Years ago, I worked as an English language assistant in Northern France. The nearest Adventist church was an hour away and the second church was two hours away. With no car and little money for train tickets, I wasn’t able to attend church every Sabbath. I turned to the internet for church. Via my computer, I was instantly connected to a family of faith. I sent in requests for prayer and explored Bible topics with this online community. For a whole year I remained connected to a church family, even though I was thousands of miles from home and didn’t have a home church. This would not have been possible if this particular church didn’t have an online ministry. Ten years later, although I have a home church, I credit much of my spiritual growth to an online church branch.
Here are the top three reasons your church needs an online ministry:
1. Half of the world’s population is online.
3.8 billion and climbing—that’s the number of people who currently have access to the internet. This means your church has access to people all over the world, if you’re online. This doesn’t mean that reaching all of these people is easy. But we know that the world is a much smaller place because of the internet. Every church has been given the mission to “go into the entire world.” Wherever the people are, we should make the effort to make the presence of God felt. Because of the Digital Age, the Gospel can reach the farthest corners of the world.
2. You can get your entire church involved in discipleship.
Most of the individuals at your church have a personal screen. Whether it’s their iPad, phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop, nearly everyone has access to at least one device. Every time your church members open their laptops or turn on their phones, they have an opportunity to share Christ. Online ministry gives each church member an opportunity to get involved. Everyone might not be able to go on a foreign mission trip, volunteer at a shelter, or preach an evangelistic series, but everyone can share God’s love online. If a person can type and have contacts online, they can share the personal impact Christ has in their lives.
3. People are turning to Google for answers
When was the last time you had a question and typed it into the Google search bar? From questions about how to get rid of a neck kink, to whether God is real, people turn to Google for answers. The answers don’t magically appear, however – someone must write the information and post it online. With an online ministry, your church can provide answers to certain issues people face. If your church’s online ministry focuses on drug addiction, challenges in marriage, or raising a child with a disability, when someone goes online searching for answers related to those topics, your ministry’s content could bring hope and healing. If people are googling, we should be there to answer when they ask.
Here are seven ways your church can launch an online ministry:
- Start a church blog
- Launch a YouTube channel
- Create a podcast
- Have online Bible studies using video conference software
- Make sermons available online
- Use Facebook Live to engage with an online audience
- Engage with church visitors using unique text-messaging software
Of course, you can use these platforms in a variety of ways to reach different demographics. As your church seeks to fulfill God’s purpose, the Holy Spirit will lead and bring fruit from your digital evangelism efforts.
God has given us access to a powerful tool (the internet). By using it the right way and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, your church can play its part in fulfilling the Great Commission. Our newsletters, blogs, and podcast provide information to help your church start an online ministry. If you have one going, using best practices can improve effectiveness.