In the world of digital and social media church communication there are many individuals doing some great work and paving a path forward that the church has not been yet. Some of these individuals you may have had interactions with or have even seen a product of their work. Others might have slipped through the radar as they continue to work in the trenches of church communications. I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight them. Here is a small window into their world.
Dave Adamson is the Social Media Director and North Point Online Pastor for North Point Community Church in Atlanta, Georgia. I first met Dave at That Church Conference in Atlanta last year and was in awe of what he shared about the use of social media and the church. His session on engagement helped shift how I manage the content on the various social channels I run. Dave also shared a little bit about his use on Instagram and how he shifted his focus from posting pictures of his food, to images that capture the Scriptures. Dave now has an incredibly following on Instagram as he shares daily devotions through his photography and heart for Jesus. His Bible in Photos Instagram has turned into a book, calendar, and a 7-Day devotion on the YouVersion Bible App. God is using this Aussie in some incredible ways.
Here is my interview with Dave Adamson.
MH: Dave I know a little of your story, but can you share with us how you got started in Church Communications?
DA: As a former TV reporter and producer in Australia for a show that was our version of ESPN SportsCenter, I never planned to work for a church. That all changed when God made it pretty clear that I was to move my family to New Jersey to become a professional christian.
I started in ministry as a church online pastor, and when I started working for North Point in Atlanta, it was as a media producer. During my 3-month evaluation I commented on how much work North Point’s social media needed, which led Andy Stanley to call a one-on-one meeting with me. I swear I thought I was getting fired, but instead he quizzed me about using social media in the church, and by the time the meeting was over, Andy had changed my job to be North Point’s social media director.
MH: I’m sure a new job title was welcomed over being fired. You get to minister to thousands of people on a weekly basis through what you do at North Point. What would you say most excites you about your job?
DA: By leveraging church online and social media, we get to be a modern-day version of Paul. Back in the first century, Paul used the technology of his day to reach communities of people 100s of miles away. His technology was handwriting (for people under 30, this is where you hold a pen on some paper and move your wrist). Social media and the internet is the technology of our day … and we have the opportunity to use it to reach people far from God!
For the first time in human history we have the technology to literally go into all the world in a second! Churches need to be leveraging this opportunity and this technology to engage with the world! How can you not be excited by that?!
MH: Amen! The opportunity for the church to reach people all over the world, in an instant, should excite all of us. As exciting as this opportunity is, we all know there are moments when we will get into areas that are not so exciting. In fact there are aspects of this job that can be rather difficult and hard. What is the hardest part of this job for you?
DA: Tracking, monitoring and reporting analytics. There are a lot of numbers and statistics in the social media world, and every day we need be watching these to develop strategies and predict trends. I’m not a numbers person – I’m relational – so analyzing the statistical side of this world is something that requires a lot more energy for me.
The way I push through is reminding myself that numbers matter because people count.
MH: I love that – numbers matter because people count. I have to be honest, I am not a numbers person either, but I have started to be because behind every set of numbers and analytics are stories of the lives impacted by what God is doing through the church. I will gladly muddle through the numbers for that.
Dave there are many out there who are just starting in church communications. What is some advice you can give them?
DA: Be relational. Communication tools like social media only work when we’re inviting people into conversations and engaging with them. This happens when we use more question marks than commas, and when we leverage social media as a telephone, not a megaphone.
Ask questions. Respond to people. Engage.
MH: Ask. Respond. Engage. That’s a good social media mantra to have or written on a sticky note at our desks. Ok. I have one more question. I have asked many people this question and have always gotten quite a variety of answers. Ready?
Who is your favorite cartoon character?
DA: Wyle E. Coyote. He was always so determined and persevered through every tragedy and disappointment he faced. He’s the definition of failing forward.
Plus, when he was on I could check my brain at the door and just have a solid laugh!
MH: I won’t be able to read John Maxwell’s Failing Forward again without thinking of Wyle E. Coyote. ?
Dave thank you for sharing these incredible insights and for all that you do for church communicators and the Kingdom.
You can find Dave online and be sure to check out his Instagram, it’s pretty amazing.