071 - Plan Your Experience - Leaders.Church


071 – Plan Your Experience

What’s in this Episode?

Do you ever wonder what people outside the church think of you inside the church? I mean, they’re thinking about coming to church, but they don’t know what that experience is going to be. I’m telling you, in this episode, we’re going to talk about the very things you need to do to help people who don’t know about the church feel comfortable. We want them to enjoy the church and have an experience, whether it’s digital or in person, that they’ll never forget.

Read the Transcript

Dick Hardy 0:30
Hey, it’s great to be with you. On this episode of Church Tips. I’m with my buddy Ryan Wakefield, who’s the co founder of Church Marketing University, they co-founded it with a couple of guys named Jonathan and Dick Hardy. We had a lot of fun with that. Five years ago, it was birthed in Ryan’s heart and it became CMU in the spring of 2016. And then Dick and Jonathan went down the road, and Ryan just blew this thing up. Doing an amazing job. And the reason we’re doing this podcast today is he has a spring and a Fall Enrollment for Church Marketing University. Where there are a couple of Windows where you can get into CMU and actually begin to access all the content in there. So you’ll see the show notes, leaders.church/cmu, if you’ll go there, you’ll be able to just go in and kick the tires, read all the good stuff that’s available, and see what the Lord maybe can do through you and your church to reach your community in ways you’ve never done before. So Ryan, give us a jumpstart on this whole conversation. What are some things? You’re talking to churches, everywhere, frankly, all around the world. What are some newer things you’re doing that are helping churches, particularly during this COVID time. Yeah, well, I mean, you mentioned it like last spring, we were just finishing up our enrollment, we had a big plan together, and the world kind of flipped upside down. So inside CMU, we kind of adjusted really quick, and we spent man weeks upon weeks helping churches, get live streaming, get digital ministry and move over to digital giving and so that’s what I love about CMU, it’s not just a static, hey, here’s a couple videos, it’s a community. And it’s an ongoing support to help guide churches through whatever they’re facing. And so in that process, churches are trying out a whole lot of new strategies and ideas. And for those of us who like to innovate and try new things, it’s a cool time, it’s exciting time. And so we’re seeing a lot of those ideas rise to the top, like the ones that are really working well, and we’re finally kind of rounding that corner of like, man, this is actually proven out all over the world. And we’ve got over 1000 churches now.

Dick Hardy 2:34
That is amazing. Thousand churches at CMU!

Ryan Wakefield 2:36
All over the world. And one of the things that we’re testing out with a few churches is a new process. We used to call it “plan your visit” or “kids pre-registration” was another one, or, you know, there’s a lot of that were basically trying to help a guest come visit in person. The hard part of that is, there’s a lot of churches that aren’t having either in person services, or there’s a lot of our community that isn’t ready for that. I don’t, I’ve seen lots of different stats based on the county, but I think most of what I’ve seen is like people in your community, over 50% of them aren’t ready. And these are these are not just church people, these are just community wide. Aren’t ready to go to like an in person worship gathering. So if you think about that, and what we do all the time is help churches get more visitors, you think, okay, there’s a problem if the vast majority of your community isn’t ready to come visit in person. So what do we do? So one of the new strategies that we’re seeing is moving from kind of plan your visit, or kids pre registration to “plan your experience.” What this does is it allows you to have a call to action for your community that meets them where they’re at. So now whether it’s on your website, or social media, or wherever they’re hearing about the church, you can say, hey, we’d love for you to go online and plan, you know, use a link and plan your experience. And then that basically, it kind of steps them through a process. It’ll get their name, contact information, that’s huge. We talk about all the time at CMU is you don’t have relationship, or the ability for relationship until you have contact information. And then it’ll ask you, okay, do you want to have your experience be digital, or in person? And that’s what I love about this is there’s a lot of churches, I think, have made the mistake that hey, unless you’re ready to come visit in person, you’re dead to us. And we talked about that in a previous episode. But what’s cool about this is that it allows everybody to take a spiritual next step. And I think that’s really important is as a pastor and maybe that’s one of the tips here is like, think through, are you giving your people in your community to take a next step, regardless of whether you feel comfortable visiting in person or digital? So the plan your experience is something that’s really really cool. We’re starting to see it take off in a lot of our CMU churches. We had one church down in New Orleans. Recently here last week, they had five plan your experiences, three of them were digital and two of them were in person. So when we’re starting to kind of flesh that out, they’re starting to run Facebook ads to it. So now the pastor is on a Facebook ad saying, hey, you know, I’d love to meet you. But we have this whole new approach. Now you can come experience, what God has designed for you whether you’re ready to come in person or digital. So there’s a lot of creative ways pastors are getting the word out, and then walking people through that, connecting with them, and then getting them where they need to be based on their response.

