Days before the start of the Easter Season, I was driving through Hornsby, NSW, Australia, when I saw a billboard that captured my attention. It had the website Jesus.com.au on it and I had to know more!
Talking about Jesus in the (digital) public square
When I got home, I immediately searched for the website and found it belonged to the Bible Society Australia, whose objective is to “impact and influence Australia and the world by opening the Bible to all people everywhere by all means possible.”
A few days later, a matching digital campaign appeared on my Facebook account.
I reached out to the Bible Society Australia to learn more about their campaign to see what we can learn from it.
I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with Mission Head, Chris Melville and the project manager of the campaign, Rhiannon Davies. From them, I was able to learn about the various projects they have underway and get greater insight on how this campaign was run.
About fourteen years ago, the “Jesus. All about life” brand was run as an Easter promotional media campaign. Then, in 2022, it was relaunched as a mixed media campaign with digital and physical assets, which were the things that initially caught my attention..
When I asked the purpose of the campaign, I learned there were a few objectives.
- To provide local partner churches with resources for Easter campaigns by encouraging people to think about Jesus and ask questions that prompt them to visit the website.
- To create a library of resources for partner churches to share with people during the Easter season. The available assets include articles, stories, videos and downloads that appeal to all age groups.
- To create conversation. This is another very important aspect of the campaign that can sometimes get missed, but was highlighted by Mission Head, Chris Melville. The idea is that as people pass by the billboard or see the online ads it sparks a thought, memory or reflection within them and encourages them to talk about Jesus with other people.
- To encourage people to visit a local partner church. The hope in this campaign is that people will be encouraged to visit a local church from those listed on the Jesus.com.au website.
What further opportunities exist?
I believe what the Bible Society has done in this area is captivating – in the very least it captivated me — although I’m not sure the impact on someone who doesn’t believe, has their doubts or outright rejects Jesus.
Given the website that underlies this campaign, I believe there are additional opportunities that exist for the Bible Society Australia to further engage people on the Jesus.com.au website as they explore the idea of who Jesus is both during Easter and outside of the Easter season.
Some of these opportunities could be in
- Allowing for further conversation around the topic of Jesus through the use of a chat function on the website. This opportunity would require a lot of resources, but could be useful in engaging people in conversation and helping to direct them to further resources to answer questions they might have
- Investing in ranking the website so that it is found when people are searching about who Jesus is. With such a powerful website as Jesus.com.au, there is the opportunity to optimise the site to rank well and be presented as an authority on the topic of Jesus.
What can we learn from this?
My takeaway from this campaign is that there is an opportunity for ministries, churches and organisations to own high-value websites, like Jesus.com.au.
We can then use these websites to start conversations about the gospel and probe people with questions that make them think about their relationship with God and allow them to continue their spiritual journey.
How can we apply these principles to future campaigns?
If your church or ministry is considering launching an online campaign similar to this, it would be important to outline your goals for the project, similar to the goals we identified earlier in this article. Without clearly articulated goals, it can be easy to misunderstand the project’s success and chalk it up as failure.
Also, it’s important to have a simple, easy to remember URL like Jesus.com.au. It may be challenging to obtain such a website, but if it is truly aligned with your organisation’s goals and having it will help you achieve the objectives you’ve identified, you may find that it is worthwhile.
It is possible that you will need to use a broker to help you obtain the website if it’s already owned by another person or organisation.
Then, it’s important to create a journey through which you would like your visitors to follow and set up simple, easy pathways to guide them through it.
We look forward to seeing what you will achieve to help further the work of growing God’s kingdom. If you’d like to have a conversation about how you can apply some of these principles to your organisation, feel free to get in touch with us!