In a world where digital communication and connectivity via social media, video calls, smartphones, tablets and other such things is really ‘the norm,’ it is paramount that churches are able to use these platforms effectively to connect with and make themselves visible to people in their vincinity. With 24% of UK adults tuning in to an online religious service during the COVID-19 crisis, it is clear that more than ever before, there is openness to connect with church in non-conventional ways from even those who have never previously been to church.
Connecting to your local community through their devices is a great start, but engaging with them in order nurture new relationships and develop existing ones is an even bigger challenge. It’s easy to think of social media and other online content as a platform for purely informative, one-way advertising. But active engagement through interaction is far more critical in developing trust and interest in what your church has to say. Social media is not a digital flyer – it is your church’s welcome and coffee room.
Digital media can dramatically increase your church’s reach in your local community. Used well as a tool, it can foster many new relationships, and keep your congregation feeling involved in church throughout the week, increasing their sense of belonging and improving quality of discipleship. It should feed into the activities and groups that your church runs – it should act as a wide-open virtual door into your family. Church is people, of all shapes and sizes, so the church grows as more people belong. And as people feel they belong, they give time to hear what the church has to say, and respond to the message they hear, in a safe place.
Faith is a journey. Digital media can be the start.