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What Online Discipleship Looks Like

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online discipleship

Everyday people are connecting in communities. There are in-person communities and online ones. And while the Church continues to debate the effectiveness of online ministry, people continue to connect, be taught and build new relationships online. They are listening to influencers, podcasts, videos, and staying in touch through social media daily. 

Discipleship is all about relationships. It is when one person helps another person grow in their faith by embracing Christ-like characteristics into their life. Most people are familiar with discipleship in a one-on-one, in person way. However, what we have discovered over the past few years is that real discipleship can and does happen online. Through different tools, online discipleship creates multiple touch points online that take your online community through next steps of the discipleship process, 

Types of Online Discipleship Opportunities 

So what does Online Discipleship look like?

  • Live Steam Next Steps. People experiencing Church online during the live stream are not just content to just "watch" the service. They are capable of taking next steps of faith as well. As a Chat Host, ask the people in the Chat Room to take next steps of faith. Invite them to serve, be part of an online group or something else that your Church is offering. 
  • Zoom Groups. These groups became really popular during the beginning of Covid as it was a great way to see people face to face on a screen. However, they quickly faded in popularity as people experienced "Zoom Fatigue." Thankfully, those days are over, too. These groups are still a great way to connect with people at any time or day. You can use them as Bible Studies or Life Groups.  
  • Bible Studies. There are a lot of different kinds of online Bible studies you can do. There are thousands of great group plans you can do. Or, you can do Live Bible Study on a platform like Facebook or Instagram. You could also do audio Bible studies on Twitter Spaces. Churches can do them on their platforms or Digital Missionaries can do them on their personal accounts. 
  • Text Groups. These groups can be an in person life group that also has a Group on an App like WhatsApp or Signal. The purpose of these groups is to encourage each other daily and use it as a way to interact regularly. The more you can interact in between gatherings the better the bonding is when you see each other in person. Use it as a way to share Bible verses and prayer requests.  
  • Devotionals. These are long and short form devotionals in an audio and/or video format. When you do these devotionals keep the short form devos to under 60 seconds and the longer forms between 5 and 15 minutes. These are great opportunities for your staff and key volunteers to encourage people both in your Church and outside of it in their faith on platforms like YouTube, Instagram or TikTok.
  • Service Opportunities. When you serve others, it has a great opportunity to connect you in community and help you grow in your faith. Online Ministry opens up plenty of opportunities for people to serve. Whether it is to be a Chat Host, prayer warrior, social media support, digital missionary or something else, online ministry provides online service discipleship opportunities, too.

Conclusion

Online discipleship takes many different forms. It involves multiple platforms like YouTube, Zoom, Bible apps, and podcasts. While it may look different, at the heart of it is relationships. Real relationships do happen online and with these tools, they can help foster discipleship relationships that make a lasting and eternal impact.

What do you think?  What online discipleship opportunities have you used or tried?  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! 

Looking for a Coach or Guide to help you with social media and other digital ministry tools, take this quick survey and connect  today. 

 

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About Author

Tom Pounder
Tom Pounder

Tom Pounder was born and raised just outside of Washington, DC. He is the father of 4 daughters and loves being a girl dad. He has a background in Student Ministry working over 22 years with teenagers and currently serves as the Online Campus Pastor at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs and podcasts weekly at http://thechurch.digital.

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