Unleash the power of digital ministry with these 5 proven strategies. Engage your congregation, reach new people & transform your community.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many churches to adapt, and digital ministry has become increasingly important in recent years. While in-person gatherings faced limitations, digital platforms allowed churches to continue communicating and engaging with their congregations. These digital platforms have also opened up new and creative ways for churches to reach new people.
While some churches have seen success with digital ministry, others are struggling. However, one thing is certain: digital ministry is here to stay. Every church must embrace it to see growth and impact.
Before I share my five ideas, I want to encourage you to assess where your church currently stands. Knowing where you are is the best way to start any journey. This enables you to figure out the path to follow to reach the destination. If you need to develop a vision for your church's digital ministry, check out: "Every Church Media Ministry Needs a Vision - Do You Have One?"
If you want to assess the current state of your digital ministry and see how it aligns with your goals, you can use the Digital Ministry Assessment tool. Once you fill in your details, you'll receive a free 22-page report via email. It also has actionable tips to help you improve. To make the most of this tool, take advantage of it today.
Ready to begin to delve deeper into digital ministry? These five ideas will get you going.
These strategies focus on low-cost entry points that don't require significant additional resources. All will significantly enhance your digital ministry outreach.
Creating a podcast from your Sunday services can be a great way to reach a wider audience. Podcasts are a popular way to consume content; many people listen to them on the go. Now, your Sunday message is accessible to more people throughout the week, giving more scale to your digital ministry.
Many churches have started using this medium to share their messages with a wider audience. Have you considered doing the same? Recording your Sunday service and turning it into a podcast is a simple and cost-effective way to share your message with people who may not be able to attend in person or who want to re-listen to the message. This is another excellent use of digital ministry.
As a bonus idea, you could repurpose portions of your message for social media or other digital platforms. Maybe you can consider sharing these clips with your church's WhatsApp group, which is an excellent option for digital ministry. Suppose you have a video recording of your Sunday service. Then, use a tool such as "Sermon Shots" to convert the recording into smaller video clips and share them on social media. This keeps the message in front of your congregation throughout the week.
You can also take the transcript of your Sunday message and turn it into a blog post. Many solutions are available to help you with this. Doing this can also benefit the SEO on your website when you post them there. People consume in different ways. The same content can exist in multiple forms and thus be even more effective as a vehicle for digital ministry.
Launch a daily video, "Thought for the day", on social media. This is a brilliant way to use digital ministry to connect daily with your church members (and through them their networks). A daily video, "Thought for the day", can inspire and encourage your congregation when needed. This can be as simple as recording a short message on your phone and uploading it to your church's social media channels. I recommend you focus on real issues, addressing real problems people face. Doing this will result in your congregation sharing these videos with their networks as they speak to the needs of the people they know.
Limit the time to a known amount – say 60 seconds to 3 minutes. This helps the people following you understand the commitment before they watch. You could even use the duration in a snappy title: “A power minute from Pastor (insert your name)” or “90 seconds on inspiration with (insert your name)”. If you have a team ministry model, why not have different people do this daily? Thus sharing the load of your digital ministry.
Here, though, are two keys to using this successfully in digital ministry: 1. Decide on what you CAN do and do it consistently. It’s better to do something once a week every week than try to do it daily and not sustain it. 2. Keep it real. I am always a fan of quality; however, authenticity is key here. So record it real and raw – it will resonate much more with the viewers. In a minute, we will talk about church APPs and how you can use them to gather prayer requests etc. well, those prayer requests can also form the basis of the content you create for these "thoughts" too. That way, you will be ministering directly to the needs of your congregation.
Brené Brown says:
"Authenticity is a collective of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest."
One other option I encourage people to consider is to ask people for questions they want answered that came up from what they heard during the Sunday message and then use these “daily thoughts” to answer them. This does three things. It shows you value feedback. You increase the impact of what was shared (this is important in digital ministry). And it means you don’t have to create lots of new content. Instead, you build on foundations already laid. This is a brilliant starting point for any church that wants to create a “non-Sunday-based” digital ministry strategy.
Host a weekly social media prayer time. This one may take more work. That will depend on the specifics of what you want to do. However, it can be a wonderfully rewarding use of digital ministry. Social media has become a powerful tool for connecting with people and facilitating community. Using that power of connection to host a weekly social media prayer time is a great way to create a sense of community. This allows people to request prayer and have their needs met. That is the definition of Digital Ministry.
You can find many different technical solutions for this. The most basic is to choose ONE platform (probably Facebook) and use a mobile phone to go live. I recommend putting the phone on a stand because it's a lengthy period. Then, invite people to share their prayer requests in the comments section. You can pray for the prayer requests and encourage those watching to pray and support each other in real time. You lead and facilitate this but encourage your viewers to minister to each other via the comments.
It’s a great way to get your people “doing” digital ministry with each other.
Live stream (or record and publish later) your services on social media platforms. This is probably where most churches not engaged in digital ministry prior to the pandemic started. They had to find ways to stay connected with their congregation. However, it’s the most resource-intensive of all of the ideas I am sharing. If not done well, it can also be counterproductive. Many churches are still live-streaming their services on social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube. I hope you are also streaming on your website. Read why in this article: "How Do Digital Ministries Gain Power as Platform Gatekeepers?"
This is a wonderful use of digital ministry to reach people who cannot attend in person, and in its most basic form, it's relatively easy to begin. All you need is a smartphone and a stable internet connection. There are, of course, lots of other ways you can do this, too. But to begin with, you don’t need to overcomplicate things.
I have written extensively on live streaming in other blogs and will include links to those at the bottom of this article. If you plan on doing this, I will highlight: “The pros and cons of pre-recording your church LIVE Stream”. This will help you navigate the issues around the right way for you to do this. The solutions are not the same for everyone. Don’t for a minute think that if you are not “live streaming” but instead pre-recording and uploading the content, your digital ministry is less valuable; it isn’t. By doing this, your digital ministry can be more effective.
Create a church APP that connects members to the church and its activities. This can take some work. As you go, it will require refining and tweaking, but it can be a great form of digital ministry. You will need someone to update it, keep the content fresh, respond to and deal with messages, etc, but it is a valuable tool in your digital ministry armoury. Nowadays, people look for interactive ways to stay in touch and connect with their church. Standard websites don’t do it for most people.
Creating a church app that gives access to sermons, events, volunteer opportunities, and giving can provide a central place for many aspects of your digital ministry. Plus, you can add the ability for people to submit prayer requests, which you can also pray for in your weekly online prayer meetings and use as content ideas for your daily videos.
Church APPs are now accessible for every church and on a low budget. Some services can provide a basic APP framework that you can customise to your needs. A few to check out are Subsplash, Tithe.ly and Church Center (there are others). The key is to find one that works for you, has the features you want and is modifiable to meet your needs. If you get this working, it is a great way to use digital ministry.
Digital ministry offers many opportunities for churches to connect with their congregations and share their message with a wider audience. The above ideas are just a few examples of how churches can leverage digital platforms to reach and engage with people.
Each of these digital ministry ideas has a low-cost entry point and does not require a lot of additional resources, making them accessible to any church regardless of size or budget.
If you didn’t pause and take the Digital Ministry Assessment earlier, now is the time to do so.
Knowing where you are is the way you begin any journey.
Now you know where you are and where you want to go, it's time to get help.
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Here are some other blogs I have on Live Streaming: