While I am passionate about helping churches develop online ministries, I also realize that adding an online component to your ministry will not magically solve all of your problems. I’ve talked with many pastors over the past decade and unfortunately, I’ve heard the following way too many times.
If only I had ______________, then we would be able to reach younger people.
Fill in the blank with a contemporary band, a website, a cool stage, a livestream, more staff, or a bigger building. All of these share a similar sentiment. But the real problem is not a lack of resources.
Before you add online ministry, I would urge you to consider why you need it. When a church is focused inwardly, everything they do is for the benefit of people who already attend. But the power of online ministry is the vast potential to reach people who don’t attend your church. Let me explain.
Many rural or small churches feel that online ministry is not needed because they already have a close connection with everyone who attends. But remember that only 2 out of 10 people in our culture today attend church. What about the other 80%? How are you reaching them? It’s remarkable that almost 80% of people are on Facebook. So why wouldn’t you go where people are?
That’s why sharing your services online can help you reach people who may have never stepped into your building. That’s why your church needs a social media presence to connect with people whether they attend or not. That’s why your website can offer information to help people find your church. We can use online ministry to create conversations and build relationships with people in our community.
Online ministry won’t magically solve every issue you are facing. But hopefully, you will realize that it’s another tool to help us fulfill the Great Commission. Online ministry can be used to do discipleship from a distance, but it takes vision to use it to reach people who don’t attend your church.
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:18-20 – The Message