How To Create Online Community & Discipleship Without A Huge Budget & Large Staff!
Pastors!! I hope this article and resource can help you Make Disciples Online without the pressure of trying to start something from scratch, buy something expensive or hire more staff to manage!
I know I don’t have to convince you that discipleship is key. But, I’d like to add to that, in the times we’re living in, that it’s not just a good idea, it’s absolutely essential. Yes, discipleship by name is in the great commission, but why? Because it’s more than an empty command, it’s essential for the health and growth of the new believer! Discipleship becomes the covering and fertilizer for the seed of God’s word as it gets planted into the heart of the new believer. Without strong and intentional discipleship some believers will fall away, and many more will be ineffective in making any real difference in the world around them.
What the world needs is a discipled Church.
At the time of writing article we’re right in the middle of the Covid-19 virus spread around the world, which has caused all public gatherings which includes churches to be move for a short season from physical locations to Online Gatherings. Some churches are more ready than others to take on this challenge, but I’d say many of us would have to admit we’re doing a lot of scrambling to get everything ready to not only “have service” online, but figuring out how to connect and disciple people in that online space.
Well, I can’t solves all of those dilemmas that you’re facing, but I hope to be able to come alongside you and your team to help carry one of those elements for you! A few years back we released a simple, practical and powerful book called, Following Jesus, that many churches currently use as the gift they give to new believers or guests when they come to Christ at their church. As well as some use it in small groups and new believers classes. Pretty much from the beginning I’d have pastors ask about when I was going to have video curriculum that goes along with it, and I wanted to do it and planned to, but didn’t get to it until just a couple months ago that I finally decided to make the investment, hire the crew and get this done! Little did I know that just as I was finished producing this video series and getting the online course set up, that churches around the world would need to solve the online discipleship question! The team and I are so thankful to be able to do our best to serve and support churches in this season and beyond!
Here’s The Online Discipleship Course that churches around the globe are jumping onto:
Click Here To View The Online Following Jesus Course
BONUS CONTENT: I just had a great webinar conversation with Jesse Norman on creating Online Community, Launching Small Groups and Making Disciples!
5 WAYS TO CREATE COMMUNITY AND DISCIPLESHIP ONLINE:
Faith Filled Online Church Experiences
It’s key that we don’t see online church or even a forced season of online services as a time to coast or pull back or “just try to make it through.” It honestly might feel like you’re just trying to make it because of all of the long work days and reinventing that we’re all doing, but if you keep a spirit of faith at the forefront of your online experiences, you’ll see the church continue to rally, build and drive forward! Now, each of our churches will have different capacities as far as what you’ll be able to provides from a technical, video standpoint, but we can all bring faith and strength!
Tech Note: There are a couple key things I do recommend for online church streaming.
- Church Online Platform (For Overall Live Streaming of service)
- Living As One (For sending that live feed to all of your social media platforms)
Efficient Follow Up and Connection
With online services, we want to be more intentional with updating and reviewing our online follow up process. Just this past weekend, I filled out our churches online new believers form just to test and see what the auto reply features were like and because of that we noticed a few things that weren’t as personal and we made some updates to feel more genuine even in an online world. To be able to quickly and efficiently get the information to people that they request during an online service, I’d suggest you use an “Auto Texting” company. So, that people can text in to get information without a slow personal follow up. No matter how you choose to follow up, be sure that everyone who reaches out gets communication!
Small Groups Communities Online
This can be a new space for many churches, but it’s important to create a space for connection beyond the Sunday experience. There are several simple ways that you can create online small group gatherings. Two key ways is to use services like google hangouts and facebook groups. My favorite is using ZOOM to create great video hangouts. With Zoom (and other services) you can share your screen, so that the group host could share content with the whole group.
Online Discipleship Course (I have a good one I recommend 😉
I’m excited to be able to offer the solution to this specific part of creating online community and discipleship. The new Online Following Jesus course is a online based, with 9 high quality videos where I go through each chapter of the Following Jesus book. Each video is only about 14min, so it keeps the viewers engaged and also sets up the conversation and discussion for the group or individual to consider. The custom course option allows your church to be able to have their own course, with your church name, logo, messaging and we can even add in a video greeting from the lead pastors at the start of the course to keep you personally connected to your church and to reinforce your church culture.
The Following Jesus course can be taken individually, but could also be done in an online small group setting. Where the group host would create an online group within ZOOM or another source, then share their screen so that the whole group can watch the video session together and then discuss. It’s simply and easy to use in both individual and online settings! (Click here to learn more about the course and preview the first full video session)
Bonus: Live Social Connect Midweek
Here’s the final and simple suggestion for creating community and discipleship online. Identify one or more additional times besides the Sunday service that you’ll go live online to connect with people. Using the simple “live” features of Instagram or Facebook, this can be a great way to bring a midweek devotional, prayer time or just social connection on the topics that matter. Some churches have really gone full press with it by have 2 to 4 different live segments a day. For example, a 9am Prayer and Worship. 10am Kids craft/devotion. 12noon Devotional with Pastor. Evening Youth Stream. There’s a lot of ways to do it, share the load with other parts of your team and look for fresh ways to stay connected with your church online!
Any other questions let me know?! However we can serve you and your church in Making Disciples and creating community online, let us know!