Of all the responsibilities you hold in your position on the church staff, communicating with the congregation is one of the most important. Using storytelling to communicate with your church body helps the information reach members on a personal level. Thanks to the digital era, communicating with members through storytelling is now easier than ever. No more creating paper pamphlets that get dumped into the trash on the way out of service. Now, stories can be read and shared across a variety of platforms. This allows the story and information you want to convey to continually spread long after service has ended.
How to Make Storytelling Work for Your Church
According to Sprout Social, digital storytelling is a relationship building tool that can provide a transparent view into the workings of your church. You tell your story by relating to people on a personal level. Figure out their needs and wants, and use your platforms to engage them.
“Storytelling is something that we do naturally. More often than not, we don’t even realize that we’re doing it.” — Sprout Social
One of the best forms of communicating with church members is through digital platforms. Most of your congregation has immediate access to web-based content or smartphone apps. This makes spreading information quick and easy. By sharing information through a storytelling format, you can better engage and connect with your congregation.
5 Methods of Digital Storytelling
Digital storytelling has the potential to be powerful and engaging. Here are five different platforms you can use to share the story of what God is doing at your church.
1. Use Your Church Website to Tell Stories
If your website still has an event from two years ago, it may be time for a refresh. Your church website should be the number one place to tell the story of your church. Here, you can share your mission, goals, events, staff updates, and more. The church website should be home base for sharing the ministries your church offers. Use storytelling techniques to showcase the importance of each ministry. Draw your members in through a story of why these ministries are relevant to them. Highlight the volunteers who lead these ministries and showcase their work.
You can also use branding as a storytelling technique. Make sure that your website has imagery and graphics that reflect your church’s style and aesthetic. Ekklesia 360, a leader in the church website industry, offers a free guide that shares the features your website needs to tell an engaging story and attract visitors.
2. Add a Church App to Share Stories
A customized church app is a great way to connect with your congregation. It’s more private than social media or the website, which allows for a more tailored approach. It is also accessible anywhere and anytime with a smartphone. You can highlight important member information, which can help build community within the congregation. Allow members to create a profile where they can share their faith story for a personalized experience.
3. Tell Stories Where People are: on Social Media
Highlight staff members and share their roles within the church. Sharing about their background and family life helps members feel more connected. Showcase ways that members are serving within the church. Whether that be sharing a look into Sunday morning childcare, a missionary’s journey, etc. Use pictures and text to create a story that is meaningful and engaging. Since social media platforms are extremely public, sharing your church story through this medium is a great way to spread the Gospel and grow your congregation. Also, social media provides an advantage of reaching many demographics in all stages of life. In the post, How to Use Social Media for Your Church, Ekklesia 360 shares how to play on the strengths of each individual social platform to their maximum potential.
“Becoming a storytelling church doesn’t take a lot of strategic planning or extra committee meetings. What it does take is a commitment to making space for faith stories in your congregation’s life together, and then taking steps to share stories together.” — Christian Reformed Church
4. Use Email to Share Stories
According to Ekklesia 360, “Shared content is distributed twice as often in email than on other platforms.” This statistic shows that members are engaging in email. Use that engagement to your advantage when sharing important information or for outreach. If members can relate to a story shared within an email, they are likely to forward to family and friends.
5. Tell Stories Visually with Sunday Morning Graphics
Sunday morning, when members settle into their seats before your service, is a premium time to share information. Use custom graphics and videos to emphasize time-sensitive or important information. This medium is a great tool for connecting with members because they can associate a strong visual with the information they’ve been given.
Review your current means of information sharing and see if you can add any of the methods mentioned above. Entering into the digital arena can be intimidating. Using storytelling is a great way to dip your toes in the water and see what resonates. It not only allows you to relate to current members, but also reach potential members. For even more helpful resources, articles, and tools, be sure to check out the Church Relevance Course Shop.
Samantha Decker has worked as a content marketer and the church communications director for a local church. Samantha brings both experience and a passion to equip the church by providing resources to help them live out their mission for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus. She’s always up for some (good) coffee, travel, and intentional conversation. Samantha enjoys living in Oklahoma City with her husband, Dustin, and their two sons Eli and Caden.