We are experiencing another month of social distancing, and people are feeling the need for connection. As online church attendance skyrockets, pastors are asking — how can I integrate these new attendees into our church and small groups? While churches might not be able to meet yet, now is the time to plan and start reaching out to this new audience in hopes of connecting them to your church community. I spoke with pastors from churches of all sizes to discuss the unexpected lessons learned during COVID-19 and how they are connecting new viewers to their church’s small groups.
Embrace New Small Group Strategies
This time of social distancing has offered the church a chance to explore new tools and ways of thinking. The top strategies we’re seeing include:
● Facebook Groups have acted as an important resource for churches incorporating an online presence. Utilize the function of a “group” for your congregation where you can post updates that apply to everyone, as well as smaller groups for classes. This feature will also be helpful to communicate and post updates or prayer requests post-COVID-19. Facebook allows you to view who interacts with your content, so you can easily reach out to them.
● Church Websites are being utilized to post weekly sermon recaps and updates. Your website is a great place to give actionable directions on how to connect with others by displaying groups and classes.
● Zoom is a great tool to explore for online small groups. For example, one church offers the ability for new people to “view” an existing church experience on Zoom and then request opportunities to join an existing one or form a new one.
● Embrace Time To Learn by developing agility during this season. If the concept of an online church is new to you, it’s a chance to truly experience spirit-filled living. Trust that technology will work and serve your congregation well at this time.
Tips For Continuing Online Church Activities
There is a consistent viewpoint that a bulk of church interactions should return to in-person meetings when it’s possible. As creatures built for connection, it’s important to build relationships that are more than online friendships. However, it’s clear that churches need to maintain an online presence to meet the needs and expectations of a new kind of community. Additionally, at-risk people may not feel comfortable returning to church buildings for a while. A way to continue offering online service without losing your in-presence audience may include a shift in personnel.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Sutton Turner