Dick Hardy 5:24
Okay, a couple of things with that. When was the genesis of this plan your experience?

Ryan Wakefield 5:30
So really, at the very beginning of this whole season, where it’s like, man, we’ve got to take our old way of doing things and adjust it to make it.

Dick Hardy 5:39
Had the spring launch happened?

Ryan Wakefield 5:41

Dick Hardy 5:42
Okay. Now this, I want to make a point, if you’re watching this. The spring launch had happened. This was not part of what the spring launch was. But when something happened, like COVID, CMU responded in a way that helped those churches move forward. And let me tell you something, this is open up through October 15, you can go to leaders dot church slash CMU, and you can get in CMU, up through October 15, something’s going to happen in November, besides the election, something’s going to happen in December, something’s going to happen. And you want a team member like Ryan Wakefield walking with you, helping you develop and process resources that are going to help move you forward. Because that’s the reality.

Ryan Wakefield 6:27
One of the things that we do too similar to leaders.church, there is a active community, we do a Facebook group for our churches. And the when COVID hit I think the first two weeks, we did like something like 28 hours of live coaching. I mean, it was nuts. We were putting all sorts of guides, Google Docs together, live streaming guides, live streaming kits, we went out, shot a whole bunch of photography of families on devices. We did social media, graphics and countdowns. Like we tried to say, hey, we want this to feel like you have a marketing team. Like you really do. We are your marketing team. And so, man, we were doing anything we could to help churches make that turn from man, the world’s flipped upside down. How do we do all things digital now? And so yeah, that’s what we try to do.

Dick Hardy 7:12
And let me let me tell you, I know the heart of this guy. I’ve known him for almost 20 years, or maybe close to 20 years. And his desire is to see your church grow. He knows, like I know that you were called to the Lord at some point in the past, not to sit on your haunches and just babysit a church, you were called to reach more people for Jesus, you were called to communicate the good that happens inside your church to those outside the church. And that’s exactly what CMU does. I mean, this whole thing of the plan your experience. And by the way, I want to put a note here even on that, you know, we make mention that, you know, there’s a 50% plus or minus, people just aren’t ready to come back in together. You probably have an opinion about that. He has an opinion. I have an opinion. Well, let me tell you something, your opinion of whether you think they should want to come back or shouldn’t want to come back is not going to change the fact that there’s a boatload of people in your community that are either fearful and I get it the political side of okay, that shouldn’t happen or that should happen. Listen, your job as the leader is to help bring people along and know where they’re at. Know where they’re at, and then, in this case right here, talk about how to plan your experience. I am so excited about what I think that is going to be able to do for the pastors and church leaders who jump into this Fall Enrollment again you want to do that by October 15. Just go to leaders.church/CMU. Jump in, kick the tires, look everything over. Now you’ve got, tell me some of the mechanics of CMU. You’ve got a 30 day money back guarantee. Flesh that out just a little bit.

Ryan Wakefield 8:51
Basically, our heart is to help churches. Like, we want to help you get more visitors every single week. We think for the vast majority of pastors that jump in you will like oh my word I love this. Where’s this? Like? Why didn’t I know about this like five years ago?

Dick Hardy 9:04
I mean, I’m telling you I’ve heard pastors say that kind of thing. Oh my goodness, because it is chock full of content that’s going to help you grow your church.

Ryan Wakefield 9:13
Yeah, but at the end of the day, if you’re like man, it’s not a good fit or no I wasn’t expecting now this you know, whatever. There’s no pressure, like our goal is not to like get money out of you. Our goal is to go on a journey with you and we think you’re gonna love it. So if you get in and you don’t love it, we will give you your money back there in the first month no questions asked whatsoever. Honestly, we don’t have a whole lot of people ask for it. But when they do, its like hey, okay, no problem whatever. Most of them were like hey, it wasn’t a good time. Well, you know, I’m actually resigning now. Something crazy happened. So, no, it’d be like, hey, I’ll jump in the next enrollment.

