve been talking today between leadership and communications teams, and communication teams and volunteer teams, and how to work with the other staff that are peers and who don’t want to use the process or whatever. You know, like how do you get through that? We do a lot of work in that area for our team, that really does change the dynamic of whether or not you’re successful in the execution at all. Because you can work on execution all day and only get to a point where if people don’t get along, or they don’t work well together, it’s never going to work. So, you know, you got to be on the same page. So we do a lot of that, we call that internal communications. We talk about internal communications and external communications for your church. And, you know, because that’s a big deal, it’s a huge deal. You’ve got to go train people, they don’t know, they don’t know how to do it.
Seth Muse: I used to run thirty-something Facebook groups for my last church. The only way we did that is because I had people and staff that were responsible for each of these groups, trained them how to do it, gave them content ideas, followed up with them. We even did like a Sunday social dot tv, and I’d grab some graphics and say here, share some of this. You know, and just easy, low hanging fruit is out there that your com director can can help with. But, you know, your staff have to be on board with doing it. And the only reason they did it, is because we started a group, we were starting a campus. And we took a Facebook group that grew from one hundred eight to a thousand, we launched with over a thousand people. And I think that Facebook group was a big part of it, it wasn’t the only reason, but it was a big part of it because everybody got involved.
Seth Muse: They started doing…Kind of people were so excited to have that campus in their area, they started to organize high school small groups, and meet ups, and get togethers. And our staff were like, whoa, what’s going on? What’s happening? We’re not ready for that. The people are ready, man, they’re not waiting on you. And it was the Facebook group that started that, and gave it so much momentum going forward. I mean, just so many things can happen. So we modeled our other campus groups after that group after that, it was like, here’s what you can do here’s how you do it, go do it. And the whole thing hinged on the fact that that campus pastor who was new, who called it the Facebook before this, became such an incredible online minister in that group. I’ll never forget having that conversation, he was in my office and it was such a cool moment too, we had this whole conversation about ministry and online. How you can use video to train volunteers. And tell people what to do when they get to to the church. And, you know, share vision and how often you should do it. And he was like, really, I don’t have to get in the studio every time? And he was blown away, and the dude was in 50s, and he walked out. He was walking out of my office. I remember he stopped in my doorway with his back to me, this was such a comic book moment. Any he, oh man, he looks over his shoulder just kind of this typical, you know, anime glance back. And he goes, this Facebook group is my church until I have a campus, right? And I went, yep. He went, got it, and he walked out. I was like, oh, it’s going to be good, and he just then proceeded to kill it. And he’s the reason that group grew, and why they launched with that kind of momentum, and it was just amazing to watch. The guy was named Mike, Mike had called it the Facebook until then, and I somehow convinced him this was going to help him. And he bought in full steam, and man, it launched me.
Jason Hamrock: It’s mindshift of how you can do ministry.
Seth Muse: It was like I remember the moment when the lightbulb went on. He was like this is my this is my church, this is my campus. I was like, yeah.
Jason Hamrock: Yeah, yeah, powerful stuff.
Seth Muse: It was like, cue the music, man.
Jason Hamrock: The mic drop.
Seth Muse: Cue the slow mo armageddon walk out of my office, and some awesome music, it was great. It’s like that’s what I live for, those moments when that light bulb goes off. And then to see him do so great with it. It was awesome, it was good to see.
Jason Hamrock: Well cool, thank you again. And we’ll put some links on this podcast so you can check out Seth and his company. And man, just thank you for what you’re doing for the Kingdom, brother, you’re making an impact, so appreciate you.
Seth Muse: My pleasure. Thanks for having me on, this was awesome.
Jason Hamrock: All right. We’ll talk to you soon.
Jason Hamrock: Well, thanks Seth. Boy, that was a great conversation, a lot of takeaways from that as leaders in the church space. Right?One of the things I think that we need to really be focusing on is how do we lead during this time? And if you’re having questions about what does online ministry look like, and how can we be more creative with our content, I recommend you either reach out to Seth, right, so Seth has his his website, you can go there, sethmuse.com, or you can certainly go to churchcomteam.com, or talk to us at Missional Marketing. Right. We’d love to help you understand how to get better when it comes to creating an online church culture. It’s much deeper than just putting your sermons out on the weekends, right, it’s a lot more involved than that.
Jason Hamrock: So another thing that Seth said that was really intriguing was the fact that we have to be focused on, not just necessarily having the best studios or having the best equipment, but really being creative and thinking through and leaning on stories. Let stories tell the story, and that doesn’t take a lot of money and resources, that takes your mind, and your creativity, and energy, and time, and effort to focus on that. And so I think it’s really important for us, as leaders in the church space, to be mindful about what this gift we have. That I think COVID can be kind of silverlined as a as a gift, to be able to reset and hit the reset button, and move forward intentionally about not only connecting with people that are far from God, unchurched people, but also people in your church, right, and actually growing your church.
Jason Hamrock: And so, again, go check out Seth, go check out Missional Marketing, take a look at our blog, we’ve got a ton of content on there. I hope you really enjoyed today’s podcast. Until next time, God bless.