Barbara Carneiro, owner of Word Revolution and creator of 412Lab.com recently met with us to discuss how she uses technology to equip church communicators to better fulfill the mission to which God has called them.
Barbara had a successful marketing agency primarily working with websites when God disrupted her plans. “I clearly remember being in the kitchen one day,” she recalls. God told her, “I want you to redirect what you’re doing and use it for My Kingdom.” She then started to focus on churches, which are often under-resourced, and helping them with their communication.
Barbara then renamed her agency Word Revolution and reached out to existing clients to inform them of her new direction, fearing that she was going to lose all of her clients. Unbeknownst to Barbara, many of her clients were Christians, and those clients applauded her new direction and referred her to their pastors. “Overnight I gained this big chunk of clients that I didn’t have before through what I thought was God killing my business,” she says with a laugh.
Working with churches
Beginning in 2014, Barbara began exclusively working with churches and ministries through Word Revolution. She quickly noticed that most churches are small and are limited by budget and by not having enough people to help. Volunteers are overworked yet not productive enough. “My biggest realization,” she says, was that “there’s a lack of understanding of how to utilize what they already have.” She created 412Lab out of a desire to equip and train churches how to create their own communication strategy independent of their size and budget.
An accidental church communicator
Shortly after coming to know Jesus, Barbara was asked to start doing some communications for her church. She had no time, no budget, was asked to do too many things at once, and would often get critical pieces of information at the last minute. “There has to be a better way to do this,” she recalls thinking. With her marketing background, Barbara began thinking of ways to organize, automate, and streamline the processes to make the church’s communication more efficient. That experience resulted in the creation of 412Lab, where Barbara is senior mentor.
A case study
Working with a church in Tennessee and talking about their audience, she learned that the surrounding area had a large number of single mothers who had little to no church background. The church felt that was a demographic that they could serve well but their current marketing efforts, including the website, were not reaching them. Asking how people would go about inviting them in-person to the church if they were having a conversation in a coffee shop, she kept getting the same answer. “They kept repeating the same things. ‘We just tell them, come and see.’”
It became clear that the best way to communicate an invitation to that church wasn’t through Bible verses or a vision statement, which she said sometimes “only the pastor can recite” anyway. They simplified the message and now the first thing you see on their website is “come and see.” To reach an audience that had low biblical literacy and maybe wasn’t interested yet in following Jesus, it was important that “the first point of contact was an invitation,” Barbara says.
Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. (Habakkuk 2:2)
- How can your church or ministry improve its communication?