Church Marketing Hacks | Episode 04 | Chris Voeltner

This week Matt sits down with Chris Voeltner! Chris is the Creative Director at Kindred Community Church in Anaheim, California. You can learn more about Chis and Kindred at the church's website:
September 26, 2022
Church Marketing Hacks | Episode 04 | Chris Voeltner

Referenced Resources:

Kindred Community Church -

Pro Church Tools -

Brady Shearer's Podcast-


Well, hey, welcome back to another episode of the Church Marketing Hacks podcast. I'm your host, Matt Lombardi. I am joined today by Chris Voeltner. He might win the award for best last name. He is the creative director at Kindred Community Church in Anaheim, California, where apparently right now it's a little bit muggy. No blackouts. So we got the electricity running. Chris, how's it going, man? 

Good. I'm, I'm doing well. Thanks so much for having me. 

Yeah, man. It’s good to have you on. So we're just gonna dive right into the meat of it, man. Three questions we ask everyone on the show, every single guest, that is. We're gonna just go. 

What's the best marketing, call it outreach if you want to whatever the term your church uses, what's the best hack you've seen in your time serving churches? Could be a tool, could be a system or a process you guys have put in place. Could be a specific campaign or a strategy, just something that has been the best, most impactful thing that you've done in your time in ministry.

I would probably have to say that communication is probably the biggest one and communication facets and areas of it. I would say if there's the ability to write down processes for your team, whether it's a small team or it's a large team, small church, a large church, something like that, trying to document and set up processes. It doesn't have to be something that's super rigid, but at least you can say if we're going through event promotions and we wanna be able to blast it out to multiple different channels. That's, let's say you got in person pulpit announcements, you have video announcements you do a couple times a month, you have social media accounts, your website, email campaigns, that kinda stuff. Just try to figure out maybe what tiers those events are gonna be in and what type of promotions and communication plans each one of those tiers would get. You know, something like Easter. You know, X amount of Sundays, X amount of posts, X amount of website air time, that kind of stuff. And then bring it down to, you know, bible studies that are going on all the time, but promote those a couple times a year or something like that. Or do a big launch for small groups or something like that. But if there's a way that you can kind of generally get some categories like event promotions and what those will get for social media, website, pulpit, video. It helps a lot. It helps the ministry leaders see what they're gonna get for promotions, but then it also invites them in to be able to give them some insight of, Hey, this is the communication strategy that I wanna have for this event. And it gives them a little bit more control, but also makes sure that each event and each ministry isn't siloed to where they get some massive amount of promotion. And then another one feels that they're left out cause they didn't get that type of promotion. So that kind of carries across the board. That's just more of the promotion aspect of it. But yeah, communication and processes I think is super valuable. Plus on top of that, if you can have a plan for general promotions and things like that. Whether it's just communication for an event or it's communication for some kind of, you know, new change in budget, or staffing, or something like that, you know, where you can run off of as just a ground rule. And then, trying to use some kind of scheduler, something like that, some kind of platform that allows you to schedule out information like that's it, to communicate with your congregation is super helpful. 

That's great. So just to get real nuts and bolts with it, what do you guys use at Kendrick Community Church? Like, are you doing this in Asana or are you doing like, like I know some churches that are using and setting up a form where people have to fill it out themselves. Are you walking through each of these things when they have a request? What does it look like just day to day for you guys when you're taking in and working those systems and processes?

