You might not know it, but there are some things that you’re doing (or not doing) on a day-to-day basis that, when combined, can be be the reasons for your lack of online ministry effectiveness. It’s important to consider three specific factors and implement them into your ministry work online. As a result, people who encounter your church online will become curious, captivated and conversive.

If you want to build a community of followers, then there needs to be something compelling about your personality and/or message that will appeal to them and make them want to read more.

3 Ways Your Church May Be Sabotaging Your Online Ministry Effectiveness 

1. You’re ignoring the relationships

The first way that you’re sabotaging your online ministry effectiveness is by not taking the time to cultivate relationships with the people in your church online.

Remember, it’s pretty easy for people to trust someone they’ve already seen or have interacted with in some way. It’s a lot harder to trust a person who jumps into their inbox or messages them for the first time cold.

Be sure to create a relatable and personable post on Facebook a couple times a week or send an email to all of your subscribers once a week at minimum.

Practical RELATIONSHIP Ideas For Online Ministry Effectiveness:

  • Proactively follow people in your congregation online. Be sure to start with staff and volunteers. Don’t forget those that partner with the church through financial giving and resources.
  • Follow leaders, businesses, and other organizations in your local community.
  • Make sure to schedule time daily to interact with people that like, comment and share the church’s social media. Also, comment and reply to social posts of community members and organizations to build visibility and relationships.
  • Church online and social media are great venues to increase staff and key volunteer leader visibility. Remember, people have relationships with people, not accounts.
Develop online relationships for ministry by interacting daily with people that like, comment and share the church's social media to build visibility and connection points. Click To Tweet

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2. You’re not clear about what you’re trying to accomplish

The second way you’re sabotaging your online ministry effectiveness is by not having a clear vision for your ministry. Do you know where it’s going? You need to decide what you want from your ministry online and then set goals around that. To start, there are many models and thus many potential outcomes from a church online ministry.

Church online shouldn’t just be a copy/paste of what you do on Sunday. Nor should it be a catch-all where you try to do anything and everything without any priority or order to it just because it’s online and digital.

Church online shouldn't just be a copy/paste of what you do on Sunday, nor should it be a catch-all where you try to do anything and everything. Set clear goals and develop a strategy for your ministry. Click To Tweet

Practical STRATEGY Ideas For Online Ministry Impact:

  • Define who your ideal engaged community members would be. Don’t just default to “whomever will come.” And it doesn’t have to be an exact match to who you attract and gather offline.
  • Evaluate each of your offline ministry fronts to see what the online analog could be. Be sure to use the lens of the target audience you defined as your ideal online community.
  • Online activities shouldn’t be thought of as separate from offline. How are your online and offline ministry efforts working together? Start talking about what you’re doing online during offline events.  And vice versa.

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3. Your content isn’t respecting the audience

The third way that you’re sabotaging your online ministry effectiveness is by just posting content because you think it should be shared. The problem is that nobody is engaging with it.

Your followers are looking to you for content that they can relate to and have an experience through. Or, for many cases, you aren’t taking time to properly plan your content. It’s worth it to take some time and plan out what you’ll publish so that your posts can actually relate to each other in a “stream” of conversation over time. As a result, you can be more strategic in repositioning content so they drive reactions, commenting, and sharing. Your online community doesn’t want to be presented with posts that are, in effect, just something taken from the reference library file cabinet.

So then, how do you figure out what to post for your online followers? The best way to do this is by asking for their input. Ask them what would be helpful or what they want to hear from you in the future.

Need content ideas for your online followers? Get their input. Ask them what would be helpful or what they want to hear from you in the future. Click To Tweet

Practical CONTENT Ideas For Online Ministry Results:

  1. Notice who IS engaging regularly already with your content online and approach them for ideas on how to improve the value of your presence online.
  2. Use surveys and send to various segments of your community (lists). Publish a public survey periodically. Most organizations don’t survey enough.
  3. Super tip: get people in your online community to volunteer and help add new voices to the online experience.

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Conclusion

I believe it’s critical to consider these three potential pitfalls as you improve your online ministry effectiveness. If you take proactive steps regarding your content ecosystem, your church’s online presence can minister to people throughout the entire week, not just on Sundays.

If you’re not taking the time to cultivate relationships with your online community, then nobody will be engaged in the end. Same goes if you don’t have a clear vision for the digital ministry efforts and you don’t know why you’re posting what and when. 

This is why it’s so important that we take some time from our day-to-day agenda and make a strategic plan regarding digital and online ministry.

What’s one practice your church has found helpful with digital ministry?