How churches can benefit from Canva, Facebook groups, TheChurchCo.com, Calendly, Bonjoro, and Slack
It can be overwhelming to face the vast array of digital tools and resources available to support your ministry. Here are a few of my favourites that I use and recommend regularly to churches across Canada.
This online platform aims to make design easy and doable for everyone – not just trained graphic designers. With templates for everything from social media posts to newsletters and business cards, this drag and drop system is a must-have tool for every ministry in 2022. If you checked it out years ago and found it wanting, give it another chance. They’ve had a huge round of funding and vastly improved the service from its earlier versions. Plus, if you apply as a charity, Canva is free to use, making this tool a no-brainer.
• Facebook groups
Our most valuable resource is people, so leveraging the brains and expertise of people in Facebook groups can be a tremendous resource to you as a leader. Ask a question, network with other like-minded leaders, and share your knowledge with others. If you’re new in your work or feeling out of your depth, these groups can provide encouragement and free education, plus, in my experience, friends you talk to every week that make leadership less lonely. Some top groups I would recommend include Church Communications, Canadian Church Leaders Network and the group I moderate, Digital Church.
• The Church Co
If you need a website or a refresh to bring your website into 2022, consider my friends at www.TheChurchCo.com. Their mission is to bring high-quality websites to ministries at a surprisingly affordable price. These are sites designed with church needs in mind like financial giving, event signups, live chat and more. But the best part is they actually build the website for you for free. Typically this would be a cost separate from the monthly hosting fees, but this team loves the Church and wants to bring your content to life so you can reach more people.
This tool helps people schedule a time to meet with you, or a group to organize a time to meet together, without 25 emails back and forth. It connects with all your private calendars. You set the boundaries of where and when you are available to different groups. It allows whole teams or ministries to schedule gatherings seamlessly. It has some free options and special pricing for nonprofits.
This is a video short-messaging service that makes interactions feel more personal and fun to receive. Beyond emails and phone calls, Bonjoro makes short video easy to send and a delight to receive for people in your community. This is perfect for welcoming newcomers, encouraging a volunteer and praying for a person in need. Make an authentic impression with people when you can’t communicate in person, and this tool integrates into all the most common email apps.
If you find email as draining as most, I recommend Slack for your team. It allows for messaging and file sharing between teams without a long thread of reply-alls, which gives more timely and personable interactions with staff, increases rapport so you can encourage and cheer one another on with emojis or public recognition, and keeps your inbox clear for emails from congregants or wider community relationships. I recommend a trial of ten weeks for your team to see how it can change how you interact, and researching some best practices to keep it a place that helps your team communicate effectively.
… this team loves the Church and wants to bring your content to life so you can reach more people.
There are dozens more tools I could recommend and use regularly in work with churches and Christian charities across the country. I’d love to know if you try any of the above or which ones I’ve missed from your list of favourite tools!
Joanna la Fleur is a podcaster, TV host and communications consultant in Toronto. Find more of these columns at www.FaithToday.ca/ThrivingInDigital.