How are you communicating with your small group leaders and hosts? How hard (or easy) is it for you to get the word out about upcoming events, recommended curriculum, and leader development? How do you do it? Still using a print newsletter? Sending an email out to a list? Smiling and dialing? In this post I want to point you to four easy-to-use tools that will make communicating with your team easier and more effective.
First, give your leaders a way to get information 24/7. You may have a great website and a really cooperative webmaster…but most of us don’t. The truth about most church websites is that finding what you’re looking for is a challenge and adding or changing content is even tougher. What’s the answer? Use a blog linked to your website that you and your team can update! It’s easy to use and inexpensive to provide (less than $60 a year). There are several web-based programs that make it so easy that even a caveman can do it!
You can see the blog I’ve created for small group leaders at Adventure right here. If you click on “life groups” in the middle of this page you can see how I’ve linked my leader’s blog from my church’s website. If I have a training event that I want to promote or curriculum that I want to recommend it is easy to add and I can do it without waiting on our webmaster. Even better…I can set it up so that when I add the content my leaders are notified!
Second, provide training and encouragement without scheduling an on-campus meeting. You can do this several ways. For example, a short teleconference is a great technique that your leaders will really appreciate. Using a service like FreeConferenceCall.com allows your leaders to take part in a training session without driving over to the church. That is a huge idea! For many of your leaders it will save them 30 minutes both ways by the time they get in their car and drive over.
Another idea that is being used more and more is providing a quick video teleconference. With a free service like Tokbox.com you can do training or coaching huddles using a webcam and a computer. Tokbox.com allows your team to click a link from wherever they are and join a video call in progress. If they don’t have a webcam they’ll still be able to see everyone who does. If only the leader of the call has a webcam it can still provide a way for you to communicate visually with your team. And it’s free! Another option is to use Mogulus.com which allows you to broadcast your training live over the internet. Your leaders will be able to see and hear your presentation as well as type in questions on the screen.
Further, you can use Tokbox.com or Mogulus.com to record your training and post the video on your blog. Then your leaders can watch the training on their own time.
Third, use a web-based service like Churchteams to allow unconnected people to find a group 24/7. Easy-to-use, your leaders can do the updates themselves (or you can do it for them), It is a real advantage to be able to provide current information about available groups 24/7. Additionally, with a web-based approach you can send out a church-wide email using a program like Constant Contact, (which is offering a FREE 60-Day Trial
that will provide a link to your small group finder. This can be used in combination with verbal and print announcements to encourage maximum response to a church-wide emphasis.
Finally, take advantage of social media to stay connected with your leaders. You may be surprised to discover how many of your leaders are already on Facebook. If you haven’t set up your page yet, there’s no time like the present. Twitter is another social media service that should be on your to-do list. Funny name, interesting concept…Twitter allows you to update by text message all the people who are “following” your tweets. You can also set Twitter up to update your Facebook status. You can see how I use Twitter in the right column of this web site.
Need a new approach? You don’t need to move from A to Z on one move. Move to B. Add a simple blog that you can update yourself. Try on Constant Contact for size. The key on all of these new ideas is to take a first step!