Sixty percent of the 180 people who participated in this one church’s digital date night were not members of their church. 

Emmanuel Baptist in Billings, Montana, is one of six churches right now on Communio’s City Platform in Yellowstone County leveraging our consultative support to launch a relationship health movement to strengthen marriages and families. Immediately after the COVID crisis started, Communio’s Billings City Director, Eric Hutch, put new in-home, digital date night resources into the hands of these churches. 

Just over the last 12 weeks, churches in Billings have made more than 650,000 digital impressions focused on those struggling in marriage, those cohabiting, and those couples with young children in the home.  

In all, more than 800 people across this 140,000 person county have participated in one or more date nights through Communio-supported churches. Approximately 60 percent of these couples are not affiliated with the host church.  

These are newly engaged audiences churches can invite later this summer and fall to community-oriented Outreach Events – the next rung of Communio’s Ministry Engagement Ladder™.  

“Communio has challenged us to be more strategic in how we reach out to couples and families in our community,” says Emmanuel Baptist pastor Ryan Cooper. “Emmanuel hosts great events but Communio has challenged us to think about the next step. How we follow up with attendees can be more effective and Communio has certainly made us more aware of this.” 

Meanwhile, Communio has continued to run ongoing city-wide digital campaigns across Yellowstone County making 1.5 million digital impressions in the city since late February in an effort to provide churches “warm” digital audiences for their own targeted outreach.  

You can click here and here to see examples of these landing pages.  

With this strong foundation laid, Communio is now consulting with partner churches to execute a broader 90-day, digital relationship ministry strategy to increase engagement and bridge the gap between shutdown, partial re-opening, and re-open. This involves providing the church with more substantive, skills-based digital resources it can share over email or social media with couples who took a first step through an in-home date night.  

Life is beginning to ease gradually closer to normal as Phase 2 of their reopening approaches on June 1.  Two large churches – Harvest Church and St. Thomas the Apostle – are scheduled to run their Communio surveys this weekend and we’re expecting their onsite strategy and planning meetings to occur in June.  

Prior to the shutdown, three churches in Billings had gone through Communio’s planning and strategy meeting to build a Data-informed, Full-Circle Relationship Ministry™. The survey assessment at worship occurs and consumer product modeling of their community occurs ahead of each of these meetings. Hutch is expecting all six of the current churches to be fully onboarded, trained, and running their custom relationship ministry strategy by Labor Day.  He expects to have 12 churches – nearly every church above 500 weekly attendees in Yellowstone County participating in the City Platform by year’s end. 

Ultimately, this City Platform will operate for three years to catalyze a critical mass of churches to run a holistic ministry game plan to improve the marital and relational health of both their congregations and their city.  This work is getting upstream of social problems frequently found in education, crime, and poverty.  

Interested in learning more about how Communio can serve your church? Contact us at platform@communio.org or (703) 347-7800.

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