iMinistry Conference Day 1 Recap

I’m no stranger to conferences. I’ve been going to conferences since 1997 when I started doing Student Ministry. However this was my first non-Student/Family Ministry conference I’ve been to since 1999 when I went to Saddleback’s Purpose Driven Church Conference.

logoLast week I was at the iMinistry Conference in Dallas, TX to meet up with between 100 or so ministry leaders who are actively trying to do online ministry. Here are some of the notes from Day 1:

When people participate online, especially chat during the service, they have a real connection. It may not be a face-to-face in person connection but it is a real connection with people and feel apart of an actual community.

Out of that, however we need to ask: 1. How can we get more online attendees to come to a physical campus? 2. How can we get people to connect on-site like they connect online?

We heard from Angela Perritt, founder of Lovegodgreatly.com. It’s an online bible study for women. She had some great things to say about online groups:

  • Facebook groups but they also have email groups
  • Make sure all materials are free for people
  • She created the site to meet a need. When we start a group, what is the need you are trying to meet?
  • 8 week groups are ideal (women need an end point)…12 weeks a little long
  • There are 1 or 2 leaders per group
  • Take social media seriously (they share images to leaders who share it with their group, they blog regularly, do videos to go along with the studies and post discussion questions to go along with blogs)

After Angela, Jason Morris (Westside Family Church), Alan George (Lifechurch.tv), Nils Smith (Community Bible Church) and Jay Kranda (Saddleback Church) shared a year in review of Online Ministry.

Chat allows people to connect but Chat is only valuable if there is only a mass of people who participate in it.

Saddleback went from over 160 rebroadcasts a week (a rebroadcast every hour on the hour) to an On-Demand service.

Other thoughts on rebroadcasting:

  • Rebroadcasting accelerates growth and community
  • Church Online records a message for the online community…rebroadcasts have shorter sermons and the sermons are 1st then worship later…people want to hear the message

Saddleback uses online extensions which is 70 people or more watching at one time…great way to launching campuses

Biggest learning over the past year:

  • it’s about people…technology is a tool (Alan George)
  • workaholism even though for God is not glorifying to God…leading effectively (Nils Smith)
  • church online is different than current church…let Jesus guide you and build his Church (Jason Morris)

What do you think about the thoughts on small groups and rebroadcasting? What else stuck out to you the 1st day of the iMinistry Conference?

Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at YMSidekick.com and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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