Church 1.0 was location-based. Church 2.0 was customer-centric. Church 3.0 was cause-based. Church 4.0 is moving from traditional to digital. It is the merging of the physical and digital.

Church 4.0 is not about a church building or a program. In Church 4.0, where amateur-curated video content is viewable on handheld devices, church leaders are trying to understand what it means to run four different churches. As a church leader, you have to be clear about how you want to run the following four churches:

  • Single Campus – Onsite Church
  • Multi-campus – Onsite Church
  • YouTube Event – Social Network Church
  • Facebook or Google Church – Online Church

Church buildings stood empty in 2020. The COVID pandemic forced church leaders to be relevant, and think about how to attract online. The focus shifted from whether churches should utilize social media marketing, to developing social media strategies. Amid an abundance of opportunities, it has to come down to picking social channels that work best for you.

Social media covers blogs, images and video sharing, podcasting, and social media networks. Generation X, Y, and Z are using TikTok and Instagram. Boomers use Facebook. What social media platform is best for your church?

The words of Peter Drucker serve as a reminder as we try to create our strategic roadmap. He wrote:

“Anything too clever, whether in design or execution, is almost bound to fail. Don’t diversify, don’t splinter, don’t try to do too many things at once. Don’t try and innovate for the future. Innovate for the present.”

I share a word of caution for leaders: Your church should not be using too many social networks. It’s a mistake to do very little on social media. It’s an even bigger mistake to try to do too much on social media. Even if you are open to a social media mindset, the limitation in the skillset available to you should prompt you to have a realistic digital playbook.

By 2020, Elevation Church had sixteen full-time staff members managing social media and a full-time YouTube strategist. Your church may not have a skillset like Elevation Church, to manage your digital marketing strategy. It is a flawed strategy to copy Elevation Church if your team’s bandwidth is not close to theirs.

Between the four church models (single campus, multi-campus, social network church, and online church), Philip Kotler provides us with a timely reminder:

“Strategy is indeed about choosing what not to do as well as what to do. A business unit needs to decide what need it aims to satisfy in what group of people and with what value proposition that distinguishes the business from its competitors.”

Church leaders need to decide what platform offers the best optimization. Your process needs to work for you. Social ministry is an investment of time. The caveat is that you should avoid your social media presence becoming a personal time sink for you. The size of your church makes a difference to your digital playlist. One size does not fit all.

(Excerpts from my book, The New Normal of Leadership: Innovation & Technology in Church 4.0, Source: )

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