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May10MonAim for Engagement, not Views May 10, 2021 Corps Mission Resource
Keys to Launching a Digital Church
- Filed Under:
- Ministry Resources
1. Recognize it is not a competition and be true to who God has made you to be. (You can’t compete with the production level of online churches such as Elevation, LifeChurch or other online ministries in terms of content, but God has uniquely gifted you to reach people in a way that no other church can. Dig deep into vision, and know who you are, why you exist and who you are called to reach. For us we knew God was calling us to reach Global people.
2. Measure engagement not views. Ask yourself how will I engage people in discipleship not just viewership? Traditionally we measure a church’s impact by how many people attend a service and physically are in our pews. However, in online church; to simply measure a view does not necessarily reflect if you are making an impact. Views are deceptive, and often it is hard to distinguish actual attendance from a short view. Some platforms like Facebook or YouTube will record an engagement as view, but it doesn’t mean that person watched or participated in your entire worship service. They may have only attended a short segment of a few minutes. The goal should be engaging as many people in your discipleship process as possible, and measure your success on who is walking with you, not who is watching you. -Great tools you can use- -YouVersion Bible App (Free)- www.bible.com Has thousands of Bible plans where you can set up small private chat groups and reading groups within the app. A great way to get your members engaging daily in discipleship. - Right Now Media- Great for online bible study material, etc. They have hundreds of video Bible studies that could be used for online groups. (Monthly Membership required)
3. Begin your online presence long before your official launch. It takes time to build a presence online. It takes time before algorithms will pick up and distribute your content to even the people who choose to follow you. It doesn’t happen overnight. Consider who you can reach, learn how to utilize your strengths and use that to reach people who will relate to you.
Budget for increasing your reach online through targeted advertising. Consider this as part of your evangelism budget. (FYI....when you post your content on Facebook the organic reach is only about 20% of your following) *Story of the Facebook Ad- Letina and Gerhardt. Letina is one of our launch team members. She is from Eritrea and her husband is from Germany. They decided to try to invite people from her language group living in Germany to join our online Easter Service. They created a simple selfie video with a smart phone...inviting people to our service in her language. We boosted her video on Facebook (at a cost of 2 cents per click) and we had more than 600 people visit our church website through that welcome video. Around 50 of those people now follow us on Facebook and we are starting to engage with them.
4. Post regularly, but not incessantly. Choose Quality over Quantity. You don’t want to drive people away with too much content. Don’t just advertise what you are doing but try to encourage social interaction with your posts Churches tend to use social media to advertise events, but you should try to get social interaction and content that helps people in their day to day life. Most people aren’t interested in our advertisements.
Think of content that you would want to like or share naturally, and also consider what interests your target audience. Ideas of Meaningful non- event posts - Post scriptures or a quote that is both meaningful and connects to a recent message or your vision that is shareable. Be sure to use a good Instagramable image. (Canva is a great tool for making creating your own social media content https://www.canva.com/ ) -Consider posting short testimonial videos from your team -Create posts that ask people what they need prayer for. -Ask members to make personal very short invitation videos to join in what you are doing, like a bible reading plan, small group, seminar etc.
5. Choose your digital platforms wisely. Maximize the potential of each digital platform you use for your ministry
Start with one and do it well.... Don’t try to do everything. Ask yourself where the people you want to reach are online and start with the platform you think will best reach them. (For us it is still Facebook as our main one, but for your church another platform may be better)
Consider making your primary way for hosting your service on platforms that allow better engagement. Remember not everyone is on Facebook and Youtube and both these platforms won’t allow them to leave their screen without losing the service audio. If they scroll. Consider using church online platforms that allow you to measure engagement, collect contact info and give versatility in the way you can minister online...such as giving opportunities , invitations to receive Jesus or receive prayer privately through chat functions. Check out the church.online platform, which is free for churches to use. https://churchonlineplatform.com/
Make content platform appropriate. If you want people to share and pass on your content on platforms like Facebook or Instagram consider editing down your content to the highlights of your message. After Sunday consider posting Micro-messages...these are shorter versions of your sermon that are concise, to the point and meaningful and most importantly shareable. Keep in mind people will not easily sit and watch a one hour service online if they are not present on the livestream.
If you post on YouTube, consider renaming the message to a question people are asking. Many people now use YouTube as a search engine searching for life’s questions such as “How do I overcome depression? How do I have a happy marriage? Etc. Renaming messages to what people may search for
may give you organic reach to unbelievers that may need to hear your message.
6. Create regular entry points for people to join with you by facilitating relational digital or offline interactions. Remembering your goal is engagement, not views. Learn how to communicate clearly to people on how they can get connected into your church community. Make clear appeals to join any relational opportunities such as a reading plan, or small group or Make it easy for people to find the information they need. Expect that you will have guests every single service and communicate in such a way if a person was to join for the first time that they would understand clearly how to get involved if they choose to. ...use links and QR codes in the chat or on the screen. Make the invite super clear on how to get involved and make it available in a variety of ways. Recognize each person speaks a different digital language....some people are visual, some love email, some like text or WhatsApp, some love Instagram or Facebook....If you communicate using only on one channel, the people you are trying to reach may not get the information they need to engage with you as a community.
7. Ways to increase engagement Sunday Worship -Drive people to a live online service with human interaction. Avoid just posting your service and hoping people will watch at leisure. Make use of platforms that have chat features, ability to pray for people etc. -Create a culture of opening a digital lobby pre or post service for people to connect -Consider using platforms like Lobby App or Zoom to get people to connect post service. You can preset rooms and ask volunteers to be present in those rooms to help people get connected. ROOM IDEAS Get to know your pastor room Prayer Room How to join a small group room Hang out room Decide how you will lead people into discipleship. Some ideas could be -Launching a new plan in the Bible app every 3-4 weeks -Small groups with regular intervals people can join. -Prayer groups -Prayer partners -Community Service -Online courses Host a live webinar to reach your community- invite experts to talk on -Finances in COVID
-Mental Health -Helping children cope in a crisis. Meet a community need. -Start an online kids club for kids in lockdown or a digital mom’s group. -Start a Facebook group in your neighbourhood you live to get to know your neighbourhood. (Make this a neighbourhood group, not your churches) -Create serving opportunities. What is the need of your community? Host a drive by food drive, grocery drop off ministry etc.
8. Foster an attitude of Learning: Learn from other churches and other ministries....ask lots of questions. Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to observe and learn from other churches. See what they are doing online and learn from one another.