Broadcasting church services online is exciting. It's fun creating the services and seeing how your weekend services expand. But questions exist with the church online. Why are you doing this ministry? What is your goal? For some, it's simply a desire to make the services available to those who can't make it to church for the weekend services. But there is greater potential online than this. What if we looked at online as our mission field. What if there's more to Church Online than just our Online Services.
The strength of Church Online is broadening the reach of the church. If you're trying to get someone two blocks away from your physical church to come to your church, Online Church can do that, but there are better ways to reach that person two blocks away than online.
Through Church Online you have an incredible opportunity to reach people far away from your church location. Utilizing friends and families from your church's circle of influence, you have a broader reach. Allow your church members to be brand ambassadors, broadening your church's digital reach. Remember, we're doing digital missions here. Through this, you will likely see something fascinating. Engagement in other cities will increase. When done well, your Church Online will have more traffic outside of your city than inside your city.
Once you're in these cities, start creating community online. Remember that the goal of church online isn't isolation. Online engagements should push to offline relationships. Gather these online people into small groups. Build and encourage community. People will be encouraged by the community your Online Church brings. And as God builds that community, he will develop leaders to lead the community.
As community matures in these cities, and the small groups are functioning well, a natural process will begin: groups will want to gather together to experience worship services together... in House Churches. or Microsites, or Pop-Up Churches... As your Church Online grows, realize that (if given a chance) God could use Church Online to birth something different. There are many different expressions of worship. Maybe this Church Online grows into a new multisite campus, or goes through a very natural process and becomes a new church plant, or possibly even combines with another local church.
Either one of these is an incredible opportunity if God-ordained. And all of them are made possible by churches who take a step of faith in utilizing online to not just reach people conveniently located geographically to where the church is.