"What do we do now?" Pastor Greg asked his executive pastor, Marcia, as they left an all-day strategy meeting with their team.
"With COVID closures and drops in donations, we can't continue to not meet anymore. People are struggling. We need a way to keep growing despite the changes we are facing. We need to engage our community online," Pastor Marcia responded, rubbing out a headache.
"We received a lot of great ideas," said Pastor Greg. "Let's pick the ones that will best serve our church moving forward."
Pastor Marcia nodded, grabbing a dry-erase marker. "Then I suggest we get started mapping out what will work best for us."
"I'll grab us some more coffee," said Pastor Greg, smiling.
Keep reading to learn the online ministry strategies Pastors Greg and Marcia discovered to reach their church in new ways.
How to Expand Your Reach Online
Pastors Greg and Marcia aren't the only ones dealing with having to come up with creative ideas to keep their church community connected and engaged. Churches across the nation are working tirelessly to figure out ways to keep their congregations united while still working to share the gospel.
There are countless ways to creatively use online platforms for your church or ministry. However, you'll need a solid foundation to move forward with your online strategy.
First, you need a website. A website is your home base, if you will, for people to go online to not only learn more about your ministry but have various ways of staying connected as well. A website is a major extension of your church or ministry. And sometimes, it's someone's first impression of you. That's why you'll want to make sure your website adheres to your brand, mission and vision.
Second, you will want to have at least one active social media account on major platforms:
If your team is pretty comfortable with social media, then TikTok, Snapchat and other streaming platforms are great additional accounts to launch. If it seems really overwhelming just thinking about managing these social media platforms, be encouraged! There are social media managing platforms that help keep all of your content organized such as Planoly, Later and Hootsuite.
Pro tip: Don't be afraid to recruit volunteers! If this is not your strong suit, make social media management and website creation a collaborative endeavor. Just know, you will want best practices and policies in place to protect everyone involved when interacting online on behalf of your church.
5 Online Ministry Ideas to Increase Your Impact
Consider each idea; pray through it, and see which ones will fit best for your church and growth strategy.
1. Online prayer meetings. If your church is just starting or you are looking for a way to connect with your community online regularly, creating a space online for prayer is a great way to go. You can do a prayer service, something a bit longer and formally put together, or you can go the more informal route, where you hop on Facebook for a few minutes at a specific time every day to pray and give a quick encouraging word.
For this idea, use Facebook Live and Instagram Live.
2. Online services. While your church may not be able to meet in a physical location, you can still gather together online. You can still have worship, prayer, live teaching and more through various online streaming platforms.
For this idea, use Facebook Live, YouTube, Zoom or Vimeo.
3. Online Bible studies. Another way to keep your community engaged and in the Word of God is to have Bible studies. Much like the structure of the prayer online, pick a time for every week, and share the Word of God. This can be as formal or informal as you would like it to be.
You can use Facebook groups or apps like GroupMe to keep everyone connected for ongoing Bible study discussions.
For this idea, use Facebook Live, Instagram Live or Zoom.
4. Online conferences and webinars. Something that can be a lot of fun not only for your congregation but also for new visitors is to host an online conference. You can create a theme for your conference, invite guest speakers, have a panel discussion around specific topics and so much more. Typically, you want to have a conference no more than once a quarter. Some do one a year; others do up to four a year.
For this idea, use Zoom, BigMarker or any online conference platform.
5. Host an online party or game night. Creating a space for your community to come together for simple fun and connection can make a huge difference in a time when many feel disconnected. Consider starting a game night for your youth group or hosting an online movie party to bring everyone together. You could also get interactive by including a trivia time to keep discussions going and give out prizes like a digital gift or coffee card. You can even create an online Bible scavenger hunt and split your group off into teams to accomplish the activity.
When you get creative with online ideas, the sky is truly the limit for creating community and connection within your groups.
Time to Get Started
"There, I think we have it!" Pastor Marcia exclaimed as she and Pastor Greg reviewed their mapped-out ideas on the whiteboard.
"I think putting more effort and resources into our Sunday online services, creating Bible studies and launching an online conference will be great ways to reach our community," Pastor Greg added.
"I agree! We can still be very creative with what we have and what we are going to develop. I think this is going to shift some things excellently for our church," Pastor Marcia said. "And I can't wait to get started!"
At StartCHURCH, we want to help you succeed in your God-given mission. If you need help increasing your impact online, give us a call at (855) 808-1057 or visit our website to schedule a call with a specialist.
For the original article, visit startchurch.com.
Reverend Christine Bové works on StartCHURCH's Digital Products Team. Every day, Christine serves to create products to better the lives of pastors and ministry leaders. She also serves as a StartSITES Creative Specialist and serves on the Tech Support Team. She is passionate about curating experiences to help pastors and ministry leaders, equipping them to serve their best and make their dreams come true.
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