Church Online has been a fascinating cultural development. For many churches, Online Church has become almost a “digital missions”, allowing people to connect to your church across the country and around the world. Some churches are fortunate enough even to see their attendance grow past their physical campus attendance! Many of us, though, are guilty of focusing on our online experience more than our Online Church!
As exciting as it is to see the Google Analytics reports weekly, or a Global heatmap showing your traffic, it’s important to remember that while Online Church can be many things, there are things that it MUST NOT be.
#1 - Drive-By Evangelism
Church, it is a beautiful thing to see God move through our services. However, let’s not allow Online Church, or even church at the physical campuses, to become drive-by evangelism! “Congratulations on your life-changing decision. Thanks for coming! See you next week...” This wouldn’t fly on your physical campuses (hopefully) and it shouldn’t Online. Be sure you are getting input from people who watch you online to share what God did in their lives through your online experience. Engage them!
#2 - Church in Isolation
Truthfully, technology does allow for life-changing content to be easily distributed around the world. But if we’re honest, it has limitations too. It’s very easy to fall into isolation. As an Online Church, we need to push people to not isolate themselves from the world, instead encourage people towards offline relationships. God did not call us to live in isolation, and the Online Church is no exception. Online Church, stop people from hiding behind laptop screens and mobile phones!
#3 - Modern-Day VHS Tape Ministry
If the culmination of your Online Church is a 60+ minute weekly church broadcast, you're no different than the VHS tape ministries of the 1980s. For you, the experience truly is more important than the ministry. We have the opportunity to relationally connect with people from all over the world! Not just play them a video. Have confidence in yourself, your staff, your volunteers and your church to be used by God. Engaging people online means more than you talking to them. Engaging them means that you have to listen when they talk to you! Take the time to listen to people. Ministry happens best when it’s a two way conversation, not a one way!
These three points are just the tip of the iceberg. By doing these, though, you’ll see yourself move from an Online Experience to an Online Church, readily engaging people and building relationships Online.