So, Digital Ministry hasn't been all it's cracked up to be? I feel your pain. You may have read a blog post like this one, you did what it says, and you didn't see a noticeable uptick in engagement. So, what's the problem?
Why is your digital ministry failing to have the impact you hoped it would have when you started?
Here are the 3 reasons I consistently see in failing online ministries:
1. You think Content is King
I see this so often! We think our content will do the work of building relationships and community of Jesus Followers. We have a problem if all we do is create great content with the idea that one will go viral. Going viral, getting likes, and counting views are the worst metrics Ministry leaders can measure. They mean nothing unless the sum of your ministry is gathering a crowd. Content is not King; content is Currency! It is the price you pay to buy attention to build relationships so that you can invite them into a deeper connection. Social Media posting is nothing more than a digital knock at the door of someone you are praying is a person of peace. We are looking to gain attention so that we can begin conversations. When we see Content as King, it emphasizes the content itself rather than the outcome we should be focused on. The goal is not to go viral but to build a thriving, growing community of Jesus followers living fully alive and inviting others to do the same in their own network of relationships. So, if you want to build a crowd for the sake of the crowd, it may look good for a moment-- but you already failed.
Content is not King; content is Currency!
2.You see Digital Platforms as a "Field of Dreams."
You think building a website or posting a video will automatically create momentum. People will just want what you have. They will flock to you. So you post--crickets. You post again. Your momma feels proud of you, so she gives you a heart emoji and tells you how handsome you are and how proud of you she is... on your wall. It's like being a middle schooler all over again. But everyone else is ignoring you.
Has this happened to you? It has to me. Even the Mom debacle!
The truth is you can't build on social media and hope people will fawn all over themselves to join up with you. Nope. You have to have an organized system, one that will spark curiosity. The next step creates an environment to examine more closely the relationship; liturgists call this catechism. It means to inquire closely. Then finally, It needs to move them towards a moment of decision, a call to action. Another "C" word would be Commitment.
These 3Cs make up the decision-making process, and we use that to construct what I call a Digital Relationship Pathway. To create your own Digital Relationship Pathway, you have to ask yourself a few questions:
Where does the person I am reaching interact online?
How could I organically engage them?
How could I begin to have an honest conversation with them?
Where do I want to lead them?
What is the next best step to lead them there?
Once I want to lead them, what must they do to continue gaining relational value?
These questions will begin to give you small incremental steps that will help each person move through the 3Cs of Relationship: Curiosity, Catechism, Commitment. Then the right pathway will emerge as you answer these questions. The next step is then executed. Create the path in reality-- don't just keep it a figment of your imagination.
3. You don't solve people's problems.
Or at least they don't think you can.
Because you haven't shown them the way. Every organization spends so much capital on informing their viewers who they are rather than helping them solve their problems.
Without identifying the problem of the people you are working to reach and then providing a 3-4 step plan to solve their problem, people won't see you as a valuable use of their time. People aren't looking for you or your product--even if that product is a community, Jesus, or ice cream. They are searching for solutions to their felt needs. And they need a clearly laid out path by a competent guide to get them there. If you don't call out their problem and illuminate a clear path to solve their problem, you will always be ignored.
STAY PATIENT & CONSISTENT
Maybe you have a fabulous Digital Relationship Pathway, but you're three months in, and you aren't seeing the results you would like. I get that. Studies show it takes about 2-3 years of consistent daily social marketing before you begin to see exponential results. It's a lot like farming. A Sower goes out in the field, and he sows, and many of his seeds don't produce. It takes time before the harvest, but those who tend to the field and know their seeds are germinating will see results in due season if they don't give up.
Stay patient and consistent, and you will see a harvest.