So, here are Seven Ways You Can Prep Your Church Online for Easter.
1) Ask QuestionsWhen people get stressed, they tend to not communicate effectively. Last minute changes and details are common in Church environments leading up to Easter services... don't be afraid to ask questions.
- Are there any special elements during the worship service that won't work for Easter? What is the plan visibly and audibly for those elements to be experienced online.
- What is the feel of the lobby and environment outside as people are coming in? How can that be replicated online?
2) Take Advantage of Extra Services
Most churches run extra services to allow for maximum load of their physical location seating capacity. Take advantage of these extra services and broadcast them as well. Do you have a Good Friday service? Don't be afraid to broadcast the extra service online. Take the opportunity to test out some new service times... see how people respond! Doing physical services Saturday? Do them Online too! The more exposure, the more opportunities you have to engage people.
3) Invite a crowd
There are plenty of different ways to invite people to an Easter Church Online service. Here's just a few:
- get a list of anyone who's attended a physical service in the past year who lives 25+ miles away from your church. Invite via email.
- do the same thing for anyone who's given to your church financially but lives 25+ miles away.
- Invite anyone who has attended an online service in the past two years.
- create graphics to get people to share, inviting people to attend your easter service.
- do an Easter preview launch party online, hyping attendees to invite. Use Facebook Watch Party or other tools.
- create a facebook campaign when people search for "fun things to do for Easter" your church service online comes up. (not a bad idea for your physical church location too!)
- At the end of your Easter services at the physical locations, ask the audience to share the service they just watched online.
Don't be afraid to over-invite.
4) Engage, Engage, Engage
We talk about "engagement" so much the word itself has lost meaning. Are we talking getting married or Star Trek? Who can tell anymore.
One of the hardest things to do in Church Online is to get someone who doesn't want to talk to anyone to start talking to someone. This Easter, double up your Chat Hosts. With Church Online, sometimes you need to emulate the behavior you want. So, have one Chat Host who's hosting. Have another Chat Host who's not acting like a host, but like a very "engaged" Online Attender. It's a lot easier for someone in isolation to jump into a chat when it's already happening.
Interestingly, if you do pay for Facebook marketing above, you will get random people who will like the ad or the post. Engage with them via Facebook as well. See if they're interested in attending the service, or even more information on your Church Online. Never hurts to reach out.
5) Next Steps?
Now is the time to develop your plan for Next Steps... As soon as that Easter Service is over it's execution time! So, a new person you connect with, what is a good next step? Invite to a Facebook Watch Party during the week? Or to Church Online the next week? What about a session talking about your church? Or a Small Group? Whatever your discipleship pathway is for your Online Attenders, intentionally find a place for any person your church engaged with online and get them connected. Also, know how you are going to connect with them. The more you can create this content before Easter weekend, the easier it will be for you to reach out to the new people quickly.
6) Thank You. No Really, Thank You.
Many, many people are involved in creating the content that is experienced via Church Online each week... graphic artists, video guys, sound guys, vocalists, band members, communicator... you know who these people are. This Easter, take time and tell them Thank You. Oh, and when God does something awesome thru Church Online... tell these people the story, so they can celebrate what God did with their serving through Church Online. Many are thankful. Few stop and communicate it.
Are you Mary or Martha? We've all gone through seasons of our life where, if we're honest with ourselves, we behave more like Martha (working for the Kingdom) even though we want to be more like Mary (sitting at the feet of Jesus). This Easter, don't forget to pray for the services (at locations, and online). Pray that God will do God-sized things through Church Online. Pray that God will use this season to make disciples thru your Church Online.