I joined a church plant this year. Not on staff or anything like that, just as a member. I like church plants because I enjoy the freedom to “shake it up” and that you are often forced to innovate.
Now it should come as no surprise that I think one of the biggest areas to shake up and innovate right now is integrating a digital presence that supports your physical church… I consult, manage, and write about church technology after all! 😉
Here’s the thing though, is the technology most churches are leveraging today enhancing disicpleship or is it a continuation of a “culture of attendance?” I would argue that most churches broadcast things in the digital sphere: sermons via livestreams/recordings, announcements via posts, devotional articles on websites, even courses via webinars. Here’s a few things… and these are really low-hanging fruit that any church can implement… that can really shake up both the use of digital as well as attendance culture.
1. Implement “they ask you answer”
People ask pastors and churches a lot of questions. For every person asking a question there’s usually many more that want an answer to that question but haven’t asked. Every question you get, answer it, keep it, and turn it into content for your digital ministry. It may not be the pinnacle of engagement, but at least you are providing a way for people to get spiritual development 24/7 (and people will forward that content when people ask them that question so you are better equipping your members on multiple fronts).
2. Interview your members
Your church should absolutely have a podcast and every member of your church should get invited as a guest. They can share their testimony, they can share how they live out their faith at work, they can talk about their experiences with parenting, so on and so forth. This does a few cool things, first, everybody shares with their entire social network when they are interviewed on a podcast because it’s cool to get invited onto a podcast, so you’ve equipped them to evangelize their friends and family in a very natural way. Second, members get to know each other; even in the average church of around 100 people, there are people you don’t know all that well. Third, it’s a great way to promote ministry involvement as well.
3. Do a “what to expect” video and page
You are going to have people who encounter your church digitally that will eventually desire to attend physically. You can remove a lot of anxiety of attending a new church (and, make no mistake, it is anxiety inducing to visit a church for the first time) by having a “what to expect” video that walks people through where to park, what to expect at the front door, where kids church is, what worship is like, etc. and a page that lets people view the video and do things like pre-register their kids for kids church or request a “buddy” to meet them, attend the service with them, and introduce them to people.