From the highways, to doctor's offices, to the mall, digital displays are everywhere.
They are attention grabbing, eye-catching, and attractive. They have become so ubiquitous these days they often blend into our daily landscape. Digital signs can make any space feel modern and sophisticated while simultaneously performing the important task of displaying pertinent information.
You may be thinking that a digital announcement screen or display might be a great addition in your church but you feel a daunted by how to go about creating the right setup. You likely see quite a few obstacles you've got to over come. Digital signs look very fancy so the equipment must be expensive. Church budgets are always strapped and likely this idea may come across as a fluffy extra that isn't really needed.
Many people reasonably question if digital signage is even effective. Let's talk about how to easily overcome all of these challenges.
What are Digital Displays or Signs?
Simply put, digital signs include text or graphics (often rotating or changing every few seconds) displayed on a monitor placed in a high traffic area powered by a simple computer. They provide a flexible medium for connecting your congregation to your church's vision, goals, and events. A digital sign can be a powerful tool that connects your members and visitors to important information. At a glance people can see how your church is engaging with the community and how they themselves can get involved. Set up can be simple are surprisingly low cost.
Where do I begin?
1. Acquire equipment
There is a chance you or someone else at your church already has everything you need. An old laptop or desktop with a free copy of Libre Office or other presentation software will work just fine. This doesn't have to be a high powered machine. You're just running a presentation display. A cheap refurbished laptop for under $200 is a fantastic option. Be sure to remove any software you don't need. Most importantly you will want a monitor that is at least 19" so that the display is big enough to be able to clearly read the words.
One of the easiest places to look for content to display is your church bulletin. Perhaps this sounds redundant but research tells us the more times a person is exposed to information the more likely they will remember it. Besides, how often does just one half of a couple actually read the bulletin? Plus, once printed a bulletin can't be changed, however a digital sign just takes moments to update providing astounding flexibility. Display the content in a friendly format and with a graphic or photo if possible, with the wording focused on key points. Include slides with service times, mid-week services, prayer nights, youth group, and other recurring events. Your slides should change every 10 seconds and automatically loop so keeping content brief is key.
3.Decide on Location
Be sure to place your display in a high traffic area where everyone can see it but do be careful not to block traffic flow. A display in the foyer as people come and go provides a frictionless place for people to gather information. Adjacent to the entrance of the sanctuary is may be great place. Keep it running and visible during the week when visitors or members arrive for events or meetings. Customize it for special events or holidays. Encourage your ministry leaders, pastors, and staff to email you information so that the display can be constantly updated.
4.Run your display!
Once you have your equipment, your presentation is ready to go and you've got it all set up, get the show rolling! Be sure to ask your pastor or the person who does announcements during service draw attention to it as well.
What a great start, but don't stop there. Be sure to update the content weekly customizing it for the seasons or holiday with graphics and themes. Include pictures of recent events, display your church logo, even add QR codes for your website or social media accounts.
Display scriptures from your pastor's message and connect people further with the Word. Over time you may become interested in the huge selection of vendors and software that can help you create even more advanced digital signage. The more people see the work of the church, the more likely they are to become engaged.Creating digital displays can be a relatively low cost and an easy investment into connecting the body of the church with the work being done.
They are worth the time and effort. Now get out there and start building a digital display for your church!