3 BEST PRACTICES FOR A HEALTHY ONLINE CHURCH COMMUNITY
I can already feel the surprise on your faces, but that doesn’t answer the question. I know you might want to talk about fellowship, but why do we “fellowship”? Is it a necessity or a means to an end? In a world that people are generally at loggerheads with opinions because of generational disparities. That is why having a healthy church community that will house multiple generations is crucial.
Sunday worship service is probably the most resemblance we had to a church community in the past decade. However, the Covid-19 virus put some restrictions, and the Church had to draw up new ways of learning to love and spread the gospel. We are now in the wake of the new normal. Physical church services are no longer a guarantee for the growth of a healthy church community, are they?
Covid-19 has acted in the capacity of a mission trip for the analog Church. We thought we were going on a short-term trip to a foreign land, but the plans changed. On getting there, we had to learn their language and ways of life to survive. The uncertainty of this trip is that we are not going back to the old city we came from, and we do not know where we would be heading next. All we know is that we must adapt to survive.
It has shown us that an online church is more than simply streaming a worship service. The place of discipleship cannot be over-emphasized. Any church that trades discipleship and membership community growth in exchange for virtual worship services is treading on a dangerous path.
Most churches have now returned to physical gatherings, attracting smaller crowds and necessitating appropriate spacing and masks. It also lacks the fellowship practices that were once part of the traditional church setup. However, church leaders must not be deceived by the high viewership of online services as it does not translate to a healthy church growth strategy unless we manage it properly.
Let me share three vital things a church must do to continue to thrive digitally without losing its healthy membership community.
1. GROWTH MUST BE ABOUT CHANGE, NOT SOCIAL MEDIA TRACTION
Christians have seen new wine, and it tastes better and is more refreshing. Should we then place the demand on them to continue relishing the vintage wine? The Church has gone through series of changes to attain this stage, and it will not stop. With each advance, we have wrestled with the effects of technology on power, ministry, and trust. Before now, the Church has had little or no reason to bother about its impact on growth and membership community. That is because the challenge was not present, but thanks to Covid-19 and its strains, we now know how much it affects the Church’s growth and membership community.
The Sunday-centric approach to the gospel and soul winning is long overdue. Even social media platforms have not helped so much; the church community is hungry for more!
We need to be open to more creative and innovative ways of spreading the gospel digitally in a healthily growing kingdom-focused community. That sounds like too much to chew, but I assure you that it is simple with the right digital product.
That is a strong wake-up call to place our efforts on building community growth among the Church’s online viewers/members. We can raise a formidable army for Christ with these people- it is possible. The first step is to recognize the need for urgent adaptation to the change associated with the New Normal. Then, we must be re-dedicated to the true calling of the Church, which is to serve. How do we fulfilling this calling if we are not consciously building a community?
The digital growth the church desires can only be achieved when we begin to adapt to the “New Normal” by leveraging technology beyond the social media space. Churchpad’s Membership will help you build a healthy community of online viewers who will be part of an army for Christ. Leverage on it.
2. EMPLOY INTERACTIVE METHODS
Every recent church-goer, online or physically, wants to have real-time interaction with the speaker. We are all social creatures, and our needs for social interactions have grown sporadically since the introduction of the lockdown. To adapt to the new normal, we must learn to create opportunities for social engagement online. Having active social media pages is a must, but it has proven not to be enough. The Church needs to own a digital avenue where its people (Multigenerational) can feel safe and connected without intrusions from ads and other social media pages.
Let’s face it- your audience- especially people still in their active ages- already access social media while you preach. Why should we not then employ an interactive and exclusive tool that will give them a suiting experience? This tool will also communicate the message you are trying to pass across. It may be out of your comfort zone, but it is a vital enhancement to the worship experience.
3. REVISIT YOUR MUSIC
Sometimes the Choir forgets that we are no longer in the 1990s, and as a result, they get stuck singing the songs that reigned a decade ago in 2021. I am not discounting the fact that those songs probably still have mindful effects on people. All I am trying to say is that the music department of every Church needs to keep the upgrade steady so that they can cater to their online audiences appropriately. This department must be flexible with its worship patterns to accommodate and endear people digitally to their Church.
When you put yourself in your member’s shoes, how do you usually feel about the kind of music your Choir sings? You may either sing along or hum in response. Most online viewers won’t sing along when the worship session is taking too long. The Choir can consider having unique renditions and keep music interludes brief. They must be conscious of their online audience and let the worship service breathe.
Not limited to the above, every Church must leverage a digital technology like ChurchPad to manage their online viewership, merging it with their physical attendance to build into a healthy online community that will propagate the gospel continually.