Yeah, no, that's a great question. So we use a couple different platforms for our church. Our church is about fifteen, sixteen hundred. And so with our staff of 25 to 30 or so. We use a few platforms. We've tested Asana. I liked it a lot with what I've done. I use it with a couple other churches, but right now we use base camp. Yeah, we find it to be pretty easy to use with our staff. There's not a big learning curve too. It's a little bit more limited than Asana or Monday or click up or something like that. But it's a pretty easy onboarding process. You just have like your projects and your teams and that kinda stuff, and then all your docs and files and stuff. So we used Basecamp across, we implemented that at the beginning of this year. And kind of onboard everyone. It seems to work really, really well. It cuts down communication for emails by, I'd say at least 95%, which is great . So it can sometimes be a little bit harder. I mean, you can do like that, don't forget things that helps. Like, I don't wanna forget about this, where emails you can just leave it as unread or something, but yeah, you just do a little adjustments there. But base camp's really, really good for us. We use Church Community Builder, which is I think a push pay product now. They were quite a little while. And we use that for our whole church directory. We use that for our event registration, our tithing, our small group set up, our missionary management. I mean, so our, our whole church is managed in that platform and it works really, really well because like I said, we incorporate all that information and then a bus is out to our website over to our social media. Anything that we use, we use QR codes to help link back and forth to those things. Couple other tools that we use. We use for all of our scheduling, , for our social media posts. We use a mixture for our livestream, we use our Elemental by Amazon as well as BoxCast for our platform. And let's see, one other platform I would say we use is, Link Tree, specifically for our social media. So that just is super helpful. Well I think with one of their paid plans, you can schedule one event, registrations pop up and one they are taken down and that kinda stuff. So lots of different platforms. I'm sure there's probably like four or five other ones that we use across the board, but those are the ones that like every single day we jump into and use as a staff. One that I use individually with like three or four other people on our staff is notion. Just to help kinda. Plan some things out there. There's one that, you know, click up is similar to it, but yeah, that's kind of my choice.

I love it, man. Yeah. We use Notion, we use Asana, we use all those internally here at Share. Notion we use for all of our client and squad leader onboarding. It's just so easy to send up a good looking webpage really fast. For anyone to kind of have access to the information you need them to have access to. So yeah, we're fans of a lot of those tools, man. So, just kind of diving even deeper on that. So we went nuts and bolts. Talk to me, you said use it for staff. Talk to me about how that process works with, let's say volunteer leaders or ministry leaders who say, Hey, I have a Bible study and I think it's super important, but based on your rubric, it only falls in this category. I actually want more promotion for it. Because this is the way ministry is different, right? This is why ministry isn't a marketing agency or a corporation. Like how do you just interpersonally deal with those, those relationships? When someone kind of pushes the boundaries of your system? Is that something you kind of push up the ladder to your executive pastor or lead pastor, or is that something where you as creative director get to hop in and say, Hey, here's why we do it. He just talked to me a little bit about how you handle really clearly defining those boundaries and then holding.

