Digital Church: It’s Not Going Away
By Fr. Jeff Lorig, Pastoral Services
I’ve spoken to a few pastors, follow more than two dozen parishes on Facebook, and subscribe to a couple of parish Flocknote lists. I think I have a feel for how the online church experience has been going throughout our archdiocese. Two things stick out as I reflect on what I’m seeing.
Many have been surprised by the reach online church can provide.
Online engagement is a work in progress.
One thing is for sure, the digital church is not going away. Many have tasted its potential and while our buildings begin to open up, our online churches should not be shutting down. For those who want to take full advantage of the potential that digital church offers, it will require more strategy, more thought, and more planning than merely pointing a camera at the in-person events and services.
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been scouring podcasts and attending online conferences to discover some of the best insights, tips, metrics, and strategies that make a digital church successful. I’ll go through these in much more detail on our next EquipCast on Friday, May 22 at 3:30. Register for the live conversation and influence the discussion or listen on demand by subscribing to the podcast.
Here are some of the insights and tips we’ll be discussing on the next EquipCast.
It will be harder than ever to get people back into our buildings or into them for the first time. How does our online strategy align with our in-person ministry strategy?
- Tip: Having an in-person ministry strategy will help you define what your online strategy will be.
Should we be planning to go back to normal church when all this is over or should we keep investing in ways to improve our online ministry?
- Tip: Online doesn’t have to be a supplement for church, it can be where church happens.
How do we know whether we’re winning in an online ministry world? Which metrics matter?
- Tip: Only the numbers that help you make decisions are relevant numbers.
Vanity metrics and conversion rates are actual marketing terms that fit nicely into any church strategy.
- Tip: It doesn’t matter as much if people are viewing your content if you’re not leading them to make a decision.
There’s so much noise online. How do we reach those who are unconnected and unchurched online?
- Tip: You won’t, but your parishioners can.
What kind of engagement really matters? Are likes and views enough?
- Tip: Find every opportunity to turn comments into conversations.
The worst thing you can do is never answer a comment. And the next worst thing you can do is answer a comment with another comment.
- Same tip as before: Don’t miss the opportunity to have a conversation. Ask questions!
Don’t just copy and paste what you do live into a digital format.
- Tip: Lean into what makes digital media great. Sharing and exchange.