There are two types of digital engagement churches need to focus on if they want to survive—and grow—in the months ahead. But almost every church I’ve seen during the pandemic has completely ignored one of them.
Churches need to have digital engagement strategies and content around insiders and outsiders. But outsiders—the people who are not currently connected to your church—have been left by the wayside.
Most churches are focusing their energy, effort, and resources on reaching and engaging with people who are already at their church, and then hoping that their content will bring in new people as well. But if you know me and the team at The Unstuck Group, you know we come back to this truism all the time: Hope isn’t a strategy. Utilizing the same content and strategies for both groups will not equip you to build a successful hybrid church.
You can’t help outsiders take first steps if you don’t know who you are trying to reach in your mission field. And you can’t help insiders take next steps if you don’t have a clearly defined discipleship path.
Most churches are missing opportunities (best case scenario) and even alienating people outside the faith (worst case scenario) with their approach to doing ministry online.
3 Keys to Digital Engagement
1. Churches Need to Define Their Mission Field.
Who are you trying to reach? While the world of digital ministry opens a lot of doors, it can also be overwhelming and make it easy for churches to feel like they need to reach everyone.
But in order to be effective in ministry, you need to know who your target audience is. It’s tempting to just say “we want to reach everyone!” But the problem is, we might think we’re speaking to everyone, but we’re not. We’re usually talking to people just like us in vague terms that don’t connect on a personal level.
It’s crucial to have a defined mission field to lead a growing church. You can’t have an effective ministry strategy without knowing who you are trying to reach. And you certainly can’t expand your church’s digital front door if you don’t know who you are trying to reach.
Think through the demographics of your target audience:
- What is their age range? (We recommend a 10-year range)
- Their life stage? (Single, Empty Nesters, Young Families)
- And their spiritual condition? (Unchurched, Dechurched, Spiritually Curious etc.)
2. Churches Need to Structure Strategies Around Both Audiences.
How will you reach insiders and outsiders? Churches need to build digital engagement strategies and create content for insiders and outsiders in unique ways that speak to them.