Before the pandemic, there were a lot of Churches that were not online. It was more abnormal for a Church to be online than it was for them not to be on. However, once the pandemic started, a lot of Churches went online and kept a presence online to this day. However, since the pandemic has subsided, many Churches have either abandoned their online efforts or stopped taking steps to improve their online presence.
Reasons and Solutions
The big question for each Church that has backtracked or abandoned their online ministry progress is why have they. Realistically, there are a few things that come into play for churches who struggle when it comes to adopting digital technologies long term. Here are some of the common reasons why some Churches aren't online anymore and how you can overcome those reasons.
- Lack of Resources. When the pandemic hit, many churches were able to patchwork together online efforts. However, it was just a temporary fix. Many of them, especially smaller Churches, don't have a budget to invest in new tools to effectively reach an online audience. One way to overcome that is to invest money into this area. It can be a small amount at first to get the basics up and running. But, overtime, continue to invest more money into this budget so you can make upgrades and advances.
- Lack of Expertise. Just like a lack of resources, your Church may not have a dedicated IT staff to oversee the technical aspects of online ministry. They may lack the knowledge needed to effectively use technologies like livestreaming, digital giving platforms, church management software, etc. One way to overcome this is to keep searching for people, especially younger people, in your Church or community. Just because someone doesn't go to Church doesn't mean they can't help with some IT and tech solutions. In fact, it could be a great way to introduce people in your community to your Church by helping them play a part in what you are doing.
- Resistance to Change. Let's be honest, no matter what the area is, there are always going to be traditionalists out there. It happens a lot in sports but also in Churches. Some church leadership or congregants may be resistant to incorporating more technology into worship services and church operations. There can be a preference to maintain traditional practices. One way to overcome this is continue to help show people the value and benefit to this moving forward. It's unfortunate that you will not be able to convince everyone, but maybe you can convince some of the key players who can convince others.
- Reaching Older Demographics. While younger churchgoers tend to be more tech-savvy, older congregants may have challenges using new digital tools and platforms. Churches need to ensure they don't exclude older members. As people get older, the need for community and God's word is just as strong as when they are younger. They may not have the ability to learn new technology to participate in online studies or worship. One way to overcome this is to have in person training for the older generations at your Church and in your community to show them how to use these tools. Everyone can learn and it can be a great outreach to your community.
- Technical Challenges. While technology has come a long way in the past 10-15 years, not everyone in the whole world has caught up. Some areas still experience Issues like poor WiFi connectivity, audio/visual problems for livestreams, and glitches with church apps and websites. They can create a lot of frustrations and prevent you from moving forward. .One way to overcome this is to research different ways to get a stronger internet connectivity in your area. In addition, you can make a wish list of technology equipment you need to create a better livestream experience. You can send this list out to people who may want to give to the Church.
- Competing with Larger Churches. While bigger churches may have more robust digital presences and resources to reach more people that smaller churches, that shouldn't prevent you from using online ministry. In fact, it should encourage you as you do not need to focus on what the "big guys" are doing. Rather, use it as a way to minister to the people God has entrusted you with. Not all people want to hear from the "big guys." They want to hear from their minister.
- Measuring Impact. As much as you can reach people for Christ online, sometimes it can be hard for churches to gauge the effectiveness of their digital strategies. One way you overcome this is to identify the key metrics you would like to evaluate and start tracking that. Each Church needs to evaluate what metrics matter to them and start tracking those to see how effective you are.
As with anything, there are a variety of reasons for Churches or ministries do NOT do something. However, that shouldn't prevent you from doing it. If God is calling your Church to use digital tools and technology to reach people, do not let the negative mindset creep in and prevent you from doing it. With every issue, there is always a solution around it. Keep working on overcoming the negative reasons with positive solutions and see how God uses your ministry to reach even more people for Christ.
What do you think? What are some other common reasons why Churches aren't online and how can you overcome them? 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!
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