As a church leader, you’re constantly trying to find new ways to connect with the couples at your church. You’re probably using email, text messages, phone calls and smoke signals to reach these married people. But they’re busy people and these methods don’t always work.
So you’re likely also thinking about social media. More and more people get their information from Facebook and Instagram these days. You want to take advantage of this and capture their attention. But you don’t know how to start. Or you don’t have the time to figure it out.
That’s why we wanted to share some advice on the best ways to get started connecting with married couples using the latest technology.
Share Valuable Marriage Content
There’s a ton of content out there on social media. Most of it is just junk. People ignore junk. What they want is value—something that will improve their life. If you can share content with them that does that, you’ll get their attention.
So find posts to share that can actually benefit a couple’s marriage. How do you do that? Well, we think we can help. We put out a blog post every single week on a topic relevant to married couples. We also release a new podcast episode every week with the same goal. Not to mention the dozens of cool videos we have for you to share on our YouTube channel.
We do all of this to provide you with something valuable to share with married couple. Posting links and videos to social media or just sharing our social media posts can be a huge benefit to couples.
Listen to Them
It’s easy to talk on social media. All you need is an open Wifi connection and working thumbs. Listening on social media is much harder. That takes time and patience. Because it means searching out relevant conversations online.
Talking on social media isn’t a bad thing—even better when you’re talking about something valuable, as mentioned above. But you can’t just talk. Your church needs to balance this out with a healthy dose of listening to married couples.
Listening to people online while also respecting their privacy can be tricky. One way to do this with healthy barriers is inviting them into a conversation. Post questions asking how you can help their marriage or how you can pray for them.
Hopefully these questions invite couples into a conversation that shows how much you care about their marriage and family. Asking questions opens the door for you to actively listen.
Provide Them With Community
We all crave community. It’s woven into our DNA as people. We want authentic relationships. And that’s one of the reasons why social media is such a big deal in our culture. It’s just another place that people find community.
Your church can win online by building a community online. It’s not easy to cultivate and manage great communities using social media, but it’s worth trying. Take what you’re doing to reach people physically at your church and carry that out in a digital way.
A practical way to do this is start a Facebook group for married couples at your church. Facebook groups are exploding in popularity and you can jump on the bandwagon. If you don’t want to do this yourself, we’ve done the hard work for you and created a marriage Facebook group that any couple can join. Invite married people at your church to join our growing community online.
How do you reach married couples using social media at your church?
We are thrilled to introduce a new online shopping experience for our church partners.
Previously, our partners purchased resources and downloaded content on two separate websites with two separate accounts. Now, we’re rolling those two separate platforms into one place. We hope this will make for a much better user experience.
To help you navigate the new store, we’ve included a series of screenshots of the store below. Your Orange Specialist is also on hand to answer and questions you might have.
View and purchase all of the resources from MarriedPeople, as well as the rest of Orange.
Login to the store using the same username and password as our previous system. No need to create a new login.
The Strategy Pack
You can now purchase or renew the annual Strategy Pack straight from the store. This is also where you will download all of the Strategy Pack files, too.
One year’s worth of MarriedPeople Monthly access is available as a separate product in the store. For MP Monthly subscribers and all Strategy Pack partners, access to Monthly is provided in their My Downloads section, and the content will be updated monthly as each new issue is available.
Find all of the Strategy Pack resources you’ve purchased in the My Downloads tab and download the files directly.
You can select to download files and folders individually or download them all at once. You’ll see video files listed separately (because of their size), or other files grouped by event or purpose (like marketing or Larger Group Experiences).
For MarriedPeople Monthly, you’ll be able to download each month’s worth of resources separately. You’ll have access to these files starting with your purchase of the Strategy Pack. Access to the MP Monthly content will be open for 12 months, with new files be loaded in the previous month for the next month’s content. After one year, your subscription to MP Monthly will need to be renewed by either purchasing it individually or as part of a new Strategy Pack.
You may already be aware that MarriedPeople has a private Facebook group for church leaders who work in marriage ministry. You may even be one of the more than 1,400 members in the group. But just in case you didn’t know about the group, or aren’t already a member, here’s a few reasons why you should consider joining.
1. Live Webinars
Back in 2017, we started hosting free webinars on Facebook Live within the group. The first one went so well that we decided to make it a regular thing.
But you’ve got to be a member of the group in if you want to watch the webinars live. Interested? You can watch that first webinar below.
