The modern church is known for producing some of the most amazing worship music, sermons messages, discipleship content, and in-person experiences for building community. Even before the current COVID-19 crisis, a number of churches were exploring ways to digitally connect to the community and congregation to help and inspire their spiritual walk. However, with the “shelter in place” edicts put in place by state and local governments, all churches have had to “go digital” to meet the needs of the local church and the communities surrounding her.
Over the years, many pundits have argued that on the Internet, “content is king.” It may be time for content to relinquish its title. Community & relationships are the new "content." Long live community! Content encourages initial engagement; community sustains on-going engagement. People in your congregation can view content from a number of places; they have much less places to participate in community.
Plot Summary point: Community & relationships are the new "content," but the context, authenticity and depth of community and relationships are now being held under a microscope.
The context, authenticity and depth of community and relationships are now being held under a microscope. Many churches have fooled themselves into thinking community is fostered through their primary contact point of the Sunday morning worship service. Yet, many people can attend the main service and not meet someone new, let alone really get to know them.
Successful organizations and brands have been building their online community of customers since the Internet came online. While local churches are scrambling to adjust to these unusual times, the prepared corporate brands are able to exercise more agility to avoid losing too much market share. And the ones who already had this in place are able to capitalize on this during the crisis and will come out on the other side stronger than ever.
Every brand, whether secular or faith-based, is facing new challenges navigating ways to keep connected to their communities right now. Most organizations are now looking to technology to forge that “virtual connection,” like Facebook, Zoom, live streaming, etc. Everyone recognizes that simply stating “We’re still open” isn’t going to cut it – times have forced them to get creative, quickly.
While we know this is a time of "crisis forced community-building", as life gets back to normal (well... the "new normal") those event-based bonds can lessen as people fall back into old routines. That “shared story” event can quickly fade into the rear-view mirror. The question soon looming is, how should the Church be positioning itself to continue the creative digital thinking that’s been inspired by this Covid-19 virus beyond sheltering-in-place?
Plot Summary point: How can the local church leverage fresh-thinking technology to help them collect those shared stories and leverage them into fostering Spiritual Growth amongst their congregation and track the health of the individuals, the church congregation, and even up to the conference or denominational level?
How can the local church leverage fresh-thinking technology to help them collect those shared stories and leverage them into fostering Spiritual Growth amongst their congregation and track the health of the individuals, the church congregation, and even up to the conference or denominational level?
These powerful stories of life-change and Spiritual Growth can be digitally captured and leveraged in ways to share the stories of the True Church (read “the people”) and how they are individually and collectively responding in hope, faith, and love. How can the local church leverage fresh-thinking technology to help them collect those shared stories and leverage them into fostering Spiritual Growth amongst their congregation and track the health of the individuals, the church congregation, and even up to the conference or denominational level?
What could this look like? In future Blog Stories, we’ll highlight some examples of how churches can use technology to draw people closer together. Stay tuned!
Plot Summary point: Producing "digital outputs" is short term thinking. The churches that will emerge stronger will focus on capturing the work of their people as they show the love of Jesus to others in new and personal ways. Proclaiming these stories, both externally and internally, will build that church’s brand in the community as well as build that faith of the people within the body of Christ.
What do we mean? What are we suggesting that churches, pastors, and communities do? At Communitas, we start by asking the questions that help us focus on outcomes… not just outputs. I'll use a slightly revised quote from Abe Lincoln to illustrate the point here:
"If you want to harvest more trees, sharpen the ax before you walk out into the forest."
When producing digital content of any type, you have to start by understanding the intended audience.
- Get personal. Start calling and text campaigns to understand the context, needs, and situations of your community. (People are home and available. )
- Use your ChMS and church software:
- Document the story of each person and family.
- Make lists based on the needs of your congregation.
- Create groups based on needs and assign leaders to care for those needs.
- Encourage your congregants to submit videos, links, stories, and details of how Jesus is transforming lives during this crisis. Save those to their profiles.
- Use CONGREGANT content to create stories on every platform you have.
Why do we believe that this strategy is better than simply broadcasting Sunday service or hosting an online group? Because people are overwhelmed with content produced for the masses. The power of the Gospel is the effect on the life of the one person, the one family, the one moment. The collection of those effects is the Kingdom – alive and well and at work in the lives of all those who believe.
Of course, if you want to see how we help churches do this - REACH OUT! We're here and available. To pray with you, to talk with you, to help you, to show you a demo of our system without obligation… whatever you need. We exist to support the body of Christ with tools to impact the world for the sake of the Gospel.
Let's start a conversation that is MORE than outputs. Share, comment, engage. Looking to connect? You can reach us email@example.com.
What is your church doing to impact the personal lives of your community during COVID-19 that has a measurable outcome, glorifies God and needs to be proclaimed to the all the world?