Dick Hardy 9:46
And I want to tell you, the investment that you make, the return on your investment, if you’ll calculate your giving per capita, you’ll determine that in a year’s period of time, you’re going to have to generate somewhere between a half of a person or a full person new to your church and you’ve paid for it. I’m just telling you this is one of the best investments you can make and so when you’re talking to a church board if you need to get permission that way, that’s exactly what you want to talk about, the return on investment.

Ryan Wakefield 10:18
Can I tell them something new that we started doing too?

Dick Hardy 10:20
Talk to us.

Dick Hardy 10:20
I don’t know if you even know that we were doing this now but we’re creating kits that go along with our courses. So we like to say that like the course is practice, kits is like gametime. And in fact, if you if you just go through our kits, you learn all the principles that we talked about in the course. So it’s kind of like the shortcut. But we have kits for like Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, January sermon series, and what these kits are is everything that you need to pull off that event. So all your invite videos, bumper videos, your social media graphics, your emails, your follow up plan, your text messages.

Dick Hardy 10:22
Man, I jumped in there just for that.

Ryan Wakefield 10:34
It’s like 75 different things, all your social media posts and collaterals and examples. It’s like when churches see it, like, they’ll hear me say kit, like, okay, that sounds cool. But when you actually see everything that you get, and they’re talking about return on investment, they’re like, man, one of these kits is worth this, let alone all the other stuff that goes along with it. So we’re constantly thinking, how do we make a pastor’s job easier, and make them more effective? Make them look a whole lot better and see more lives changed in their church transformed. So that’s what we’re trying to do.

Dick Hardy 11:28
You know, another thing Ryan and I created a few years ago was called a series called cultivating generosity. And it’s a four part video series, where we went through and we articulated 37 different points of things you can do and should do to move your church forward in generosity. Now, there were seven of them that were some overlap, but they were call it 30 items that you could do and I’m telling you, you go in there and do one 10th of those things we talked about and you’re going to increase giving way beyond what this investment is so I strongly encourage you to go to leaders.church/CMU go in there kick the tires, look things over, you’re available.

Ryan Wakefield 11:40
Can I share something else?

Dick Hardy 12:06
Yeah, tell me. Well, yeah, I mean, what am I gonna do say no?

Ryan Wakefield 12:07
Your generosity series again, one of my favorite series that is in CMU, in during this COVID time, we actually launched a new series on generosity called Generosity U. Oh, it was designed specifically to help churches make the leap to digital and recurring giving during this time, we had our friend Nathan Teegarden write emails, weekly emails, weekly social media posts, we did coaching, we did emails that you can send out to move people from digital giving to recurring giving. It was a whole life of its own all during this time, because we knew pastors like yeah, we all want to market, but if you don’t have money, you can’t do it. There was a need there and we were like, man, we were feeling it for CMU churches. So we created this whole new thing called Generosity U specifically for this season. So we’re always doing that sort of stuff.

Dick Hardy 12:12
That’s cool. I’m telling you, I’ve been around the block long enough, you see the gray here here to know there are resources out there. And then there are RESOURCES out there. And I’m just telling you, this guy and his team will jump in the saddle and be your marketing team for you. And you’re going to see the Lord do amazing things as you move forward. Any parting shots?

Ryan Wakefield 13:13
If I can help you guys, we’d love to have you part of the CMU family if you’re a part of leaders.church, and if you’re not you need to be I don’t know what you’re doing. Go jump into that first, because the first thing you need to do is get the leaders going. You need to get a leadership development, you need to get your team growing. When you got the leadership going, then the marketing element becomes so much more effective because you got the team in place. So step one, go jump into leaders.church, if you’re already dialed in there, man and you’re ready to say okay, we’re dialed in there. How do we get more visitors? I think you’ll absolutely love CMU. So if I can serve you guys love to do that.

Dick Hardy 13:48
There we go. Go to leaders.church/CMU, and you’re going to be glad you did. Thanks so much for hanging out with us today. Make it a great one, and be blessed.

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