12 Ways To Create An Awesome Easter Online Experience
Are you heading into reopening your church for in-person services but aren’t sure where to start?
Are you worried about the complex communication required to connect with your people in this season?
Today’s blog post is by Ben Stapley. Ben serves on the Executive Team at Christ Fellowship as the Weekend Experience Director overseeing the production, worship, creative, communication, online and guest service departments. Christ Fellowship has 17 campuses with 7 based locally in Miami and 10 across Latin America.
Today he’s giving us some really practical next steps for creating online Easter services that people will attend in this reopening phase.
Last year many churches did Easter online for the first time. Since it was new and rushed we didn’t put our best foot forward. But it’s now a year later so there’s no reason why your online experience can’t be awesome in 2021. Below are 12 ways to help you plan an incredible easter online experience. If you want additional coaching to make this your best Easter yet, visit www.PlanEaster.com. I would love to come alongside you and help make it a success.
- Clear Next Step: Your message should have a clear next step. This will be your highest attended service onsite and online. So what is your CTA? What is your call to action? Personally, I’m a big fan of baptism. It hits a wide audience cause it applies to those who have already followed Christ and those who have just crossed the line that day. You can either do it after service that day, or part of the service the following week.
- Clear Next Series: It can be easy for the creative team to spend all their energy and resources on this holiday service but forget what is happening next. So invest in the following series as well. Make sure to have an incredible description, graphic and promotional video for the next message series that you can roll out on Easter. This will help you retain your high attendance.
- Photo Booth: I know this is an onsite resource but it has major online implications. So grab a couple of ferns, a bench and a ring light – and voilà – you have yourself a photo booth. Here are some examples. This gives value to your guest because it allows them a place to grab a quick photo of the family dressed in their Sunday best before the kids get grass stains on their pants during the afternoon Easter egg hunt. This also gives value to church online because they will post these photos socially while hopefully tagging the church. Free marketing!
- Landing Page: Easter should have its own webpage, not just a mention on your homepage. Here is the landing page from my church. This will give enough real-estate to allow you to have a large vision for the event. A landing page is also beneficial because you can easily drive traffic there with www.YourChurch.com/Easter. Make sure to create an easter landing page that looks good on desktop but great on mobile. Not the other way around. And update this landing page now cause people are already going to it.
- FaceBook Picture Frame: For your Boomers create a branded frame for their profile picture on Facebook. This allows them to spread the word to their retired friends about what is happening at their church. Here are some examples.
- Hashtag: For your Gen Xers create a hashtag so they can tweet about Easter. But make sure to research the hashtag first. Our friends north of us at Christ Fellowship in West Palm have been using #EasterAtCF for years so they dominate that hashtag. Because of that we went with #EasterWithCF. No need competing with another hashtag. Get creative and come up with your own.
- GIF: For your millennials create a GIF. This will allow them to jump on Instagram and create more fleeting story content that dissipates into the ether within 24 hours. Check out “cfmiami” as an example next time you’re on the gram.
- Shareable Content: Create Easter graphic invites and provide them to your guests so they can be digital evangelists. Encourage them to post these invites on their social accounts, or better yet, text the invite to a friend or family member with a personalized message. Also, consider providing invites like these on your website for each series so the sharing continues all year long. Check out cfmiami.org/share as a great example. And lastly, make sure to provide feed AND story sizes invites cause nobody posts in their feed anymore…that is sooooo 2019.
- Chat Hosts: Double up on your chat hosts for this weekend for your live experiences on Facebook, YouTube, CHoP and Instagram. You are gonna have more guests online and you want to engage them and draw them into your online community. If your chat window is empty during the experience you are basically putting up a digital closed sign. On demand is great for convenience but live is great for community. So have enough chat hosts ready to foster that.
- Wow Moment: Consider investing in a wow moment. Some churches are flying out a crew to Jerusalem to film a message on location. That is awesome for them. But I don’t got that budget. And you probably don’t either. Don’t let that hold you back. Consider filming at a local landmark, a flower shop with lilies behind you, or even your backyard during a sunrise. There are plenty of ways to make a wow moment possible. Consider which is right for you and do it!
- Communion: If you are doing communion during the service, let guests know before that weekend so they have supplies ready. It is a little awkward when you have to substitute bread and grape juice with goldfish and Gatorade. Also remind guests at the beginning of your online service.
- Plan, Promote & Pray: We often do a great job with the first two but sometimes neglect the last. As you enter into Easter, don’t forget to take time to ask God that He would move in your midst, that lives would be changed and that more people would find and follow the resurrected Son.
Hopefully these 12 ways to help you plan an incredible easter online experience. If you want additional help maximizing your largest attended service with personalized coaching then visit www.PlanEaster.com. We will plan, promote and pray to make this your best Easter yet.