Welcome back! I spent last week at the New Room Conference put on by my good friends at Seedbed. As always, I had a great time interviewing folks for the Threshing Floor and learning TONS. In this episode, I want to show you how to have a great conference experience.
Earlier this month I build an AMAZING whiteboard at the house. If you follow me on instagram, you’ve probably already seen it! I did it using a melamine shower board from Home Depot. I also bought a few different marker packs from amazon. I finished it up by mounting it with screws on the wall and gave it a quick coating of Turtle Brand car wax. Super easy project and it provided TONS of killer benefits.
Thanks to MPWinky for the fantastic iTunes Review and Rating. If you haven’t left one yet, you can do so right here. It helps out the podcast get to more and more folks.
How To Have A Great Conference Experience
A couple of years back, I wrote a few blog posts on enjoying and learning from conferences. They continually get traffic and folks always love them…so I wanted to combine the content for this episode of Productive Pastor.
Map Our Your Schedule
Do you know what you are going to do during the conference yet? Make sure to look at the calendar and schedule. Knowing how you want to spend your time beforehand is helpful. For bigger conferences, this can be a game-changer.
Find a Note-Taking Setup
I used Evernote heavily for the first time during a conference. I attended Exponential in 2010 (one of those HUGE conferences) and went to around 24 sessions in 3 days. I couldn’t have held all of the information in without Evernote. Between folders, geo-tagging and importing pictures…Evernote is an absolute essential for conferences.
Take Advantage of Relational moments
Between sessions, I typically like to socialize. Sometimes…I even end up skipping sessions in order to mingle a little more. Conferences are a great time to meet other ministry leaders or meet other folks who have influenced you. People tend to be pretty open at conferences…so you never know who you can rub shoulders with. I once made fun of myself to Alan Hirsch and Will Mancini when they were behind me in a food truck line. I was absolutely mortified.
Define Your Takeaways
It’s always tempting to come back from a conference and change everything. Want to know a secret? Our teams HATE this. Instead think of a few things you can internally set as goals and one thing you can share with a team member.
When You Get Home
A few days after I get home I like to do a few things. I go through my notes, take snapshots of handwritten items and drawings, insert them into Evernote and generally clean my notes up. I also shoot a quick note to the folks I interacted with at the conference (I need to start taking notes of who folks are…I’m worried I’ll leave out folks after last week).
Episode 60 was about building a sermon engagement strategy. As a follow up-I wrote about the two main embedding strategies for audio content on WordPress sites.
Last week, I published episode 60 of The Productive Pastor. It was all about building a sermon engagement strategy and taking your sermon past Sunday and into the next week (and time beyond). All of the content was directed at leveraging the time and power of your sermon for better engagement across your community.
One of the key pieces was the sermon preview. This is an anchor point blog post, with information about the upcoming sermon and resources to engage (links to scripture, discussion guides, etc). As part of the blog post, I shared two resources about sharing your sermon audio. I have had several questions about these two resources, so I wanted to show them side-by-side.
Series Engine is an embedded audio player designed specifically for sharing sermon audio/video in a wordpress site. It offers organization for each series, the ability to upload image files. It also will help you link your sermon audio to iTunes via RSS. I have never used Series Engine for podcasting, but it is possible.
This means you host your audio through your self-hosted wordpress website, not an outside service.
I currently do not use series engine, but it is a fantastic way to publish sermon audio. If you want to do a podcast, you can. I wouldn’t recommend it, but it is totally possible. This is what the Series Engine player looks like embedded (note. I haven’t used it in several years, so this content is dated).
There are a few things that make for awkward conversations. In church, one of them is talking about money. This week we are focusing on the basic "why" of giving.
From Series: "Abundance"
Why does scripture talk about giving more than many other parts of the spiritual life? This month we are looking at abundance coming as something God gives to us, gives us the freedom and privilege of having and the ability to respond abundantly to his love.
Smart Podcast Player
I currently use the Smart Podcast Player for both Productive Pastor and for our church’s sermon previews. You can check those out here if you want. What I love about it is how it offers a single track option AND archived episodes in a larger player. It doesn’t offer categorization (for sermon series), but it wasn’t designed for that use case. It requires you to offer hosting at a different host (I recommend libsyn.com) and does NOT generate an RSS feed for you.
For the sake of this post, we will pretend the Productive Pastor is a sermon podcast.
The Smart Track Player
Smart Podcast Player
Both Series Engine and the Smart Podcast Player are designed for self-hosted wordpress sites and use shortcode technology. This makes using and integrating them super easy.
Engagement is the magic word. Remember, this is about making the sermon stretch past Sunday. Engagement helps folks interact, share, invite and participate. Engaged folks will serve, give, grow and be part of the mission. Sermon engagement will help you and your ministry work on discipleship every day of the week.
So let’s look at the 5 building blocks to help you with your sermon engagement strategy
The Sermon Preview
The sermon preview is a strategic blogpost designed to introduce people to your sermon. It isn’t some wild concept, or quick version of the sermon. It’s about marketing and it will serve as the anchor point for your whole content strategy for sermon engagement.
We’ve all seen scripture and quote images on social media. Most folks are making them via a text app on their phone. I currently love typorama for making images. Canva.com is also great. I wrote this blog post a few years ago. It still has good information as far as theory and making a good image. Making Great Worship Graphics on the Cheap
If you aren’t podcasting your sermon, you need to start. Folks are engaging with podcasts all throughout the week. I’m working on more information further down the line on ministry podcasting, so keep your eyes open.
Sermon Engagement Calendar
Curious what this looks like as part of a social media schedule? Here is the sermon engagement calendar I made up. sermon-engagement-calendar. It has suggestions and best practices on it.
Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider. This week I’ll be sending out some more additional information about doing a future focused audit and building your calendar.
Remember to Review and Rate in iTunes. You can do it right here.
Chad Brooks is a United Methodist Pastor serving in Louisiana. Married to Meredith, he is currently starting a new church in northeast Louisiana. Host of the Productive Pastor Podcast and lover of motorcycles, Chad would love to find Bigfoot one day.