By: Nathan Elson
The other day I walked into a church service and noticed on the two side screens a slide that read, “Please silence your phones.” The implicit idea behind the slide is simple: phones can be distracting and being distracted in church is not good. So I reached into my pocket to grab my cell phone…
Wait, this isn’t 2002. I no longer have a cell phone – rather I have a small computer with an advanced touch screen, constant Internet access, and a bevy of apps that fits in the palm of my hand. And the device was (literally) in the palm of my hand.
In working with churches around the United States, I am generally asked for advice on how to drive interaction between the church and congregants; how to build community; and how to maximize communication. I get questions about websites, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; about apps and email. All of which are good things.
However, most of the conversations center on how to drive interaction apart from Sunday. Because Sunday, you know, is Sunday.
But what if the key to driving interaction with congregations began on Sunday, in Church, and was designed to bleed over into the week and was done in such a way where it built momentum from week to week? What if the key was not to ask people to silence their phones, but to use them?
Try this on Sunday, ask everyone to take out his or her device and hold it up. Then ask everyone to take a picture and post it to their Facebook wall (or Tweet it, or Instagram it, or whatever). Make sure to ask them to tag your church in it (you do have Facebook for your church right?). Then sometime later take a look at the results.
If nothing else, everyone who is in their sphere of influence would have a shot at seeing it, and may be exposed to how awesome your church is.
With products such as Logos’s Proclaim, which pushes Bible verses, conducts live polls, and pushes other information in real-time to devices during services, and Mogiv, which makes giving as easy as sending a text (like asking your friend halfway through the sermon where they want to go to lunch) the technology to push live interaction with your congregation is accessible to every church, no matter what your size.
All it takes is a bit of creativity and a willingness to experiment.
Nathan Elson is a Christ follower, relentlessly obsessed with “better” and on a mission to see everyone around him be the best version of themselves. He serves The Rock Church in San Diego as Pastoral Director of Interaction+Communication and by leading creatives, stewarding communications, and striving to help The Rock’s congregation experience God in new ways every week. nathanrelson.wordpress.com | twitter.com/nathanrelson