1. Crowdfunding experiment succeeding
Some of our experiments from last year, like our crowdfunding project, have continued and are now reaping the fruits of hard work and perseverance. Our partners have been creative and graceful, some recording videos about their projects in masks, others by doing them in tandem, all of them have been patient and flexible. Two of our partners have already raised tens of thousands of dollars, others are solidly making their way there. Projects include a residence providing recovery support for women, affordable housing, memorial gardens, and a free meal program.
2. E-formation conference is coming up fast
It will soon be time for eFormation 21: Dwelling Places for God. It will take place online July 13th-15th, 2021. This conference – designed to optimize learning, minimize fatigue, and renew spirits – will feature keynote speakers, workshops, and the opportunity to engage in focused small groups with digital ministry peers. The conference will be a robust engagement of what it means to be Dwelling Places for God, online, in pews, and in our communities. After a year of forced migration to all-digital platforms and programming, is the work of digital ministry different? Each day of eFormation21 will include a keynote speaker, time for group reflection, workshops, and affinity group time. Click here to register.
3. Hybrid church masterclass almost sold out
Only 30 slots out of 250 remain for our “Being a Top-Notch Hybrid Church” masterclass. The class will be led by four subject-area experts on: producing for the medium, creating true communities online, fundraising, and God's presence in hybrid spaces. Each of the areas will give very practical and actionable ideas. The whole class concludes by creating an action map so that participants will be able to go back to their congregations and immediately use what they have learned. If you want to join, sign up quickly or it might be too late.
4. TryTank is seeking your feedback
As we at TryTank go about doing our work, we want to be responsive to you, our audience. After all, without you as our partners, we would labor in vain! To that end, we have created a simple and quick survey. It covers what you think about our experiments, website, and newsletter. Would you take a moment and take this short survey right now? Please let us know how we can be better. We can take constructive criticism! Thank you.
5. New phase of DCP experiment looking for churches
As churches are starting to gather once more for in-person worship, the next phase of the Digital Collection Plate experiment is ready to move forward. We are working with the European company Givt to bring their innovative technology to the U.S. In this next phase, we will utilize Givt's self-contained beacons making it easier and faster to give. In the Netherlands and the U.K., people using the Givt platform gave more money! We are looking for 30 congregations for this next phase. Simply hit "reply" and let us know you're interested and we'll send you an invitation to an information session.
6. Location analysis can help social enterprises succeed
One of the areas we have been exploring for experiments is a social enterprise. To that end, we are embarking on a new experiment that will utilize location analysis to determine what might be the best social enterprise business to start in a particular location. In other words, imagine that you want to start a social enterprise and we could tell you, “based on the behaviors and demographic makeup of the neighborhood, a (fill in the blank of a low barrier business that could be run by volunteers) would probably work well and has an above-average chance of succeeding.” That could be incredibly valuable information.
7. First experiment managers appointed
TryTank has officially appointed its first two experiment managers. The managers will help manage the day-to-day operations of an experiment. The appointments are the Rev. Nancy Frausto and the Rev. Sean Steele. Nancy will focus on the experiment to reimagine what youth ministry could look like. Meanwhile, Sean will manage the digital church experiment where we are looking at the possibility of a fully digital church plant. Nancy and Sean have been a big part of the behind-the-scenes work of TryTank for the last year. We welcome them to their new roles.
8. Opens experiment leads to new church members
Last Fall we researched who on Facebook might be open to the message of the church but have no church relationship. We then used this research to find other people like them using Facebook’s “lookalike audience” feature. We have been continuing to use the data we have to advertise and build relationships online with these Opens. Now that churches are opening again, we can report that we have been able to track some of those people directly to the church pews. In other words, from not knowing about us to coming to our partner church. Next for this experiment is how to make the data available for other congregations to do the same.
9. La Misa in English experiment seeking church partners
TryTank is developing an experiment focused on congregations the serving later-generation Latinos (the second generation and after) in their communities. The key is that the ministry is in-culture and not in-language. We have developed a program that we think will work well. We are now ready to find some partners who want to try it out with us. We will be holding an information session on May 25 at 2 pm EST. If this interests you and might be something for your congregation, join us! Simply hit reply and let us know and we’ll get you on the list.
10. Evangelizing through the Blessing of the Animals
Would you like to introduce your church to more people in your community? Think about the great opportunity your annual blessing of the animals provides! We know that some churches have had success this way, and we want to see if this is replicable. On May 26th at 2 pm EST we will host an information session about this project. During the meeting, we will explain the how of the experiment and guide you through the process in three phases: the invitation, the day, and (most important) the follow-up. If this interests you, simply hit reply and let us know and we’ll get you on the list.
The Rev. Lorenzo Lebrija is the founding director of the TryTank Experimental Lab.