A couple days ago, we talked about building your church’s online ministry. Now, we’re diving into the ways we can encourage real online community. You’re probably asking, “Sly, is that even possible?” The answer is yes!
Keep in mind that it will take hard work and investment to really get your online church moving in the direction you want, but in the end it's worth all of the work. Here are a couple ideas for how you can engage with the people who log on for your services:
Create a space for conversation
TWC Talk Back is like the post game show debrief, after service is over. Along with our online campus team and pastor, we go live immediately after 2nd service and begin discussing the morning message, sharing our thoughts and insight. Check it out!
The overall response has been AMAZING! We get a chance to interact and answer questions from those watching online and that creates real engagement, giving people the opportunity to truly be a part of what’s going on, even if they aren’t physically there. We’ve had so many people respond and share how important the time is to them. That's what I call engaging the online community!
Consider starting small groups
Another point of community engagement happens with our small groups. Small groups are truly what connect people in your ministry. You may hear things like, “The church is too big” or “I don’t know anyone.” Well, small groups bring people together and provide that sense of community, because ultimately, you can’t do life alone.
Small groups are a major part of our ministry at TWC and yes, we have online small groups! I know, I know, you’re saying, “Sly, HOW are you doing that?” There are many ways to approach this and honestly you have to use a strategy that’s best for your ministry. Here's how we did it.
Since we weren’t running our traditional Bible study during our small group semesters, I thought it was a good idea to create something that would still engage our online campus and those following us on social media. We decided to host our small group on Periscope. All I can say is WOW! God is truly awesome!
Usually, I open up the topic of discussion for the session and then my team and I talk through the topic and field questions from those that are watching online. We’ve received incredible feedback from countless people saying how much they love the small group: “This is truly authentic!” to “We appreciate the transparent conversations.” People from literally all over the world tune in each week—our highest attendance number was 1,500 people! I take ZERO credit! God gets all of the glory!
We received a powerful testimony from someone in California who was so blessed by one of our sessions that he said it actually changed his life. Stories like that are what drive me to push even harder and take what we do to the next level!
You can make a difference in the lives of people online. The question is, will you get out there and make it happen for your church?!
Subscribe for our third and final post in the Online Ministry series where we’ll talk about establishing your church’s social media strategy.