No, that's a really good situation. That happens pretty often, I think for a lot of churches. I mean, it doesn't even depend on the size, but yeah, I mean, as a creative director, it's a little bit of a mixture of both. I would say that if there is a way that we do it for like the, your example there with like a small group or a bible study or something like that. We have it to where we actually go through. Somebody can't just create a Bible study or a small group editor. One, we require membership. And two, when they want to become a small group leader, or what we call live groups, we actually go through live group training for them and, and make sure that they, you know, feel comfortable, that they have the resources, that they know how to use our internal systems like ccb, our actual ministry leaders that are on staff. Plus like maybe three or four, elders or deacons are the only ones that are actually in our base camp. And so those are what we would consider kinda like our org chart. But of course with our church size, we have tons and tons of other, you know, leaders within our church, but they aren't the ones that make the big decisions. And so there's definitely different levels of that kind of org chart, but, We have a couple different pastors that are over those specific adult ministries and small groups and stuff, so that if they have questions, they go to them. They know that they're their go-to people. And so from there, if they're saying, Hey, we wanna promote this small group, or Hey, we we're, we're starting up three more life groups or something like that, then that pastor will come to me as a communications director and I work with one of our admins that manages a whole calendar and does church administration. And then I manage outreach slash marketing and promotions for our church. And so, we'll, we'll take a look at it. Obviously we know for our small group or life group, that kind of falls into what we call a “Tier D” system, which sounds bad. If you got A, B, C, and D, it's like, Oh, that's the lowest of the low. And it's like, no, it's, it's not. It doesn't get one of those things where we do a massive like kinda sprint campaign where we do some kind of promotion every single week for like six or eight weeks. And so usually what we'll do is we say, With this type of event, we'll promote it three or four times a year and we say, Hey, these are all the life groups and we have something out on our patio. We have something in our video announcements, our pulpit, our social media. So we do a spring campaign a couple times a year for our small groups. But usually, like I said, when I started talking about it is when we have some kind of ministry leader, whether they're a staff member or it's, you know, like a lay leader or something like that, and they wanna do some kind of promotion or they wanna, you know, really get the, the word out. We'll come up with our general communication plan after we've asked them a series of questions or we have like an event registration that they'll go through and say, Hey, I wanna promote this type of event. Then we'll go through and we'll plan it out, and then we say, Hey, let's have a quick little meeting. Whether it's 10 or 15 minutes, or it's a call or Hey, let me just send it over to you, email and look over and say, Hey, take a look at this. Here's what we propose for, you know, this type of promotion. Let me know what you think. And that way we say, Hey, you ask generally what we're gonna do with it, but we wanna invite that ministry leader, that lay leader in with them and say, Hey, here's what we think, but let me know what you think because this is your ministry, this is what you wanna promote. So it helps give them a little bit of that insight into it because it is their ministry. I mean, they live and breathe that. The cool thing about 99% of ministry leaders is their ministry is the most important. And that's good when you have ministry leaders that think they're in their ministry or whatever their event is, is the most important, cause that means they put their heart and soul into it. And so, we just have to as staff members kind of be the gatekeepers of that. Otherwise, we'd have some kind of, you know, promotion as a social post every four minutes on our social media or on our website. So it's good. I mean, it helps really kind of bring that team camaraderie. It says, Hey, we'll be the gatekeepers. We're flexible. Here's generally what we do, but we want your insight because we know how you might say, The ministry that we're promoting, there's just, I don't think there's a lot of our people that are on social media, so we say, Hey, well let's do a little of less social media promotion and let's do, you know, one or two more emails because you know, maybe they're an older congregation and they check their emails a little bit more, or maybe they're really not on, you know, digital devices as much. So we might want to say, Hey, let's actually have an interest meeting and see how many people are interested to attend this event or to set up this type of ministry event. We just had to invite them in, but it's a mixture of us saying, Hey, here's what you're gonna get, but we wanna invite you in on the process because we wanna just say, Hey, this is your event. You live and breathe it, but we're gonna tell you what's gonna happen because then they don't feel like they're actually a part of their events on a very top level. 

Yeah, no, it sounds like it's just a, it's a combination, right? 

So it's relationships and then also just clear ministry organizational rhythms and procedures. And we blend the two. Then you have a really effective model that allows you to both be sensitive to the needs of the ministry, while also saying no, but here are guardrails. 

Love that, man. All right. So that was, That's right. Yeah. Yeah. Long question one, but I'll hop into question two. These last two will be a little bit faster. What book podcast resource would you recommend to every church marketing comms creative leader out there? Is there one that has just resonated with you a lot? 

Yeah, I would say the very first one that's like just church resources would be Pro Church Tools with Brady Shearer. I started listening to Brady. I talked to him many times and the whole team. I've been on staff here for about seven years. I think I started listening like two, three months into my position here. And so, I listened to tons and tons of his q&a’s. Like I said, I've talked to him a bunch of times. They have excellent tools out there. But you know, whether you have a bunch of tools implemented at your church or you're looking to do one, there's obviously great platforms out there, but I would say just for like free resource content, that podcast is just absolutely awesome. And then they do a really, really good job of implementing everything that they put on the podcast and putting it on their website. So the transcripts and the links and the episodes and all that kind of stuff. So I think that's a super, super great resource. I couldn't speak highly of them anymore for resources like that. And then one, just to feed your soul and to just be with the Lord, I'd say that one of best podcasts I listen to is just a Grace to You podcast with John MacArthur. That one right there, I listen probably faithfully, like almost every single day. If it's not a full one, it's a partial one. But yeah, those two, I would say are my absolute go-tos for like podcasts, books, resources, that kind of stuff. 

