If a church is not engaging online with people viewing their live broadcasts, it is like turning on the television to watch a show or opening a newspaper. Church people are consumers. Naturally, most of our online churches over Mothers’ Day experienced a dip in attendance. As one social media expert said, the newness wore off. Online church is no different than the face-to-face church in that, when we go away on trips, when we sleep in, we miss church.
Here’s how to deepen the engagement of your church and reach people online:
- Talk to people in the chat during the service. Train your congregation to talk to each other.
- Share the live broadcast to local Facebook groups, but not in a spammy way. Instead, utilize a friendly introduction to invite conversation. Please make sure to check group descriptions to see if lives are allowed by the administrators. Respect admins of any groups.
- Do a watch party later in the week of that Sunday’s service on your profile. Invite someone you are discipling to watch with you and discuss the sermon afterwards.
- For people who do not like the distraction of the chat during service, encourage them to watch an earlier service and participate in the chat of another service. Be cross-generational.
- Start a Facebook group for your church in collaboration with your pastors to compliment the work on the church Facebook page and other social media sites.
- Start Whatsapp groups or text groups with your small groups to keep in touch more intimately during the week.
- Have your Bible Study leaders do Facebook Lives in the group to talk about a weekly lesson. This can grow the Bible Study and keep the congregation in the Bible, too.
- Use Zoom or Facebook Messenger to meet up if meeting in person is out of the question. Use them for one-on-one meetups so you are making eye contact rather than just a phone call. Even when we can meet in the face-to-face, video calls are great to do when it’s just not a good time to make the commute to see someone.
The point of social media was never to grow the church (though it can), but to reach people with the truth of the Gospel so they can grow in Christ. You can reach people all over the world, but you must desire this. Otherwise, online work is hard. It will wear you out without the right heart attitude.
The above picture is from a weekly small group that meets via Zoom every Monday. This Bible Study has been ongoing for the past few years.