2. Ask Questions
If you’re new to marriage ministry, you probably have questions. Even if you’ve been in the game for several years, you’ve probably still got questions.
The Facebook group is the perfect place to ask these questions. The MarriedPeople team checks the group on a regular basis and when lend a hand where we can.
Even better, these questions are also seen and answered by other church leaders who also have a great perspective on what works, and what doesn’t.
3. Discounts on Products
We frequently offer discounts on our resources, including our annual partnership. Leaders in the Facebook group are usually the first to hear about these great deals. Not to mention, we also share sneak peaks of future resources and share news about our parent organization, Orange.
By joining the Facebook group, you become a MarriedPeople insider. It’s the best place to hear about everything that’s going on and get the latest resources first.
4. Network with Your Peers
Probably the best aspect of the group is the opportunity to meet and talk to other church leaders who are in the same situation as you. The group has got leaders from different-sized churches, from across the United States and world.
They’re all a part of the group for the same reason—to improve marriages. We want to share the best ideas to make that happen. We want to encourage one another to keep going. We want to help each other win.
If you’re looking for any one of those four things, you should probably join the group. It’s private, so you’ve got to request to join, but we promise we’ll let you in. (We keep it private to keep out unwanted spammers).
If you’re already in the group, comment below with your favorite part of being a member! And feel free to invite any other church leader friends to join, too. We want to keep growing the group to make it even better.
You probably see it every week. Leaders who undercut their influence by something they’ve posted online. Sometimes they blow it completely through one or two dumb moves. Sometimes you end up thinking I’m not really sure I want to follow them anymore. But you’re not exactly sure why.
Loss of influence can be subtle, but its real. And its so easy to do, if you’re not careful. Because of constant exposure, social media makes influence easier to gain and that much easier to lose.
Almost every ministry leader is on social media today. So is almost everyone they lead. The opportunity to squander your influence is that much higher. Often, we do it without even realizing it. How do leaders undercut their influence on social media? Here are six subtle ways I’ve seen it happen.
1. Portraying a life everyone suspects isn’t real
It’s so tempting to portray a perfectly manicured life. But everyone knows your marriage isnt perfect and that your kids arent really as magnificently brilliant or wonderfully behaved as you let them on to be.
Bragging has become an online staple for many. Whether its kids awesome report cards, your house that can almost look like glossy mag/Pinterest/cable TV, or the selfie you and your spouse took on your date night.
But dig a little deeper and youd discover:
You tweeted the two A’s, on the report card, but not the C’s.
The house only really looks showcase when you hold the camera at just the right angle just before sunset and as long as the dog doesn’t photobomb the shot.
The selfie was taken a half hour after the fight ended.
We’ve all been there. What’s the key to building authentic influence online? It’s being real.
You probably don’t want to disclose every high or every low, but you do want to share a slice of everyday. The truth is most of us are pretty average. And average resonates. People want to know youre real. Because if you are, they can relate to you. Oh, and God has a habit of using ordinary people.
2. Overdisclosing your struggles
So portraying a perfect life underdiscloses your struggles. But does being real mean you should overdisclose them? Not in the least.
When you overdisclose your struggles, you help nobody. When you talk about your long list of problems or whats wrong with the world, you can miss the fact that youre not in a conversation with anyone on those issues. You’re just pulling a dump and run.
These three rules have helped me figure out when to talk about something publicly and when not to. Just because you need to tell someone your struggling doesn’t mean you need to tell everyone youre struggling. Tell a friend, and keep your phone in your pocket.
3. Posting when you’re emotional
Nothing good happens when you’re angry. When you’re emotional, you rarely say things youre proud of later on. So please don’t tell us about it.
Sometimes you see emotional status updates. I dont know about you, but it makes me think the person just wants someone to take the bait and ask what happened or, more sadly, that the person doesn’t have anyone to talk to.
If you start throwing some store that didn’t process your return well, some leader or some other victim of your anger under the bus, it makes us wonder what you’re saying about us when we’re not the room.
If you’re angry, process it. Don’t tweet it. Go to sleep. Wake up the next morning and my guess is your anger will be gone. Your status update won’t be though. Unless of course, you never published it. Much smarter.
4. Playing politics
When ministry leaders jump into partisan politics, they lose influence. I’m Canadian, so I realize I’m likely suspect on all fronts here. But God isn’t a Democrat or a Republican. He’s God.
As a ministry leader, I’m called to lead all people. Even the people I disagree with.
When you play politics online, you squander your influence. So I don’t. We have people who vote in every direction at our church, which I think means were being the church.
