Planning your next set of connecting opportunities? Maybe a small group connection? An upcoming semester launch? GroupLink?
As churches begin to regather and open back up, maybe you're putting plans together for later this fall or even the first of the year.
If that's you...or will be you soon...I want to add a wrinkle to your planning.
Better be thinking digital first.
That's right. Digital first.
What does that mean? Digital first means before you spend a lot of time planning on-campus connecting opportunities (or even in-home opportunities) for your congregation and crowd, you should be asking "how can we offer first steps into community for our online crowd and community?"
Before you spend a lot of time planning on-campus connecting opportunities (or even in-home opportunities) for your congregation and crowd, you should be asking how can we offer first steps into community for our online crowd and… Click To Tweet
See also, Concentric Circles
Why think digital first?
There are several reasons you should be thinking about digital first.
First, everyone you are trying to connect is online.
Everyone you hope to connect is online.
Even before they walk onto your campus again
And even before they walk onto your campus for the very first time.
Unconnected people are already online. They're watching your online service. They're looking at certain pages on your website.
And there are a lot more of them than there are already attending your on-campus service.
Second, many of your least frequent on-campus attendees have converted to online.
This is a fact made possible by the quarantine orders.
We've always recognized that the least connected people were also the least frequent attendees.
Now, with the stay-at-home orders they've realized that watching online is even easier (and for many, equally or more satisfying). They can watch anytime. They can watch in their pajamas or sweat pants. And there's no pressure to give anything.
What's not to like?
Except...what watching a service online doesn't satisfy is the human need for belonging.
Prompted by the right opportunity, online service attendees will take a first step into community, especially if begins online.
Third, some of the demographics that you've struggled to connect will find online connection advantageous.
Think about the demographics you've had the hardest time connecting.
Single parents? Parents of infants and toddlers? People who live in outlying areas? Busy people? People who work nights or weekends?
Some of the demographics you've struggled to connect will find online connection very advantageous.
It will just need to be positioned in a way that makes sense to them and catches their eye or ear.
3 ideas that will help you think digital first
1. Train yourself to think digital first by asking, "How can this be done digitally?"
This is a helpful practice. Write it on a post-it and stick it on your monitor or laptop screen. Ask everyone on your team to do the same. In time it will become automatic.
2. Rethink and reimagine your online content.
Take a few minutes today and look over your website. Pay special attention to things like:
- How it reads to someone who only participates online.
- How easy or difficult it is to link to the specific content you want unconnected people to see.
- How easy or difficult it is to get questions answered about events or opportunities.
- How easy or difficult it is to sign-up for an event online.
Look at your online content through the eyes of someone who is only online.
3. Find a few online attendees and invite their feedback.
This is not that hard and you ought to be doing it anyway.
- Create a simple survey (Google forms is great for this).
- Make sure the survey is written with unconnected and online attendees in mind.
- Post a link to the survey in your Church Online and/or Facebook Live chat.
Note: If you haven't read 10 Practices You Need to Adopt Going Forward (post-Covid-19), subscribe below and I'll send you a free copy.