One of the things we love to build sermon illustrations around is the selfie. It’s easy to make fun of people who are consumed with taking photos of themselves. But at the same time, we understand this is a growing trend in how the younger generation connects with each other; sending selfies back and forth is almost like sharing a face-to-face encounter. That’s basically what the quickly growing Snapchat platform is all about. Instagram isn’t much different.
So instead of making fun of selfies, why not capitalize on it for Christmas? You could easily make photo opportunity spots around the church where you encourage people to take selfies and tag your church in them. It’s as simple as creating different themed spaces with good lighting. I actually run a site filled with DIY ideas that would work for this sort of thing. Here are a few of the most easily translatable ideas:
You could even do a logo wall (like you see in movie premiers and award shows) with your church logo and the Christmas branding printed on it.
Whatever you decide, make beautiful spaces where people can take selfies or group photos. The better you make the space look and the better lighting you provide, the more people will take photos and share them on social media. Use this handy chart to set up some great lighting in these spaces.
You don’t have to be obvious about your photo spaces, you can merely stand a chalkboard on an easel next to each of these spaces. Write something like “tag us in your photos” and include your church’s Instagram and Twitter account names. You could even include your official Christmas hashtag on the chalkboard. People use hashtags.
Pro tip: You can use a site like IFTTT to automatically download any public photo containing a certain hashtag straight to a Dropbox account. You could use this to make a photo slideshow for a service if you wanted or just keep track of who’s using your photo opportunity spots.
You could even go a bit crazy and actually create or rent a real photo booth. You can add your own customized lower-thirds image to each photo to really promote the church. It’s not as necessary since people often prefer selfies over professionally taken photos. But if you do go the photo booth route, make sure people can get digital access so they can post the photos to social media.
If you set these up during the whole month of December, you can build a bit of social media momentum leading up to your Christmas services. You can work things into the service where you encourage people to invite their friends – priming them by sharing these types of photos.
What do you think? Can you see this working at your church? Have you tried it? Share your thoughts or pictures in a comment below.