• Russ Jones

Church Resources - It's A Whole New World

I Pastor a small church in Florida and have done so for the last 24 years. My lifetime of experience has been put to the test for the previous few weeks, and I suspect it will continue for a few more. All my training and experience has taught me how to establish a physical footprint in a community. Buildings, staffs, outreaches, and events. I would suspect that many of you know how to present a great Easter event, Family Day, or some other event geared towards serving others. Now, I have to think differently. Here are a few things I see beginning to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis. Our digital footprint is just as significant as our physical one. Consider them as equals from now on. You will staff and invest money into your digital church. I suggest that you do it now. We've had hybrid Sunday services for some time. But we didn't speak to the people on the other side of the camera. Now, the camera is just as important as the people sitting in your congregation. Retool your service and your language to be as inclusive as possible. Digital relationships will have the same value as face to face relationships. Social media, which has stunted relationship development in years past, will now save relationships. I do believe that how we have interacted online in the past will mature. Small Groups will be hybrid. A group of people will meet, but there will be a camera and a video moderator. Your small groups will now have access to the world and the world to you. Digital Ushers. I blogged about this before, but you will need a team of IT people who will serve to help others get online and connect. BUT we will need digital pastors, teachers, and leaders too. Because of social distancing, which I anticipate will go on for some time, the use of video conferencing will become necessary. Your website can no longer be informational. It must now become interactive. You will be directing people to fill out online forms and read recent updates often. Use a minimalized format; keep it clean and easy to use. Social events will resume, but the days of potlucks and water-themed family days are over for now. Some churches, which have the land, are hosting drive-in church services. That will catch on during warm weather. Technology is your friend. You will be surprised how many adults have refused to enter the digital age. Well, those days are over. Banking will become mostly digital. Here is my list of necessary technical skills you will need. - Facebook - Email - Instagram - How to use a computer browser. - How to use a smartphone. - Video conferencing. - Online storage like Dropbox or Google Drive. - Online banking - How to make a PDF or JPEG. In years past, large megachurches have hurt the small church. People thought that bigger was better. Their ministries outstripped what a small church could do. Well, that's over. This crisis puts every church on a level playing field. Your small online group is as good as theirs. Now with that said, there is one megachurch which is thriving in this environment. Life.Church. Pastor Craig Groeschel built a digital church simultaneously with the visible church. They made the Bible app YouVersion and offer Chruch online platform for free. They are recording thousands of salvations for the last few weeks - digitally. You may ask, "Sure, but are they real?" They are now! Got any ideas you would like to share. Comment below, I would love to know.

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Russ Jones - Palm City - Florida - United States

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