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VLOG 001: Engagement vs Reach for Your Church, Online




Hey Jeff with THECHURCH.DIGITAL here. One of the top questions I get any given week, and by the way, this is also one of the largest searches we have in this COVID season through Google that hits our website is how do we count people that attend our services online? You see, I think churches out there, we have this physical idea of we're counting the butts in the seats, the people that are attending and we're trying to figure out how to replicate that in, in digital space because we're doing these church online services and we're considering also as we're going back to the building, continuing it on and we're trying to figure out how to compare the two together. And, and I'm just, I'm going to be honest talking to this lens and to everyone else who's watching this blog. Yeah, you really it's not an apples to apples comparison in here.


See what happens is if like for instance, I'll take myself last week when I watch church online with my family, there was me, my wife and my two kids were in the room. We were watching it on an Apple TV and then my wife had her laptop open, was in the chat room and my daughter had her Chromebook open as well in the chat room. So with the four of us in the room, there were three different devices that were watching the same service. So the system would have logged three instead of four. And this is where multipliers come in, where we try to add a multiplier to guess how many people are behind the devices which may or may not be accurate because in like the next week when I watched the service with my family, the same four of us were watching the church service.


Two of the kids were kind of tuned in. They were really kind of zoned out over on the side. So I'm not sure whether they should really be counted because they were just kind of cuddled up watching, resting for us to watch the kid service after the adult service was over. But then my wife and I were totally tapped in, but no other devices. So was that two or should that have been four? It's, it's one of these things that if you're really trying to compare physical versus online the numbers really get squirrely. And if you're really looking for that apples to apples comparison, I'm not sure it really exists. You see what we're talking about really here is his reach, the number of people that you're getting with your online service, with your church, online broadcast, with your, essentially your content.


How far is it going by the way? The busiest way to really increase your reach is to take out a check, write it to Google, write it to, you know, Facebook and just pay for your video broadcast to go out. I don't, I don't know that the success of a church online or the healthiness of a church had really been be dictated by writing a check. So while the benefit of, of doing reach and being aware and trying to get your broadcast out as far as possible, well that one hour on Sunday really doesn't define your church online any more than it does your regular church broadcast. Like there's more to to your physical church buildings than, than just that one hour right there. There's like small groups they're serving opportunities. There's being on mission. Chances are at some level you've got probably a really rich discipleship process.


You see in online circles. That's what we call engagement. Like the small groups or when you have a, literally the word engagement means a two way conversation. And so small groups is an opportunity to have a two way conversation where you guys can converse together in small groups, get to know one another, build relationships in physical space church. We've done a lot of that by the way. We've moved our physical small groups over to, to virtual in this COVID season. And I think church, we've learned lessons about engaging people, but that engagement, the pathway of engaging throughout your, your church, that's really the metric to celebrate the amount of people that you're reaching, the amount of people who are watching your content, whatever the formula is that, that you guys are contriving at your churches is building up. It's not telling the full story of, of your church.


Now, your church may have some phenomenal other stories that are happening that you need to dig into, but you may not be engaging with those people. Who are the new people who are watching your church right now? How can you engage them? Maybe it's through an after service party. Maybe it's through a virtual lobby. Maybe it's through a super group gathering that's a safer environment for people to plug into before you really get into small groups of supergroup, maybe doing like a sermon based Bible study or something you want to try. The hardest thing, this is so true. The hardest thing in church online circles is to move people from that church service into an environment of small groups because people are watching basically you don't know who they are. They're, they're watching church in isolation and it's up for us church to discover who these people are, engage them, and then take them through your engagement pathways where we're calling it.


Essentially, that's where you get them connected into small groups where you get them connected into serving opportunities where you get them on mission and discipleship relationships where you replicate the rest of the church beyond that one hour on Sunday and do that fidget Tully through both physical and digital because after all, if all we're doing is reaching and we're not helping people engage, well shoot. That's, that's consumerism. Reach without engagement is consumerism. In our churches, our church onlines are not supposed to be consumers. God didn't call us through Cray consumers. He called us to create disciples, which happens through engagement. You see there's an importance of reach and we want to celebrate the number of people who are watching a service. We do. It's important, but that's not the end game. The end game isn't getting them started. The end game is getting them through that engagement pathway, walking them all the way around to the point that they have a better understanding, maybe even to the place where they can start to walk others through that same process as well where they can be spiritually responsible for that next level person.


Some of you may have questions you, you want to talk about this. You don't want to just listen to a one way communication. You don't want to be a consumer. You want this to apply so, and you want to work through it. So engage in a two way conversation with myself and some other guys through stadia, over at the stadia church, online, Facebook. This video may have reached you. Now let's engage and talk about it. So here's what you do. Go to ... That'll redirect you into the Facebook group. And feel free to jump in there and we would love to hear from you. Thanks, y'all have a good day.


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About Author

Jeff Reed
Jeff Reed

With about 20 years experience serving the church in the digital/technological realm, Jeff loves working with churches. As passionate about Discipleship as he is Technology, Jeff uses his passion to help Churches develop technology systems to bring people far from God closer to him. Oh, and he loves Digital Church & Church Online.

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