Are you ready to move fully online, today?
If you read "Coronavirus and the Church: How to Best Prepare for the Inevitable", then you probably want to know how to take your church online as fast as possible. In this post, I will give you simple steps every church can use to take their church fully online, from weekend sermons to online giving, and even your midweek small group ministry.
Livestream Your Services
Talking your church online does not have to be an arduous task. You can get off the ground with a relatively low budget and volunteer load, and scale it to suit your needs. If you are looking for platforms that have high engagement rates, low volunteer loads, and minimal set-up, I highly recommend using Facebook Live and YouTube Live. You can set them up in advance, create countdown, chat with your guests, and then save to the channel if you would like for future viewing purposes. If you are looking for a more hosted experience that more closely resembles a typical in-person service, then I would recommend using the Church Online Platform. Created by Lifechurch, Church Online gives you the ability to do everything YouTube and Facebook does, announcement slides, giving opportunities, moderated live chat and prayer, and simulated live viewing (pre-recorded services, but live on the platform). What you need to do now is decide if you want to favor high engagement and low volunteer or a higher volunteer load with a more hosted experience.
Create a Weekend Strategy
Newbreak Church has taken this to a whole new level. As their guests walk through any one of their five campuses, they platform their Weekend Info webpage. This /info page highlights:
- A description: How the page is expected to be used.
- A primary call to action (CTA): The "Connect Card" button (communication card).
- Buttons for their most important CTAs.
- Inline giving button: Keeps givers on the website.
- Global church events: Events that apply to every campus.
- Current Series: Describes and links to the current sermon series.
Develop Recurring Givers
When someone gives to your church online, the very first welcome email with giving confirmation should include a statement that not only thanks them, but encourages them to become recurring givers. While my income ebbs and flows due to the creative nature of my context, the majority of your congregation has a set income on a monthly basis. This allows you implement a "set it and forget it" mentality, much like our family does with Amazon and our essential goods automatic orders. But especially during times like this, where fear and fact make it difficult for our guests to be regulars, we need to make it stupid simple for people to give, and give on a recurring basis.
Planning Center Online, Tithe.ly, Secure Give, and many other church giving solutions make it easy for people to do just that. One more thing that makes this simple: most wise church management systems either have an automatic email platform built in, or leverage an integration with services like MailChimp. When you do this, it allows you to know who is giving, automate email sends to them contextually, and enables future campaigning.
Take Your Groups Online
If we are all being crazy careful on our church campuses, then shouldn't we have that same standard for all the homes our groups meet in? The hard part here is obvious: not every home and community is equipped to host during a crisis. So why don't you take your groups online? I led a small group ministry that was fully online for over a decade (mostly using Zoom). We had hundreds of virtual small group leaders and thousands of group participants. Each participant would average nine to twelve months of commitment, and most would renew their commitment every year. Virtual groups are not only feasible, they're a reality we should implement during a crisis and one we should consider in a hyper mobile and remote world.
Listen to Local Authorities
Now is not a time to be a rebel. My wife is undergoing chemotherapy for her Multiple Sclerosis, I have family members that either have Asthma or are over sixty, and viruses don't give a rip about your feelings. Be as prepared as possible, protect your church and community, and take things online. Not only is it wise under the current Coronavirus context, it's wise because our culture is completely online.
Still have questions or need help? Just click my photo on the screen and we can talk about it.