At no other time in history have there been so many people alive on the planet we need to reach for Christ. And there’s been no other time in history when God has given us a tool like the one we have today to work with: technology.
This week at the Church IT Network Conference, 500 techies from churches around the world gathered in Dallas to sharpen one another, share ideas, and learn how to leverage technology to reach the world.
The Life.Church Online and Church Online Platform teams joined up to lead a few sessions in the #churchonline track and meet others in online ministry. What a great time to be with people who understand the mission field, challenges, and opportunity of online ministry!
If you weren’t able to attend the conference and you’re passionate about using technology to spread the Gospel, here are some of the top conference takeaways:
- Collaborate. What we love perhaps the most about the conference so far is the collaboration we see happening everywhere. From the speakers on stage to the guests in the halls, people are trading ideas and learning from each other—and that’s right up our alley because we love partnering with other churches. What can you do to start collaborating with others today? A simple way to start is on our #churchonline community page.
- Use volunteers. When you’re in online ministry, it can feel like you need to run everything yourself. Using volunteers can help you expand your ministry beyond your own capacity. Bonus: allowing people to volunteer in your ministry means they get to grow as leaders and fulfill the calling God has on their lives.
- Meet others. As Christians, we are meant to do life together. When we lead and pastor at separate churches, it can feel like we’re all doing our own thing, and that we’re doing it alone. Conference speaker Adam Tarnow encouraged us to meet each other, learn together, and support each other—especially across church lines.
- Tell stories of life change. If you’re not talking about what God is doing through your online ministry, it’s likely your church doesn’t know about it. Make it a priority to share how God is moving through your volunteers, how God is healing lives, and how God is reaching to the ends of the Earth to save people.
- Engagement is the new attendance. Dave Adamson from North Point Ministries shared how engagement is actually the more powerful metric to track. When people are engaged, they invite others to church, they serve, and their lives are changed. If you’re only counting attendance now, consider finding ways—in both brick-and-mortar and online services—to track engagement.
- Failure is an option. Pastor Alan George reminds us that online ministry is risky. Technology is ever-changing, the world is a vast place, and growth only happens through risk. Don’t be afraid to take risks even if that means you might fail. When you fail, learn from it, and try again. Safe ministry won’t reach the world.
- Church Online Platform. Sure, we’re a little biased about the Church Online Platform. But when we polled the online pastors at the conference, almost every single one of them use the Church Online Platform to do online ministry. Matt Patterson from Rocky Mountain Calvary in Colorado Springs said, “I can’t believe how easy you made it for us to do online ministry. Thank you.” Learn more about the free online ministry tool from Life.Church.
Some of our favorite quotes:
“We don’t have to compete with physical campuses. We value online members and physical campus members. We find innovative ways to handle things like communion, baptisms, small groups so that everyone is getting a full church experience.” — Jessica Taylor, Lake Pointe Church
“Start with honor when you’re trying to explain your desire to do online ministry to your leadership team. Don’t be defensive. It’s all God’s, so honor each other as you work it out. If it feels difficult, it’s because you’re trying to do the right thing, trying to do something amazing.” — Alan George, Life.Church Online
“We’ve tried to blur the lines between online and on-site. It’s all just part of our church. So for example, we don’t do an online membership class and an onsite membership class. We just have a membership class and people access it different ways. — Jason Morris, Westside Family Church
“True community is giving people an opportunity to share.” — Alan George, on using an open Facebook group where people can post
“Don’t just do what someone is doing, ask ‘What are they thinking about?’” — Alan George, Life.Church Online
One of the conference leaders, Jason Lee from Northwoods Community Church, called us all to a higher standard. Through technology, the Great Commission is possible for the first time in human history. So, as pastors and leaders, we not only have the opportunity to reach the world, but we have a responsibility before God to leverage this technology to reach the world for Christ.
If you want to learn more about doing online ministry, start today with the free Church Online Platform from Life.Church.
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