Next Steps you can take in Church Online

About year and a half ago we started an online campus for our Church. We started it because after a series of conversations (one being with DJ Chuang), we really believed this was the next step for us and our Church.  So, we started small by just live streaming the services.

But we didn’t stop at just streaming our services live. Through God’s grace and goodness, our Online Campus has developed into much more. I’ll share more about what we’ve done below as they are great potential ideas for your Church. But, it has been a great start to our Online Campus because we know that it is just that….a start.  There is so much more we can do and will be doing in the future.

It is also exciting to see that there are so many other churches doing some variation of Church online.  Because, let’s be honest, the Church hasn’t always been known as a front runner with new technology.   According to an article in Christianity Today a few months back, 55% believe that churches will have to have a significant website or presence on the internet in order to remain effective.  In addition, 47% of senior pastors believe “that at least some people will experience their faith exclusively through the internet within the coming decade”.  That is great news!

imagesHowever, as encouraging as these stats are, online church still has its doubters.  I hear phrases like, “but that’s not really church”, “we need to get them in a building” and “it’s a good first step but they need real community” all the time still.  While some of those elements are true, the reality is that online church may be the ONLY church people experience for a variety of reasons. So, although it may not be “traditional church” or face-to-face community, people are still experience Christ and community together in an organized fashion. And that is Church.

So, as great of an experience it has been for people to be able to attend church online, it still faces challenges as churches decide what to do with the ever changing technology.

Regardless of the naysayers, the bottom line for me is that church online is a great “on ramp” for people to discover God and grow in community.  People are still hesitant to go to a physical church.  But by having an option where they can experience church in some form is a great start.

So, what can you do to minister to people online than just stream your church services?  What’s a next step for you?  Here are some ideas:

  • Start some Online Life Groups.  Online Life Groups are great opportunities for people to grow in their faith and ask questions.
  • Do some Video Devotionals.  We do weekly YouTube for families and individuals. You could also Periscope live devotionals or Bible studies for people to participate in.
  • Join the conversations going by creating social media channels dedicated your online community.
  • Prayer team. Have people praying for the Online Campus.
  • Rebroadcast your Sunday services throughout the week. We include a message from me, the Online Campus Pastor, 2 worship songs, the sermon and an exit by me with announcements and offering. It runs typically around 45 minutes (which is shorter than the main service).

 Or it can be something else entirely.  The reality is technology is always changing and providing us with opportunities to share about Christ through online avenues. For instance, Perisicpope was just entering the market a year ago.  Technology will change. It IS changing! The question is, will the church change with it and continue to take next steps to helping more people discover God? I sure hope so.

What do you think? What are some other next steps you can take in Online Ministry? Share below or on social media using #ymsidekick to share your ideas.

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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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