A church’s online presence is an opportunity to share the gospel, strengthen members and draw in new visitors. But creating social media accounts and uploading videos or blog posts isn’t enough to effectively engage your church audience. To inspire the people who follow your church online to take action and deepen their faith, you need a strategy that goes beyond the digital realm. That’s not to say your online presence isn’t extremely helpful in advancing your ministry goals. Your website, blog, Instagram, Facebook and other profiles are great ways to let people know about upcoming events, provide information about the congregation and even collect email addresses for future updates. The trick is figuring out how you can leverage these tools for greater impact by incorporating them into various programs that lead people toward action. Here are six ways you can do that this year:
Host online events that build relationships
Online communities are great for asking questions, getting feedback on projects, and even finding job advice. But when it comes to building relationships, online interactions lack the emotional power that in-person connections have. That’s why one of the best ways to engage your online audience is by bringing people together through virtual events. Whether you host a webinar, Facebook Live session, or a Youtube Livestream, these events offer a space to foster genuine relationships that can’t be replicated in the digital world. Webinars are helpful for sharing information and answering questions, while Facebook Lives and Youtube Livestreams are excellent for facilitating dialogue. Depending on the topic, you might even want to host a Instagram Story discussion or create a thread of conversations in a place like Tik Tok.
Create a weekly habit with online discussions
Social media is filled with discussion threads, but most of them occur in bursts during the week. To create a consistent interaction that leads to a weekly habit, you can host an online discussion where people respond to a prompt every Friday for example. This works particularly well for Facebook groups since you can recommend people post their thoughts in a single thread each week. You can also host this discussion on a blog or forum that’s connected to your church. You can even take it a bit further by having people respond to the prompt in the form of a creative project, like a video, audio recording or even writing a short article.
Offer opportunities to serve digitally
When they think of contributing to the church, most people envision visiting the local congregation or volunteering at a service project. While these in-person ways of serving are excellent, they aren’t feasible for everyone. That’s why it’s helpful to provide online ways for your online audience to help you accomplish your goals. Whether you create an online forum for people to discuss the issues impacting their communities, create a website that helps local residents find important resources or build a channel on a social media site where people can share advice and support each other, you can provide people with ways to serve digitally.
Develop educational online resources
Just as people can contribute to your ministry online, you can also use the digital realm to educate your followers about the Bible, Christian practices and other faith-related topics. This can include posting articles on your blog, creating YouTube videos or even hosting a podcast. While you can certainly try to engage your audience with these tools, they’re also valuable ways to share information and deepen people’s understanding of the Christian faith. You may even want to create content that’s not directly related to your church, but still offers value to your online audience.
Build up your team of volunteers and leaders
For many of the above points, you need to start with a vision for what you want to achieve and then find ways to facilitate that. But if you don’t have the staffing or experience to follow through on these goals, it can be a waste of time to try to engage your online audience in these ways. Instead, figure out what kind of leaders and volunteers you need to make these strategies work. You can cultivate this by bringing online audiences into more traditional church settings, like hosting online forums on your website or inviting guests on your social media accounts to get involved in real-life activities, like Bible study groups.
Your church’s online presence is an opportunity to share the gospel, strengthen members and draw in new visitors. These are only a few ways that goal can be accomplished. Do your due diligence, search this amazing platform that is the Digital World, there are fantastic voices speaking into these spaces for the Church. Spend a free hour or a weekend and become well-versed to be able to tackle the next largest ministry in your church, your online expression of church for your community.