07 Mar 2019

The Power of Having an Online Presence

Reverend Christine Bové

Imagine having 24/7 access to your church in your back pocket.

Need to know when services start? Can’t remember the time for Wednesday night Bible study? Missed last Sunday’s message?

All of this information (and more) can be found on your church’s website or social media. 

With the internet so readily accessible, people have the opportunity to be more connected to their community. They can stay connected through their phones, tablets, or regular desktop computers. Church members especially, as well as potential visitors, have this opportunity if your church has a website or social media.

This is especially true of younger generations, like millennials and Generation Z. Those who make up these generations are primarily connected using online platforms. If your church is wanting to reach this crowd, it is essential for your church to have an online presence.

Besides outreach, there are numerous benefits for your church to be online.

Your church’s virtual business card

Having an online presence is like offering a business card for your church to any and every potential visitor or person searching the internet. Having a church website in place or having social media provides an ever open invitation for those curious about your church and its community.  

Those curious about your church are able to explore, ask questions, and dip their feet in the water, so-to-speak. 

They can engage with your community online alongside other communities with which they already participate. When you upload and share pictures, sermons, and information about your community initiatives, those who stumble upon or seek out your church can get a good picture of your ministry. 

Those who have never walked through the doors of any church are able to get a taste of the Gospel through accessing your church’s website. By exploring your church and the community you create from afar (online), they can then make the decision to actually physically your church.

The more someone is able to explore your church’s beliefs, teachings, and community, the more comfortable they will feel. Because they are comfortable, they will feel free to ask questions and will feel familiar and welcomed to your community. Feeling welcome, they will be inclined to visit, and then, hopefully, become a regular participant.

Having an online presence, now more than ever, makes evangelism that much more accessible. By using the internet to extend your reach and influence, you can share the Gospel through different online platforms.

Initiate the connection

People who are unsure of broadcasting church services online wonder what it would look like for their community. They have questions like, 

  • “Isn’t online church enabling passive faith?” and
  • “What if people only engage in church through the internet?”

Having an online presence doesn’t mean people will only engage with the church passively nor does it mean it diminishes your main community. 

If people are passively engaging with the church online, and only online, it is because they have a consumer mindset they already possess.

However, having an online presence is an added resource to get people connected, and it offers an open invitation for them to come to your physical location.

Really, social media and a church website keeps people connected at all times. It provides access to your church readily available at their fingertips. And the great thing is that once people are connected, they are more inclined to participate physically than just online. They won’t want to miss out on the activities they see or watch!

Not only is online church a great way to connect with new people, but it also helps your regular attendees and members stay connected. Whether people are sick, have to travel for work, or when tragedy strikes, your church community can still keep up with the rest of the congregation. 

How to have an online presence

Now that we know the value of having an online presence, how does a church begin to build and maintain their online community?

There are two primary ways: 

  • Using social media and
  • Creating (and maintaining) a church website. 

Using social media

Social media is all of the different platforms people use to keep connected to each other and to information. There are plenty of social media platforms, but there are a few that stand out.

The primary platforms for churches on social media are:

  • Facebook,
  • Twitter, and
  • Instagram.

Each of these offers something unique to your community and provides an outlet for sharing the Gospel. 

Having social media means it is also essential to have a social media policy. You can learn more about how to have a social media policy here.

One of the benefits of being active on social media is your authentic interactions. People are already connected to their friends. Because of this, you, your members, and anyone new can have a natural and authentic connection. 

Check Out Our Policies Suite!

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Creating a church website

Having a church website is an excellent resource for offering information about your church and letting people know how to engage.

A website is entirely customizable. You can make your site match your church branding and personality.

Typically, your social media will point back to your website, so a website is crucial to having an effective online presence. 

There are a couple of ways of getting a website:

  • Contract a web designer to build your own custom website
  • Find a company that will help develop your website 

For the first option, you can outsource a credible individual or company to build your site from the ground up. This person can manage the web designing process and its implementation. 

With so many credible options, you can find an individual or company that best aligns with what you are looking for. 

For the second option, many companies have a “template” style website. These types of websites are offered at a lower cost and are still customizable to match your church. 

We offer our own template style website for churches through our program StartSITES. We designed it with churches in mind. It is simple, modern, and developed so that anyone can build the site. 

If you are interested in building a website today, click here for more information. 

Spreading the Gospel on across all platforms

The whole point of having a church online is to make sure people from all walks of life are able to find the truth and love of Jesus Christ. The Gospel can be more accessible and tangible using technology, and the church should take full advantage of it.

The main thing to be aware of is making sure your online presence points back to engaging in community outside of the internet. Having inviting content on your website will encourage visitors to engage with your church community.

There are so many opportunities to point people to the Gospel. Having an online presence is one of the best ways to do that.

If you have further questions about how to have an effective online presence or want to know more about our StartSITES service, give us a call at 877-494-4655.

Please feel free to comment. We always appreciate good dialogue. However, we do moderate each comment to ensure that it is on topic and not derogatory to other participants. We ask that you keep your comments brief and pertinent to the topic so that others may benefit.

Blessings,
Raul Rivera


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