How Churches Should Use the Internet to Grow Their Base
Once the Internet exploded, it was a matter of time before churches launched websites and pastors turned to online platforms to preach. Nobody would blink an eye if a pastor tried to post a sermon on Facebook or respond to prayers using Twitter these days.
Church websites with live streaming are gaining prominence, too. About 52% of churches worldwide broadcast their sermons live and online to reach a wider audience. And it’s a good thing, too, because they are reaching worshipers who may not otherwise attend a physical church. According to Faithhighway, about 1.6 million adults do not go to church but will spend time regularly on a church’s website while 12% of all adult Americans have visited a church website in the past 30 days. And if you look at it based on 60 days, the number almost doubles to 22%. Clearly, churches should use the internet to grow their base.
Why the online push for a spiritual message by people who don’t frequent churches in person? It stems from a desire by us all to find a deeper meaning beyond our own understanding. Some may know that it can be found in spiritual healing and guidance, while many others are still searching. In this case, they are literally searching – a Google search leading to a church website that perhaps has a live sermon online. The Internet is turning out to be more effective than church tracks, newsletters, and human contact in inviting people into churches.
What Churches Must Do To Encourage Regular Attendees
Live streaming is a worthwhile trend among churches that have websites and blogs. It allows preachers to tap into a global audience and spread the message without having to come up with entirely new sermons, making it very effective. In order to do this, the church must:
- Fine tune its website so it is easy to navigate and use and suffer no downtime or lagging. Hosting the live stream with a third-party site can help accomplish this, as otherwise many people logged on to watch at once can crash the church website. Most live stream services offer this capability.
- Engage with its visitors so they feel welcome when they visit the church online. Using personalized messages and “You” often in the text can help create a comfortable feeling.
- Post relevant, updated content that can be used to draw in traffic. Contact information that’s old, worship times that are incorrect, or outdated photos can be major turnoffs.
- Keep the website fresh and interesting. A blog, photo albums, or a calendar of events can give people a reason to come back.
All these do not have to cost a lot of money. They can solicit volunteers to help run the website and ask for donations specifically for the online ministry. However, being online is just the first step to reaching new people. The church also has to try to pull them into the physical church because there is nothing that can compare to one-on-one, face-to-face greetings and meetings. A church like the Mount Bethel Baptist Ministries, for instance, has smaller groups that attend to specific needs of women, men, children, single adults, and married couples. They can offer you suggestions on how you can reach out to others or start something meaningful on your own like joining a care group. Churches like these are precious to every community and can inspire you to reach for a higher level of awareness and spirituality. For now, social media is the most reliable and effective way to reach out to people. It’s better than knocking on doors and spending for ads and flyers. To reach people today, you need to go where they can be found and that’s Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and all the other social media platforms. Those social media channels can be the vehicle to drive traffic to your church in all senses of the word.