If you’re streaming your church services or offering them on-demand, you may be wondering what is the next best way to actually engage with those who are watching your church on a regular basis. While the views may be good and hearing that people are watching is nice, we all need a way to take our digital footprint to the next level. We need to make sure we are actually engaging our audience. We need to offer spaces where conversation and those all-important next steps can take place just like a typical weekend service at a physical church. Churches in physical spaces typically leverage their lobby areas to make this happen. The church lobby is where people connect after receiving content via the stage decide to meet people, and actually engage with next steps at your church. While the lack of a physical space may seem daunting online, there are aspects to the church lobby that need to be cultivated in digital spaces.
- Live Chat during the service // If you are using Church Online Platform or social media streaming for your services online, you can use the live chat to create community all while watching the message. This is something that is unique to the online space. When you attend church in person, talking during a service is discouraged. Online, you can engage others with questions. You can get to know people. You can request and receive prayer at any time during the service.
- Discussion Groups // Conversation and engagement is not just reserved for services online. Keep the conversation going throughout the week by leveraging discussion groups. There are many places where your church can host a discussion group in a digital forum. Facebook, What’s App, Discord, and others are all available for you to encourage community centered around the message content. Make sure the emphasis is on discussion. Ask more questions in this space and make less announcements. The more interaction and feedback you get, the better.
- Next Step Form // Have a next step form that you can constantly drive your audience to. You can leverage this form to receive prayer requests, recruit volunteers, or even help people connect in small groups. This form can be the place where you engage those who are receiving Christ while watching the service on demand at 3am on a Tuesday. No matter what, always drive your content to a next step and give people watching an opportunity to engage with you.
A digital lobby strategy will help you connect with a broader audience and help decipher who is truly engaging with your services online. It can be your most effective tool in engaging with your congregation throughout the week. It is the bridge between anonymity to connectedness that brings Church Online full circle to helping people take their next steps in following Jesus.