Church Online Community - Top 10 reasons why it’s important in 2022.
The Church Online Community, in my opinion, is the single most important tool for reaching people for Christ.
Are you looking for ways to engage your congregation in meaningful conversations?
If so, building an online church community might be the answer.
Online communities are becoming increasingly important for churches. They provide a space for members to connect, share ideas, and discuss topics relevant to their faith.
Building an online church community for your congregation can be challenging but rewarding to the church's growth.
A Church online community will help you create meaningful connections and engagements with your church members, and the worldwide community of believers.
In this article, we present you with 10 benefits of having a digital community for your church.
Let's dive right in!
"Millions of Christians worldwide are online, and, as more and more churches and other faith-based organizations recognize that the Internet is a viable and proven communications platform, we will see the percentage of Christians online continue to rise." - Nelson Musonda, Delmethod
What is a church online community?
A church Online community is a digital platform where people go to talk about things that are important to them. It’s a place where people of the same faith and beliefs connect and share important things to help them grow in faith.
A church online community is much more than scheduled streaming services like Zoom. It is a digital church that is open 24/7 allowing people to engage with one another at any time and without the proximity barrier.
A recent study published by GWI shows that over 76% of internet users engage with online groups or communities.
Why you should consider having an online church community?
There are many benefits to creating a digital community for your members. It provides them with a place to connect with others and find answers to questions about their faith.
It also helps them stay connected to their Church even when they aren't physically present at services.
The church online community will allow you to reach out to people who may not attend church regularly. You can use this platform to communicate with those who live far away from your Church.
For example, the chances are that you acquired new online church attendees during the pandemic, and you probably had people watching from across the globe.
A Church online community will help you connect with these people and help you grow your membership and influence online.
There are two types of online communities, and choosing the right one is crucial to the success of your ministry.
A shared social community
This type of community is hosted on platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp, or other free social media. These platforms make it easy for anyone to start and run a digital community.
They are usually free, and you can quickly build up a community due to the number of people using these platforms.
However, the platform owner controls the shared social community platforms, and you have very little control over the data collected.
Shared social community disadvantage
One huge disadvantage to a shared social community is that you will never own your community, and you have no access to your member's contact information.
If the platform shuts down, you will lose all the contacts and the community.
“Buiding your church digital community on a shared social community platform is like building a house on rented land.” - Nelson Musonda.
A privately owned community
A privately owned community is one where the admin has more control over the types of data collected from the app and manages the daily operations of the platform.
This type of platform is usually hosted on a site, and you have control of how it functions and looks.
Unlike the shared social platform, the privately owned one is more expensive to build and run. There are some upfront costs associated with building, maintenance, and securing the platform.
Privately-owned community advantage
The most significant advantage to a privately-owned platform is that you will own the data and contact information you collect from your members.
Privately-owned community disadvantage
One major disadvantage to running a privately-owned community is the upfront and running costs.
Which type of community platform is best for my Church?
The platform you should get depends on what you want to achieve, level of control, security, and budget.
If money and tech knowledge are a problem for you, you should consider a public shared platform like Facebook groups.
However, if you have a budget and some technical help, a private community might be the best option because it'll give you control over your platform.
Another reason to consider a private/branded community is that you get to own the data and not entrust other platforms over your members' data.
Here are ten reasons your Church should consider an online community in 2022 and beyond.
"The Church Online Community, in my opinion, is the single most important tool for reaching people for Christ." - Nelson Musonda, Delmethod.
1. Online communities allow people to connect positively.
If you want to provide your members with a safe space to connect with other believers, then an online community is what you need.
Digital communities are a great way to encourage social interaction, build friendships within your Church and connect with the outside world.
They also give your church members a place to go to find answers to questions about faith and life.
Online communities are also an excellent way to reach out to new people and engage them in their Christian journey.
Online communities can also promote your Church's mission and vision.
2. Online communities help with church growth
Church online communities are essential for churches to grow, and they provide a place where people can connect and share ideas.
A recent study published by Peerboad, shows; - That the main goal for members of online communities is natural communication and learning, with different levels of engagement from users. 57% of users feel that they are seen, 63% feel that they are being heard, 70% partake in providing solutions, and 78% tend to ask questions.
People who belong to an online community feel connected. It's easier to reach out to someone else when you know that person cares about what you think.
Online communities also allow people to share information and resources. Churches can use these tools to promote their services and events.
Online communities also provide a space for people to ask questions and receive answers, which helps people learn new things and find solutions to problems.
3. The online Church community will empower your church members.
Church members feel valued and appreciated because of their connections with people who share similar interests.
