Captivate your church audience with this comprehensive guide. Boost engagement, foster community, and thrive together.
In today's fast-paced digital world, the importance of engaging with your church audience beyond the traditional 90 minutes of a Sunday service has never been more vital.
While those hours in the pews are valuable, the reality is that people consume vast amounts of media throughout the week. Much of it may not help their Spiritual life.
Netflix marathons, reality TV shows, podcasts, and the continuous barrage of social media, mean your congregation is being "discipled" in multiple ways.
But don't fret! There's a solution: effective digital ministry. You can reach your church audience with potent content to help them grow beyond your time together on a Sunday.
In this blog, we'll explore the challenges you have with limited access to your church audience on Sundays. The challenges posed in their lives and faith by media saturation. Then we will provide concrete solutions churches can implement to reach and connect with their church audience effectively throughout the week.
For many churches, the challenge is that there is limited time they have to impact their congregation. Ninety minutes on a Sunday can feel like a drop in the ocean in a world that offers constant digital distractions and entertainment. It's a challenge to make a lasting impression and engage your church audience in their daily lives.
Our church members lead lives immersed in media. They binge-watch series on Netflix, keep up with the latest reality TV shows, and listen to podcasts during their commutes.
Meanwhile, they are constantly bombarded with advertisements, online content, and social media posts – many of which do nothing to build them up and edify them.
For instance, the average time spent on social media in April 2023 was 2 hours and 24 minutes. That is an enormous 16 hours and 48 minutes. YouTube is somewhat modest at only 16 minutes and 44 seconds (on average) per day. However, over a week, that’s still MORE time than the average Sunday Service.
Netflix statistics are even higher. The average subscriber watches for 3 hours and 12 minutes daily – or 22 hours and 24 minutes a week.
They constantly absorb messages shaping their beliefs, values, and perspectives.
The reality is that they are being discipled by the media they consume throughout the week.
The question is, how can your church compete for their attention in such a crowded media landscape?
How can you ensure that the noise does not drown out your church's message?
How do you reach your church audience effectively? What is your vision?
By embracing technology and implementing a comprehensive digital strategy, your church can effectively reach and connect with your audience throughout the week. You can build a Digital Church, an extension of your in-person gathering.
In a minute, we’ll look at some solutions you could implement in your church to stay connected to your church audience, but first, let’s get inspired.
Here are a few examples of how other churches leverage digital ministry to connect with their church audience.
Could your church embrace the power of online devotionals? These daily or weekly messages, often delivered through email, social media, or a dedicated app, allow church members to stay connected with their faith daily.
These devotionals can include Scripture readings, reflections, and prayers, providing spiritual nourishment throughout the week.
An excellent example of this is Life.Church's Bible App, which offers various devotionals to engage its audience beyond Sunday services.
Can you offer something similar in a way that is relevant to your church audience and appropriate for your size?
Some churches have begun to host webinars and workshops on various topics to engage and educate their members.
These digital events provide a platform for discussions on faith, practical guidance, and personal growth. They can cover anything from Bible study to financial planning and mental health support.
Saddleback Church, for instance, organises webinars on topics like marriage, parenting, and spiritual growth. They reach out to their church audience in new and meaningful ways.
This can be an effective way to connect with your church audience around subjects that are critical to them. If you do it digitally, it can be much easier and less resource-intensive than trying to put something on “in person”.
Churches are creating podcasts and video content that can be easily consumed throughout the week.
These resources offer relevant and engaging content that can deepen one's faith and understanding.
Elevation Church's "Elevation with Steven Furtick" podcast, for example, has reached a wide audience with inspirational, motivational, and spiritual growth messages.
You can also re-purpose your content from Sunday and have it available in bite-size portions throughout the week. One platform that can help make this happen with little resources needed is Sermon Shots.
Here are five strategies your church can use to engage with your church audience throughout the week effectively:
Utilise social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to share daily or weekly inspirational messages, Bible verses, and church updates. Interact with your church audience through live streams and Q&A sessions to create a sense of community.
Encourage your church audience members to share these posts so they reach a wider audience. Again, using something like Sermon Shots to repurpose your Sunday content into short-form reels can save enormous time and resources.
Remember, social media is about creating conversation, so don’t just use it as an information board. Find ways to engage your church audience in conversation. Then, it will be a much more effective weapon in your armoury.
Create a dedicated church app that offers daily devotionals, sermon recordings, event calendars, and a platform for prayer requests. Make it easy for church audience members to stay connected with the church and access valuable content whenever they want.
Most churches offer live streaming for their church audience, but do you also make that content available on-demand?
Doing so allows your church audience to participate in the worship experience “post-event”.
Also, making some of this content available as separate on-demand programming can be helpful. Creating content your church audience can binge is a tonic to other binging habits. Read more here: Binge Worthy Content
You can share these recordings on YouTube or other video platforms to reach a broader audience. Plus, use them to connect with your church audience on more than just a Sunday.
This is a great article that looks at how to choose the right platform for all your church's video needs - including on-demand: 6 keys to help you decide the right streaming service for you.
Facilitate virtual small groups through video conferencing tools like Zoom.
These groups can meet to discuss the Sunday sermon, engage in Bible study, or connect and support one another.
They provide a sense of community and a platform for spiritual growth.
They can be handy to church audience members who are elderly or have young families and consequently struggle to attend in-person events. This gives them a real sense of community too.
Send out daily or weekly devotionals via email.
These messages can include Scripture, reflections, and prayers. Why not also share testimonials and stories your church audience will want to hear and be encouraged by? It can be a great way to build their faith and expectations through the week AND keep them connected to your church and their wider family.
Encourage members to share their insights and experiences with the content, creating a dialogue and fostering a sense of unity.
Do you have a plan to gather email addresses from your church? If not, read this article: How Do Digital Ministries Gain Power as Platform Gatekeepers?
In a world where church audiences are immersed in media and constant digital distractions, digital ministry can effectively address the pain of limited impact confined to Sundays.
By embracing technology and implementing strategies like online devotionals, webinars, podcasts, and social media engagement, churches can connect with their congregation throughout the week.
Whether you're a small church or a megachurch, the power of digital ministry is within reach. It can transform how you engage with your church audience, creating a more connected and spiritually enriched community.
So, what steps will your church take to reach beyond Sundays and connect with your congregation throughout the week?
How can you leverage digital ministry to make a lasting impact in the lives of your church members?
The possibilities are boundless, and the opportunity to transform your church's digital presence is here and now.
One thing I recommend you do is a Digital Ministry “audit.” We have designed our Digital Ministry Assessment to do just that. It will take you around 15 minutes to complete. You will think through the issues, and at the end, you’ll get a 22-page personalised report not just on how you are doing but also with actionable steps to take to see improvements.
Don’t believe me? Well, here is what Matt Hogg of the Stronger Network said:
‘Media Mentoring have provided an invaluable resource here that will offer you an instant diagnostic on the health of your digital ministry. Not only are you given helpful next steps to work on across five different areas, there is also the opportunity to access additional support and advice if you want to take this further. Graeme and the team are experts and through the assessment church leaders get to have Graeme as a personal consultant helping them to make the most of the skills and resources they have in the context as well as roadmap for future impact’.
Here are some recommended articles to read next that will help you look further into this area.