That's amazing, man. You literally have the coolest dichotomy of trendy, like someone's out there wearing Yeezy sneakers like British Year and then John MacArthur, right? That, that duality is beautiful, man. I love it. 

So, Oh yeah, it's, it's the total opposite end spector. I mean, not made me in terms of like, you know, like doctor theology. That's how it was for me. I went to John MacArthur's church on a Sunday, and then on a Tuesday I went to kind of Assemblies of God youth group. And so like, they're like really, really the opposites, like total Hillsong, you know, Bethel type of stuff on my youth group and then just like straight traditional hymns on Sunday. Yeah. So I find myself to be like, on a scale of one to 10, I'm kind of like, I guess six or seven towards, you know.

That's so cool. I love it. It's a great balance. So, okay, so speaking of, you were one of the OGs with Pro Church Tools and Brady Shearer, but back probably when you were about this age, if you could give your 21 year old. Any piece of advice about working in church marketing, comms, creative, like how to survive? You're 30 now, right? So you've been doing it?What'd you say? You, you've been at your church for about seven years you've been doing it? 

Yeah, I've been church 11 years and been on the staff for seven. 

So what advice would you give yourself seven years ago maybe that you know you would've needed, but you didn't know at the time?

Man, that's a good question. I've learned so much in the last, I mean, 10, well, 11 years being at this church. But seven years a staff member I would probably say, and I don't know, I mean, I've only been on staff at one church. But, just knowing how ministry is, you wear a lot of hats. And I think that unless you're at probably a real, I mean, there could be maybe a small church that has really defined roles, but I just don't think that there would be. I would say it'd have to be a really, really large church to have very defiant roles. You know, if somebody is just a videographer, that's what they do.They just film. They don't edit, they don't do DP-ing, that kind of stuff. I would say that no matter where you're at, if you can try to get a good definition of roles and what you do, I mean, for me, as a creative director  not only do I oversee, but I also am involved in the day to day of actually like doing and executing lots of different things. I mean, it's the social media, it's the promotions, it's photography, videography, live streams, tech, like, you know, there's lots and lots of different hats that I wear. Both to be the quote, unquote captain of, but also just to be, you know, the person on deck. And so don't ever let like the discouragement of saying, Hey, I have this idea. I wanna bring you to my leadership, or I wanna work on it. And then all of a sudden they say, Hey, that sounds awesome. We love it. You're now the leader of it. Because usually it's kind of that. Hey, I had this idea, I wanna do it. You start implementing it, they love it, and then they say, Okay, you run with it. And now you have, you know, six full-time jobs rather than like four full-time jobs. You know, it's cool because it changes a lot of things. You have a different set of tasks day to day, or you have maybe a hundred tasks versus 75 tasks or something like that but it's cool because it  changes things up a lot, But yeah. It can get discouraging at times because you have lots of different jobs. But shout it. Just remember that, hey, you are doing it for the Lord. But also on top of that, you get to do something really kind of different and unique. You're not kind of stuck in, I'm only doing this one thing. Now, there are certain people that are just really good at that. So if you're looking for, Hey, I'm a videographer. I mean, I'm a, I'm a video editor and that's what I wanna do. I would try to look for a church that is probably big enough that says, Hey, we are looking for just a video editor. If it's somebody who we're looking for a quote, unquote creative, you're gonna have a lot of different tasks in there. So if you're just one of those specialists it might be a little bit harder to get into a church staff position. But as you know, as a 21 year old me I think I started when I was like 23 or something like that. But yeah, I would just say don't get discouraged when you're saying, Hey, I have this cool idea. I wanna implement it. It's gonna advance our church, It's gonna advance the reach of the gospel, but then I'm gonna be the leader over it. I would say as you try to go into one of those, you know, new areas, you know, like I say, breakout areas try to see if there's somebody at least like a mentor, whether it's another pastor at your church or some leader to help partner with you to say, Hey, if I get to a certain point where this is getting big enough, how can I help kind of train somebody else to take over it or leave at least like co-lead with me. So it's probably a long answer, but yeah, I would say, realize that you'll probably start to become the leader over a lot of different things if it's your idea. And you may love that, which that's one thing I love about it. But, it might be a little overwhelming for certain people, so just see if there's some kind of mentor that will help you along that process as well as somebody that you can kind of mentor along that same area. 

