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Being an early adopter of any new social app can be a little intimidating, especially a video-based app like Periscope, but don’t let the experts fool you. Periscope is too new for hard rules.

So is your church.

Instead of trying to figure it out all at once, jump in and learn as you go. After all, you’re a church planter. Trial and error should probably be a part of your launch philosophy anyway. You can’t break the internet.

PERI-WHAT?

The Periscope app connects with your twitter account allowing you to live stream video from anywhere, with anyone, at any time using that handy camera on your phone. As you stream folks can share it with others, comment, ask questions, and “heart” your content. Your broadcast is archived online for 24 hours so anyone can watch if they missed.

TIPS FOR ENGAGEMENT

Consider these thoughts as you experiment and craft a Periscope strategy that best engages your core and community.

  1. Introduce yourself to your community. Share your story (and church’s story) often. This is one of the best ways to convince folks you have a genuine desire to serve them – not just a desire to sell to them.
  2. Solicit feedback. What are the biggest needs of your community? What is their past experience with church? This a great way way to learn about relating to people instead of just reading a new leadership book.
  3. Capture life within your church. Show baptisms, behind the scenes at events, staff meetings, youth trips, small group gatherings, etc.
  4. Host interviews. Give followers the opportunity to hold a dialogue with you and others that might include staff, stories of life change within your church, and local ministry (non-profit) leaders.
  5. Share sneak peeks. Break news, tease an upcoming sermon or series before the weekend, show off a new church shirt before they’re available, preview a VBS (or kid’s week) song with all of the movements, and give a glimpse of new meeting, kids, or office space.
  6. Open for Q&A. Warning, this is transparency at its most extreme, but showing your face and answering un-scripted questions in a live setting can be a good thing. Don’t feel like you have to answer all of them because I promise you’ll get some that are intentionally off the wall. “Did Adam have a belly button?”
  7. Hold a weekly prayer time. Spend 15-30 minutes taking prayer requests and lifting them up in prayer.
  8. Deliver devotions. Give bonus material from your sermon each week. What is God teaching you as you prepare to preach? During the summer, a CliffsNotes version of your sermon could be great for folks who miss while on vacation (and a quick glimpse to your community).
  9. Celebrate and appreciate volunteers. Broadcast set-up and tear-down. Give tours of your meeting space before a weekend service.
  10. Teleport to the ‘ends of the earth.’ Introduce people to the global mission of God. Broadcast updates from mission trips/vision trips or highlight missionaries you will be serving. “It may sound crazy, but we wanted to build the closest thing to teleportation.” – Periscope CEO
  11. Appeal to your donors. What can you frequently share that will thank and encourage your faithful sponsor churches and donors to continue to support the vision?
  12. Hang out with other area pastors. Show your core and community the unity that exists within your local pastoral network. How can everyone be praying for those churches?
  13. Shepherd planters/pastors. Save other pastors worldwide from the same mistakes you’ve made. Offer advice, what’s working, etc.
  14. Bring attention to your city and state. Keller says the more churches the better, right? Catalyze planters in your state.
  15. Encourage your staff or volunteers to Periscope. The members of a company’s executive team can be its most powerful brand influencers. Likewise, your staff and volunteers can leverage their reach and make your church seem more accessible while bringing the message to places you can’t.
  16. Be a Periscope advocate. Periscope leverages your current twitter following, but a majority of those followers don’t have Periscope installed. Encourage them to download Periscope not only to grow your viewers but also be salt and light on this new medium. “There will be tons of distracting and even evil stuff on Periscope, so let’s saturate it with the gospel!” – Will Mancini

BROADCAST LIKE A PRO

I’ve been preaching the power of webcam videos for engagement to pastors for a long time. There’s something more intriguing to online followers when the video is not polished and overproduced.

That said, there are always things to keep in mind as you are intentionally spontaneous on Periscope.

  • Start with a catchy title. Users only see the title and your name. Keep it straightforward, but give them a reason to watch. Consider using hashtags in your title so it’s searchable from twitter.
  • Be compelling. We’re past the days of showing pictures of your dinner. “From the viewer’s perspective, the appeal is taking you behind the scenes—someplace you couldn’t have gone before—in real time.” – Guy Kawasaki
  • Don’t over share. Just because you can share it doesn’t mean that you should. Be picky about what you share. Don’t give someone a reason to unfollow you because you’re being annoying and broadcasting all throughout the day.
  • Switch it up. Folks watching like to see your face, but avoid just being a talking head. Keep it interesting between selfie, others, and your surroundings.
  • Remind to swipe right and share. Your audience can share the broadcast with their followers if they swipe right.

FOLKS TO FOLLOW

You can bet Periscope will evolve and change as it grows in popularity – 10 years of content is watched each day. Continuing your education and knowledge is key to staying relevant with your church’s strategy. Here are several accounts to follow who are actively learning, too.

Are you leveraging Periscope? Is your church? If so, which Periscope sessions received the most hearts? Who do you follow? Share your thoughts below.

Download Periscope: https://periscope.tv


Cleve Persinger is the director of strategic partnerships at The Summit Church, a freelance communications/marketing consultant, and founder of Creative Missions—mission trips for media professionals.