5. Say something publicly instead of privately
You’ve seen those status updates:
Some people are impossible to deal with!
I wish people would just ...
I can’t believe that this person…
It’s easier to say it publicly than it is privately, isnt it? Absolutely. For all of us.
But great leadership demands that difficult conversations happen privately, not publicly. Talk to the person youre upset with, not about them. Go direct.
6. Talking only about yourself
Who is your social media about? Is it all about you? Are you talking with others? Showcasing something bigger than yourself? Celebrating others?
We are all narcissists in one form or another, but social media has given us a platform to take self-indulgence and self-absorption to a whole new level. We are in the middle of the rise of the selfie-generation. With it comes a curse: a life devoted to self ultimately leaves us alone.
If you want to leverage influence well, spotlight others, even the people you lead.
A lot of us admire Donald Miller, but one of the things that makes his work so great is that he so often showcases others. He even redesigned his blog to feature many writers. I love that. Don’t make it all about you. Your influence will grow.
How about you? What do you see that undercuts influence?
Marriage Ministry can often be based on our best guess as church leaders. After all we understand the married people in our church and community, right? Maybe. But what if we don’t?
While on staff at Mission Community Church in Gilbert, AZ, we decided to take a more calculated and targeted approach.
As we researched the community’s desires and demographics, we gained data that drastically impacted our approach. One of the top things the data uncovered was that the average age was 39—and our ministry was not reaching our target group. Our research also unearthed that marriage was the top priority in the community and that marriage was the key topic that could draw unbelievers to our church. The unchurched didn’t want to come to church to know God, but they did want to gain practical advice for their marriage. What a staggering statistic!
So the first task for our marriage ministry was to scale and sustain a ministry to meet this opportunity. The philosophy behind everything we created was offering the right couple the right information at the right time. Our previous approaches towards pre-marriage, enrichment, and crisis were only hitting a minority of our church and community.
As we continued to measure and improve couples’ marriage health, we could cultivate continued buy-in and not worry about who was engaging because we were constantly adjusting our model to continually improve.
One of the easiest things we did was send out a survey to over 750 couples who attended our DateNightPhx event, and asked everyone for a ranking of environment, content, and current health of relationship. This was the quantitative side. Then we also asked for personal stories. The feedback we got off this began the cascade of changes we implemented in other areas of our ministry.
For example, we had people say that they didn’t want to be separated from their spouses when going through courses, and they wanted to have more fun versus feeling beat up. They wanted a little content, but more fun. That is why we decided to go with a 51% fun, 49% content in our efforts.
Throughout all of our programming, we asked people who were both in and out of the church what they wanted or thought and delivered on that, instead of forcing something they didn’t want to happen. We tried to find out WHAT they wanted to happen and helped make THAT happen—and stopped assuming we knew it all.
LIVING IN THE UNKNOWNS
This means we had to be willing to live in unknown unknowns. Let me explain. Picture a pie chart with three basic categories: the smallest piece on the chart is the KNOWN KNOWNS—for example, I KNOW my eyes are green.
The next piece slightly larger is the KNOWN UNKNOWNS, for example, I KNOW I DO NOT KNOW how to perform brain surgery.
The largest piece of the pie and maybe the most important is the UNKNOWN UNKNOWNS. An example of this is our willingness to listen, learn, and adapt as we begin to fill this piece of pie.
When we live in the UNKNOWN of UNKNOWNS, it frees us up from locking into one pattern! This piece of pie is where true learners live, and the investigation and constant monitoring and tweaking for continued improvements happens.
Don’t force or expect everyone to be in the same boat nor have the same desire. Leverage an approach that includes constant feedback and room for adjustments. Understanding who our people are and providing vision and direction is the one constant. People want to be known and empowered.
Matt Engel formerly worked as a Senior Director at Arizona State University, and then as Marriage Pastor at Mission Community Church in Phoenix, AZ. Matt is currently the Executive Vice President of Operations and Data Intelligence at Relationship Enrichment Collaborative.
Email is an effective way your church can communicate with married couples. That’s why we created MP Monthly—a ready-made monthly email newsletter. It’s full of wise advice, dating tips, and conversation starters.
One option for sending out MP Monthly is to upload the pre-made template into MailChimp and send as is. But what if you want to customize the template specifically for couples in your church? We’re so glad you asked.
Upload the Images
One way to customize the MP Monthly Ezine is by recreating the template within MailChimp. This starts by uploading the image files.