NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Church outreach just got technologically interactive.
Sticking an informational church brochure into the screen door of a potential member may become a thing of the past. Savvy congregations are making door-to-door visits with customized, interactive CDs describing their churches, said Jacqueline Swartz of LifeWay Christian Stores’ direct marketing department.
LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention is working with an award-winning multimedia company, ReachingFAITH, to produce interactive CD-ROMs customized with information about individual churches. The innovative product was featured on the March 2003 cover of Christian Computing magazine.
The CD-ROM helped Hyde Park Baptist Church in Lumberton, N.C., solve an “identity problem,” said Mike Pittman, minister of music and outreach.
“I’m always looking at innovative ways to make our church known to the town,” he said. “Everybody knew where we were located, but they didn’t know our name. The CD-ROM is a tool that’s relatively inexpensive, and it’s something we can give out to the community. It’s a kind of interactive business card.”
For about the price of a slick brochure, churches can produce a CD-ROM that “allows them to create a personal relationship with a prospect before they enter the church building,” Swartz said. “Through the CD-ROM, a church has the opportunity to introduce themselves to prospective members, present its perspective on faith and invite the viewer to be a part of the church community.”
LifeWay, working with ReachingFAITH to produce the CDs, offers churches a vehicle to present their faith, their staff, their members and their programs, Swartz said. Churches also can purchase CDs that present new membership initiatives, Bible studies and sermon series. Universities, colleges and seminaries can use them for student recruitment.
“Our goal for this product,” Swartz said, “is to help churches or schools reach out to individuals they may not have been able to reach before or perhaps have not been able to reach in any other way.”
The customized CD-ROMs come standard with two videos, including testimonies from members about what their church means to them. It also includes images, text and music. Churches can use one of three templates or request a custom design. The CD-ROM, which can be mailed to prospective members in the community, will include links to the church’s website.
“To be most effective in outreach,” said J. Stocco, CEO of ReachingFAITH, “the church should meet people where they are and communicate in a way that will best reach them, and that has changed considerably over the past couple of decades. Television and movies capture an audience’s attention in ways print does not.”
The CD-ROMs offer music, interactive pages and easy to use video. Users simply insert the disc into the CD drive and it plays.
Describing the product as customer-friendly, Pittman noted, “Our CD allows people to go right where they want to go on the disc and find the information they need. This is a great way to get the church’s name out in an innovative way.”
The standard customized CD-ROM cost, including 1,000 discs, is $4,850, Swartz said. “The multimedia company can give life to existing church photos by adding motion effects, music and voice-overs. They can also edit existing video footage to include text, music, animation and digital effects.”
“This CD-ROM has been very easy for us,” Pittman said. “The team at ReachingFAITH and LifeWay helps you and gives you suggestions. When they got involved, within four weeks, we were done.”
More information is available at www.lifewaystores.com/reachingfaithand click on more information.