So, you had Christmas Services online. Chat host chatted. People engaged. It was awesome. But, now what? What's next? We've talked about this in the past... are we creating content for online, or are we creating disciples online? If we're merely creating content, then we're not really operating as a church as much as a spiritualized Hulu. Church, we're called to be more than content creators!
Our church services online need to be a front door to SOMETHING.
What it leads to is really up to your church's strategy. Here's a good question for many of you starting out your online ministry: what happens when someone visits a physical campus? What does your churches follow up look like?
- Personal visit or phone call?
- Invite to a Church Introductory class?
- A connection by a friendly person inviting to a Small Group?
Whatever your church's physical strategy is, figure out how to apply it for an online audience.
Our churches need to embrace the digital mission field, and start discipling people ONLINE.
For years the church in general has been handicapped by the idea that ministry, that discipleship, has to happen within the physical space. That spiritual conversations can not happen in an online environment. How sad to limit what God, what the Holy Spirit, can do.
If your church doesn't have clear vision, here are some tips to help you and your church see the potential:
- The goal is to relationally connect with the attendees. It's easy to attend church online in isolation. Don't let that happen. Figure out who your audience is, and get to know them.
- Walk attendees through the process of being involved in your church. Whether it's a Church Introduction class, or even a casual conversation over FaceTime....the person(s) will need to know what your church is about (more than what they hear on a Sunday morning). This is a great opportunity to share with them the Gospel on a personal/individual level.
- Get attendees connected into some sort of Biblical community. This can look different: I've seen churches use Zoom, BlueJeans, Whatsapp, YouVersion Bible App reading plans, Facebook Messenger, Facebook Groups... what platform you use isn't as important as building relationships with people for the purpose of pastorally shepherding them.
Don't have all this figured out yet? Easter is four months away!
So, you and your church don't have this figured out yet? You're not alone. Many, many churches are wrestling with these questions now. The good news is that you got time to get your ducks in a row for Easter! Kidding, kinda...
Ultimately, address and overcome issues like these. Discipling, shepherding, ministering to people online doesn't END with our church services... it STARTS with our church services.
So, what's next? While you may not have the final answer today, take the time to have a conversation on your church's digital strategy. Not sure how to start the conversation? Check out the eBook "What Happens When Church Online Grows Up?". In it you'll find an effective strategy giving purpose to church online for physical churches. Whether this is the final solution or a conversation starter remains to be seen, but it's a great resource for churches looking to figure out how to do church online.