That's great, man. I love it. And I mean, just to, to piggyback on that, because so many creatives end up in so many different jobs at churches, right? Most churches that we speak with will hire Communications director, creative director, they end up hiring someone who maybe is just a graphic designer and then now all of a sudden that graphic designer has to figure out how to do social and video and like marketing email copy, and they're like, Wait, I've never done any of this before. And so, absolutely, we've seen that a ton. And so one of the things that I love to recommend to folks like that is just to have really honest conversations with the church leadership. Give a clear assessment of what you're good at, what you're not good at, what brings you joy, what doesn't bring you joy, and just be honest with them. If updating the website sucks your soul away, you need to let your church leadership know like, Hey, I know that's in my job description. I'm really bad at that, and I'm gonna drag my feet and procrastinate and it's not gonna get executed on because I'm terrible at it and I don't. Because then you can start to have a conversation about, Oh, cool.Can we bring a volunteer in to help you with that? Like, don't feel like you have to be Superman or superwoman at every single thing. Church leadership sometimes just doesn't understand that like every creative skill set is a different muscle, and just because you're it is and doesn't mean you're an expert at something else.

Oh, that's true. That, I mean that, that I think is probably one massive highlight, key takeaway of this podcast. For sure. I mean, that type of thing where you say, Yeah, I, I think we fall into as, as. Church members, church staff, creative, whatever we wanna call it versus like a, you know, a corporate America type of thing. Is, Oh, well, you're doing it for the Lord. Yeah, but there are giftings, I mean, scripture talks about, hey, that somebody, you know, a speaker pastor should be, you know, wiping down the tables, not that they're above them, right? But that type of thing is, is something that, you know, somebody is there to do that so that they can go and do their part of the ministry that they're gifted in. So it's not the whole, Hey, I'm gonna drag my feet because I just don't wanna be a good worker. It's just now, My skill set and my gifting and my excitement and passion towards something would be so much better utilized if it's in this area. And let's find somebody, whether it's, whether it's paid, because churches and budgets, you know, everyone has budgets. Or it's just a volunteer and say, Hey, they can take off. 20% of my, my workload here. I can dedicate that to something else that I can really just excel in and push the ministry forward. 

Totally, totally, man. Well, Chris, thanks so much for joining the podcast today, man. Really, really enjoyed the conversation. If folks want to connect with you, learn more about Kindered Community Church, what's the best way to hit you up? Is it Instagram? Is it TikTok? Is it LinkedIn? Where do you live? 

Yeah, no. So I, I would probably say  for the church, it's just at Kindred Church on every single platform. Most ones are, Facebook, Instagram, and then our website's just If they wanna contact me directly, it's just And yeah, I mean, if there's anything that they need help with resources, I will try to impart as much quote unquote wisdom as I have in my years of life and, and church staff. But I'd love to love to do that. I love what you guys are doing. So, , anyway, I can be like an extended arm with. Be happy to do so.

 Awesome. Ladies and gentlemen, Chris, thanks so much for the time, bro.