Digital Strategist for PastorsLine and co-author of reTHINK.Ministry.
Digital Evangelism is evangelism using digital tools and a digital strategy.
It’s still evangelism, and it’s still meant to lead people to Christ whether you are doing personal ministry or corporate evangelism.
These are the same methods that have worked for our church for decades, but now we are either using a hybrid of digital and traditional tools or fully digital.
So if digital evangelism is just evangelism using a digital strategy and digital tools, then the outcome of your digital evangelism should be the same, right?!
Planting sends, helping nurture and/or participating in reaping events?
The cool thing about digital, or the digital-traditional hybrid evangelism, is you are able to reach more souls and create systems to ensure that the fewest number of people fall through the cracks. You are also able to shorten the entire discipleship process.
For this piece, let’s focus on corporate digital evangelism.
How effective is your church's digital evangelism?
By now, most churches are way past the “Facebook is the devil” phase and many have some type of online digital presence or strategy. But as good stewards of your ministry’s resources, how well is that digital evangelism paying off?
If you have the facts and figures to answer, good for you. Really. Because this is where many church-focused digital strategies fall short.
We’ve gotten the message that we need to get online (mobile and other devices), use texting, be present on social media, and all that good stuff. However, the boring data and campaign stuff are usually not done. We do the planning and mostly understand what traditional evangelism entails. We have the before, the during, and the follow up mastered through years of experience with evangelistic meetings. For digital, as discussed above, the requirements are basically the same. We have to get good at the process, the data and tracking, and the systems.
Here are my top 3 takeaways learned over the last decade of working with digital evangelism directly (as a church digital strategy team member) and indirectly (as a church digital strategy adviser):
Takeaway #1: Show proven results.
Your church’s online digital evangelism strategy needs to do more than just share good storytelling and receive engagement. It has to connect the dots, showing how one specific thing (such as a specific campaign) led people to Christ.
That means your digital evangelism has to be data driven. It needs to capture the data, track it, and report the facts and figures which prove that people became closer to God.
Not everyone that enters your “campaign” may be converted by the end of your campaign, but what if you could provide that person with tailored content that would allow them to be closer to a decision?
In Part 2, we will dive into how to set this up.
Takeaway #2: Remember: Ministry first.
If the Truth alone were sufficient to convince everyone, we could just leave Bibles laying around and our work would be done. But different people respond to different things, and so our mission is more challenging. And that’s the point—it’s a mission, a ministry. We need to remember that it is a long-haul proposition, not a bunch of cool, ‘flash in the pan’ things, and we’re done. We must keep at it, try new things, and develop a tailored strategy geared towards our ministry's specific audience.
Takeaway #3: Keep it prayered up.
Do we follow the Biblical model of pray—study—serve? We often get so carried away in the ‘serve’ part; I know I do. It’s natural because we are passionate about what we are doing. So, we forget the pray—study parts, forget about letting the Spirit lead us, adding God’s grace and power to our human work.
Not part of your church's budget?
No problem. Scale back to find things that work with the resources you have. Be patient and prayerful. Mindfully, keep connecting the dots. With God’s blessing, your dedication will pay off big time.
Center for Online Evangelism
The Center for Online Evangelism is a missionary project devoted to developing online mission stations.
DRIVE TRAFFIC TO YOUR CHURCH WEBSITE BY MEETING THE NEEDS OF YOUR VISITORS
1. PROVIDE ONLINE BIBLE STUDIES
When you think about Bible studies, what picture comes to mind? For me, I used to imagine sitting in a circle with other attendees, Bibles opened in one hand and a pen in another, while balancing a notepad on your knee and quickly scribbling down everything a Bible instructor is saying. While some Bible study sessions might look like this, that picture is very different as the Digital Age rolls on.
You can use your church website to host a study with people from all over the globe! You have quite a few options, here are some suggestions to start with:
2. HOST A PODCAST ON RELEVANT ISSUES
Most church podcasts feature their sermons but why not take it a step further by creating a show for your church website visitors? What do I mean? People are always searching for podcasts that can teach them valuable information or that are related to their interests. What are the needs of the people at your church?
Research the needs of people online, and create a podcast that provides answers.
Implementing ideas like this into your church’s podcast will have members and visitors alike clicking back for more.
3. START A PASTOR'S BLOG
Sabbath morning doesn’t have to be the only time that your congregation hears from your pastor. Stretch the pulpit and let it reach your church website. If you think that it means uploading your pastor’s written sermon, I challenge you to look deeper.
What questions swirl in the minds of your members? Collect those questions and have your pastor write a blog post answering a question each week. With a creative pastor’s blog, it won’t be long until members and readers begin to think:
4. DO MORE WITH VIDEO
Video does a great job driving traffic to a website – this includes church websites. Humans love stories. With a cellphone in hand to capture quality video and sound, record individuals sharing how they came to know Jesus Christ and how faith in God brings them through trying moments. Take it a step further. Target various professionals in your congregation and create video content based on their area of expertise. For example, if Mr. B is a psychologist, produce a short video series on mental health or if Sister C is a financial officer, film 1-minute money-management tips. Click here for video tips.
'Come, follow me,' Jesus said, 'And I will send you out to fish for people': Matthew 4:19
Jesus gave people a reason to follow Him. He met their needs and showed them the perfect image of the Father. A church website is a powerful tool to share the compassionate Savior. By applying best practices and stepping outside the box, you can transform your church website into a digital fishing net.
Reposted with permission from centerforonlineevangelism.org.