Great leaders ask great questions.
So what questions are you currently asking?
If you’re like some pastors, you’re finding it hard to muster the energy to ask the right questions because:
- You’re exhausted
- You’re discouraged
- You’re disoriented
Or maybe you’re feeling quite alright, but you’ve just been trying to maintain your weekly routine and you’re finding it hard to think ahead strategically.
After all, over the last 18 months, it has become really easy for leaders to become even more short-term centric.
But, again, great leaders ask great questions. So allow me to throw some questions your way and maybe these will spark more in you and your team.
Because when you ask great questions and fight for answers, you’ll notice a transformation in you and your team.
- A lack of energy transforms into passion
- A lack of creativity transforms into collective imagination
- A lack of direction transforms into a spark of vision
- A lack of strategy transforms into realized steps
So let’s dive into the 5 questions every pastor should be asking right now.
5 Questions Every Pastor Should Be Asking Right Now
1. Who is with us right now and how can we disciple them?
With church attendance (for most churches) being only a fraction of what it was pre-Covid, it’s been easy to ask the question, where is everyone?
And while that’s not a bad question to ask, it can be easy to become so discouraged that we missthe people who are with us right now.
We’re going to get to reaching people, but right now, let’s start with who is here now. Who is here and how can we disciple them?
Are you spending so much time frantically trying to get back the people who haven’t returned that you’ve neglected those who are ready to run with you?
It can be hard to bring the same level of energy to your preaching and leadership when the room is half-full but remember, as the leader, you set the tone.
God hasn’t stopped working. Your ministry isn’t on hold until your attendance numbers return to pre-Covid numbers. God is ready to move your church forward and the people who are with you right now, many of them, are ready to move forward too.
So how are you discipling those who are with you right now?
2. How can we leverage digital platforms to reach people in our community?
Odds are, you implemented a Sunday morning live stream to your digital strategy over the course of the pandemic. And that’s a great start.
But your digital strategy must go beyond live streaming. It must move toward a focused content marketing strategy.
Okay, pause. I know what you’re thinking. What is content marketing?
I’ll give you a simple definition: Content marketing consists of creating valuable content to reach your target audience, build connection and trust with them, and call them to action.
I’m convinced that us pastors should be learning everything we can about content marketing and look for ways to leverage it for ministry.
This breaks down to five basic elements:
- The content (written words, audio, or video)
- The distribution channel(s) (social media platform, blog, YouTube, or a combination)
- The lead magnet (PDF guide, checklist, video series, email course, etc)
- The connection vehicle (email list, text list)
- The ultimate call to action (attend your church, attend a special event, etc)
Here’s what this could look like:
You take a clip from a recent sermon where the subject of the clip is prayer. It’s a valuable piece of content on its own and you decide to post it to your church’s Facebook page.
As that is being distributed to your people through Facebook, you go to the third element and that is the lead magnet. Because your goal isn’t just to create some content, but to add even more valuable to people by offering a free resource in exchange for a connection.
So you sit down and type out 5 short devotionals on the topic of prayer that includes some prompts that would help someone grow in their prayer life over the course of 5 days. At the end of the 5 days, you’ll add a couple extra messages. Day 6, ask them if there is any way you can pray for them. And actually pray for them and interact with them when they reply. And then on day 7 or day 8, invite them to attend a worship service.
Next, take this content and plug it into an automated welcome sequence in your email or texting software and attach a landing page or form to go along with the automation sequence so that people can opt into the free 5 Days to a Better Prayer Life Devotional.
Lastly, go back to your Facebook post and boost it to the people in your community. Spend $20 and make the goal of the campaign be to get clicks to your link (which would take them to your landing page/opt in form that is connected with your email or texting software).
Obviously this is just one example and you may have quite a bit to learn in order to implement this, but spending time learning content marketing and leveraging it for ministry is going to be an immensely valuable thing for as we move forward.
3. How can we contribute to building in-person community in our… community?
The bread and butter of the church is getting people together. And people all over the world right now are desperate for opportunities to get out and about with other people.
So what kind of gatherings can you create to foster community within your community?
Maybe that could be:
- A music and comedy concert
- A family game day
- A corn hole tournament
- A big cookout/blockparty
- A date night for married people with a special guest teaching
- A car show
- A food truck night
You get the idea. How can you contribute to building in-person community in your community?
4. What are the most pressing questions people are asking about life in our community?
Usually there are differences between thought processes and concerns people have based on the location in which they live.
This isn’t to say that all communities are homogeneous but that, in general, most regions have their concerns that other regions don’t.
So that means the popular thought leaders who are dissecting American culture or Western culture as a whole likely won’t be able to get precise enough to answer this question for you.
It’s going to require that you listen and observe.
Whether people are asking questions on how to make more money, or how to manage the money they have an abundance of, or how to build quality friendships, or how to raise their kids well, or how to have a better marriage, or how to be single and do so faithfully, you have an opportunity to speak into the questions people are asking.
So once you have an idea of what is on people’s minds, we can move to question number 5.
5. How can we help people wrestle with those questions in helpful, gospel-centered ways?
So let’s say that you’ve recognized that one of the biggest questions people in your community are asking in your community is how to have a better marriage.
What could you do to help them work through answering that question?
Maybe you offer some marriage enrichment date night events that are open to anyone in the community.
Maybe you preach a sermon series on the topic and then take clips from the sermons to use as social media ads that lead to a free video series that they can opt into (just like we talked about on question number two). Then you follow it up with some emails or texts asking them how you can pray for them. You could even budget money toward offering them free counseling at a local counselor’s office.
Whatever it is, the key is to seek to be helpful and point them to Jesus.
Leadership Comes With a Microphone
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