Newsletter April 2020

Hi there!  I hope everyone is staying healthy.  If you’re like me, I can’t remember another time in my life as weird as what we’re experiencing right now.  It’s been about three weeks since the COVID-19 shutdown began in Kansas and we wanted to give you an update on what we’ve been working on.

Our New Project during the “shutdown”

Since we’ve been unable to launch Church In A Brewery as of yet, we decided to begin working on a short video series to help people understand the Bible’s overall story or “big picture.”  Through some conversations with people who don’t go to church, we discovered that some of them find the Bible confusing.  In particular, several people mentioned that they found the Old Testament confusing and did not understand how it fit into the big picture.  Our first video series is designed to walk them through the big picture of the Bible in short, bite-sized chunks so they can make sense out of it when they read it on their own.

This project is actually something we were planning on developing later this year, but due to the COVID-19 we realized now is the perfect time to create the video series.  Ultimately we want to create an online library of videos designed for people who are new to the Bible.  It would be a lot easier to use videos that someone else had already made, but we had a hard time finding videos that our audience would understand.  Many of them contained common Christian terms that they don’t understand, so we decided to make our own original videos for our online library.  This library will serve two purposes:

1.  People who attend Church In A Brewery would be able to continue learning at home, supplementing our weekly in-person gathering.

2.  Marketing:  We will be able to use these videos to actually locate people who are spiritually searching.  Ultimately, we’ll be able to e-mail them an invite to Church In A Brewery.

We wanted to give you a sneak peek at the series, so here’s our first episode!  As you’ll see, it’s very short because it’s designed to help people learn in small, bite-sized chunks.  It’s also great for busy people, and these days it seems like that’s just about everyone!

Dana is our video pro and she is just killing it with the animation!  She also made the coffee intro.  I can’t wait to show you the next episode, because she continues to learn and develop new video skills!  Once we complete 5 episodes, we plan to start marketing the series here in Wichita.

We’re very grateful for your support during this time and for making this project possible.  You’re helping us explore and develop new ways of reaching people.  If we’re successful, we can share these new methods with other churches in the future.  If you would like to dive into our strategy and see specifically how the video series will impact our mission, keep on reading!

How the video series directly helps our mission:

You’re probably wondering how a video series will help us “find” people in our area who want to learn about the Bible.  Well, with Facebook and online marketing, we’re actually able to do just that.  The marketing technology available nowadays is pretty amazing.  Over the past year, I’ve spent a lot of my free time learning e-mail and Facebook marketing through several online courses.  I’ve also been able to gain some valuable experience that I can now bring to Brewery Ministries.  I learned how to run Facebook ads to build an e-mail list of people who are interested in receiving our video series via weekly e-mails.  This is an example of how Brewery Ministries can use this method to reach people who might want to explore the Bible for the first time:

  1. We’ll run a Facebook Ad that taps into a spiritual question they’ve been thinking about.  For example, a headline for our first course might say “Have you ever wanted to explore the Bible but found it too confusing?  This short video series can help you make sense of it.”  Alternative headlines could be built around a question such as “Who is Jesus?”
  2. When people click on an ad, they are invited to sign up via e-mail in order to access the video series.  Once they sign up, they’ll receive the video series via e-mail, one video at a time.
  3. As our online video library grows, these same users will have the option of taking more courses. For example, we can actually send users an e-mail that lets them choose which course they want to take.  Once they click a button, the course is automatically sent to them one video at a time.  We’re hoping to develop more courses in the future, such as “Tough Chapters of the Bible,” which would walk them through some common stories that are hard for readers to understand, or “Is There Evidence For The Bible?” which would give users historical evidence to help them trust the Bible.  Users will also be able to discuss their questions with us online.
  4. Finally, we’ll end up with a large e-mail list of people who want to learn about the Bible for the first time.  We’ll be able to invite all of them to Church In A Brewery meetings.  Imagine if someone gave you a list of people in your area who literally wanted you to go talk to them about the Bible.  That’s basically what our e-mail list is.  The list will also come in handy when we launch additional Church In A Brewery locations.  For example, we’ll be able to see which side of town our subscribers live on.  If we find that we have many subscribers on the East Side, then we can look to launch a second Church In A Brewery location in their area.  Then all we’ll have to do is send them a few invites via e-mail.

Think about the type of person who might click on an ad like the example ads mentioned above.  They would most likely be someone who is spiritually searching or brand new to the Bible, and that’s exactly who we’re looking for.  That’s what makes the video series project so exciting; it can actually help us find people who want to explore their spiritual questions but just don’t know where to begin.

Embracing Virtual Church:

The COVID-19 situation is forcing us to change how we do “church.”  Asbury Church (where I serve part-time as the music leader) believes virtual church is here to stay.  Their viewership has exploded during the shutdown and they suddenly find that they have become two churches in one; a virtual church and a physical church.  We believe Brewery Ministries can learn from this as well; virtual church should be at least a piece of our outreach plan.

I have my own theories on what could happen after the stay-home order is lifted.  Maybe some families with young children find it more convenient to watch church online over breakfast as a family.  Only time will tell.  Here’s why I’m interested in exploring online church strategies:  The younger generations are growing up completely outside of the church; it’s not part of their childhood experience anymore.  They may not go to a church to explore their spiritual questions, but they might begin to explore their spiritual questions online.  We think we may be able to meet them there using our video series.  Once they’re familiar with us, maybe they will be able to make the transition to a Church In A Brewery meeting or a regular church.

Whew.  Thanks for hanging in there with us!  If you have any thoughts feel free to contact us, we’d love to hear from you!  Thanks, and stay safe!

Sincerely,

Nathan
The Brewery Ministries Team