t's finally here! It's Christmas season time! With that comes a lot of opportunities for your Church to minister to your community. This is not just for your in person community, but it also applies to your online community. We live in a phygital world where the lines between in person and online are blurred. There is not just "online only" or "in person only" type of opportunity any more. What you offer at your Church can be a combination of both. It can be phygital.
So what can your Church do and offer this Christmas season that will minister to people in your online and in person community? Here are some ideas:
Mobilize Your Digital Missionaries. Digital Missionaries are people who use social media and other online tools to share about Christ to the online community. They can do this through writing, video, audio, photography, and other online tools. They are also people who use social media to share about what your Church is doing online. They can share it through their own social media accounts or they can also share it on community pages, highlighting events or activities your Church is doing that the community may enjoy.
You can make this phygital by having your digital missionaries create in person "meet and greets" at any and all Christmas events your Church is offering. Find out who these people are at your Church and mobilize them to minister to people and share about what is happening at your Church this year. Send them weekly updates on all that is happening and encourage them with different ways they can minister as they share online. The more they know about what is going on and how to minister online, the more effective they can be.
Pictures with the Santa. While taking pictures with Santa is in person, this is definitely a phygital event! While we know that Christmas is about the birth of Christ, if you are looking to attract non-Christians to an event, having an event like pictures with Santa is a fun way to do that. Every year parents line up and spend lots of money to get pictures with Santa. So why not set up something at your Church for families to come in and get FREE picture with Santa. You can get a cute backdrop or create one at your Church so that when families come in they are greeted by the elves or Santa’s helpers and take pictures. Then, when you send the parents their pictures via email, you can also include an invitation to Christmas Eve and Day services.
Disciple and Focus People on the Meaning of Christmas. Here are 3 online discipleship opportunities leading up to Christmas. You can make these phygital by including in person meet up or social gatherings for people in this group. It could be a great way to connect with people while growing in Christ together.
Text Group. Create a text group you send daily encouragement to a group. In these text groups you will send day people get a new text message daily that gives them a Bible verse and thought to challenge them in their faith. There are a lot of great messaging apps your Church can use such as Remind or Text in Church. You can also use apps like Signal, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or regular SMS Text Apps.
Facebook Group. This is a seasonal group on Facebook that starts on December 1st and goes all way through Christmas day. You can share a variety of posts such as Bible verses, devotional thoughts, fun crafts, treats families could make and Christmas music and hymns. Posting once a day is sufficient but posting a bit more would get more people to engage as the Christmas season is a very special time of year and there are plenty of things you can post about to engage others and encourage them.
Online Bible Study. There are lots of great Christmas themed Bible studies you can start up and be part of. Apps like YouVersion have thousands of Bible Studies you can look through and choose to be part of. The best part about apps like YouVeriison is that you can start a Group Online Study where you can invite friends and people to it and you can have discussions after each reading.
Utilize Snapchat Geo Filters. Snapchat Geofilters are images that you overlay on your snaps. They are very popular and people use them to send to others to share where they are and what they are doing. Snapchat usually has a set of geofilters that are local to our location. However, you can actually create you own. You can use them to promote your Church service or event. Churches can use these Geo Filters in the weeks leading up to Christmas to promote the upcoming services. People can send Snaps with your church's geofilter to invite their friends. Learn how you can create them here.
Use Digital Connection Cards for In Person Meet Ups. Digital connection cards allow people coming to your Church an opportunity to learn more about your Church. But, they also allow Churches to learn more about the people attending. What do they like and what are they interested in. This is a simple first step people take when they want to learn more about your Church. Make sure you have a digital card set up so that either in person or online attendees can simply click a link to fill out the form. You can even have a QR code that people can can.
Christmas is a wonderful time of year and provides many opportunities for people to come and discover God. Use these phygital ideas to mobilize Church attendees and engage people in your community and see how God impacts the lives of others this Christmas.
What do you think? What are your thoughts about podcasting? Do you use Anchor.fm? Why or why not? Share your ideas below or on social media.
Through the Digital Church Network we are helping physical and digital churches better understand the discipleship process, and helping churches and church planters understand this and other decentralized mindset shifts. Joining the DCN is free and be encouraged!