Your online church is an extension of your physical church
In many churches, you will have one person who oversees the website along with all the social media channels. Finding someone with the gift of web design and social media communication can be difficult for many churches. These skills can be a challenge to find in a congregation, and even if you find someone who has the gift, they also have to be willing to help. If you can pull together a group of creative people who have different gifts (writers, photographers, videographers, audio, greeters, pastors, graphics), then your team can work together to get your online presence where it needs to be.
It takes a village
This mindset has made the church so successful in promoting and fostering great experiences during a Sunday morning service. When you drive in the parking lot, you encounter an attendant who smiles and waves as you pull in to park your car. You walk up to the church and someone opens the door and welcomes you. You see an information desk full of volunteers to tell you about all the exciting things the church has to offer. Next, you walk into the sanctuary and are greeted again by an usher who helps you find the perfect seat. As you experience the church service, you notice there are many others working together to make the service a success! After church, you go online to engage with the church community, only to find the online community doesn’t exist or reflect the great experience you witnessed during service.
Oftentimes, when you visit a church online, you get the feeling that the church services are being run by one person. This one person greeted you in the parking lot, opened the door of the church, escorted you to the information desk, and walked you to your seat. Then, they ran lights, sound, led worship while putting the lyrics on the screen, and delivered the sermon. This would be an overwhelming experience for one person and would probably make for an unfavorable experience for the congregation. Unfortunately, this is how many churches run their online presence. One person, trying to foster an environment of community and fellowship. It doesn’t work. Or, at least, it doesn’t work as well as it should.
Build your village online
The Tech Age is still very new and always evolving. This ever-changing technical world can be scary for some. Especially, if they are unfamiliar with computer technology. But, just because it can be scary, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. There are many resources out there to help you get started. Google is a great place to begin your search. You can also hire someone who has experience to come and train you on effective online communication. Look to your church congregation as well. There may be someone with a skillset of marketing/social media who would be willing to lead a ministry geared towards spreading the Good News to the online world. Get your staff and ministry leaders together and have professional development courses at your church. Always remember, people spend a lot of time online. If you communicate with online visitors as if they are walking into your church, then you will begin to see a movement that will not only grow your discipleship online, but within your physical church as well.