What topic are you passionate about and want to share with other church members? - I love hearing stories about people's experiences with God's faithfulness and blessings in their lives. - Jeanne.
Do you know someone at your Church who never shares or contributes during a discussion or Bible study? I do. In fact, I was that person for a long time.
The Church is full of people afraid of sharing or contributing even when they have something important to say.
An online church forum will give every member an equal opportunity to contribute, engage and make connections that they would never make in the physical space.
4. Online communities provide opportunities for people to have Church during the week.
If we've learned something from the pandemic, it is that you can have Church any day, any time. Churches that have during the week programs have seen massive growth even during the pandemic.
“My church is a commuter church. Before Covid, an average of 30 people attended our in-person Wednesday prayer meeting, now we have an average of 120 people attending our online meetings every Wednesday,” - Pastor Eric.
Online church community or group takes the regular church meeting to another level. It provides a place where people can share and interact with each other, therefore, building meaningful relationships.
5. Create a vibrant youth ministry
It is no secret that young people connect more online than in the physical space. One good reason for this is that Church only happens within a short period, and impossible for young people to connect and interact within those service hours.
If you want to provide a safe space for the youth to interact, you must consider an online community platform. The truth is that young people are already using these platforms even without the Church knowing.
If well implemented, a church online community will help you discover what the youth are struggling with and help you figure out how best to serve them.
6. Online communities are great for member nurturing.
"Church online communities are online spiritual homes designed to help people grow spiritually." — Nelson Musonda, Delmethod.
The best thing about online communities is that they allow people to connect and build meaningful relationships.
If you create a community for your Church, you will nurture your members better. You can offer resources and advice to members who need them.
You can also provide encouragement and support to your members by sharing stories and encouraging them.
This is one of the essential benefits of having an online community. Members appreciate being heard and supported.
7. You Can Increase Your Church's Visibility.
We live in a do-it-yourself (DIY) age where people try to find the answers to their pressing issues on their own before seeking help from the Church.
Youtube, social media, and Google are the first places people visit to find their answers.
This would not be a problem if the information they found were helpful. Most of the data is fake, and if the people with the truth do not create content, people will consume whatever information is available to them.
So, if you want your members and the world to access excellent and helpful information, you have to create it.
Online communities will give you that platform to create the content people want. The content you create is searchable and accessible for people to find. As a result, your Church will improve its visibility online.
More people will come to know about you, which will help increase your reach and accelerate your church growth.
8. Increase church membership
"The church can only remain vital and relevant if we, as church leaders, are willing to continually seek to grow our online and virtual presence. The online community has huge potential for church growth." - Nelson Musonda, Delmethod.
During the pandemic, some churches saw increased online church attendance. People attended Church from all around the world, and proximity was no longer a problem.
The question is, what do you do with all the non-members that attended your online service? Did you follow up with them or just let them go?
An online community will give you a platform where people worldwide can meet and connect. We live in a global community, and proximity should not stop you from growing your Church online.
9. An online community gives your members a safe space to connect and belong.
There is no doubt that social media has changed how we interact and connect.
It has provided us with a great platform and opportunity to connect with old friends and discover new relationships.
However, social media is not for everyone. It is the most crowded place on earth, and an average user spends a reasonable amount of time consuming, “the not-so-good content.”
Many people have experienced bullying and ridicule on social media that they are afraid to post or interact with others. As a result, most people do not use social media.
A private online community will provide that safe space where members can feel safe to engage and interact with people who respect their opinions no matter what.
The private community will give your members a sense of security, trust, and belonging.
10. It helps you discover your member's struggles and pain points.
One of the reasons young people leave the Church is that the Church does not meet their needs. People strongly believe that the Church is no longer playing that vital role in their lives.
We talked to a young man who explained that he didn't see the need to go to Church for the same old boring sermons that didn't meet his needs.
Effective evangelism is all about understanding your members' needs and struggles. In fact, the Delmethod process is based on this simple premise that "in order to serve, you have to know who the people are and their pain points."
The online community will help you discover what your members are struggling with and also help you figure out what solutions to give them.
If you are a Pastor, this information will also help you prepare sermons that address your member's needs.
In conclusion, the Church Online Community is that new thing called "digital community".
The church online community can help Christians near and far to grow spiritually by encouraging them to discuss the Bible, pray, share personal struggles and struggles from the church, grow closer to one another, and even learn about a church's beliefs and ministries.
That’s why Delmethod has also invested in building an online community. We want a place where people like you can find help, encouragement, and resources to help you in your digital evangelism journey.
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I hope this article was helpful, please reach out if you have any questions.