6 Ways to Make a Difference Engaging with Church Online.
You don’t go to church, you are the church. You know that. But how can you be the church during an online church service when it’s only you sitting in your PJ’s in your bedroom? You don’t have a group of people you can go say hi to or greet when they enter. You can’t set an example for others by the way you worship. You can’t give your small group of kids a high five and see them smile.
I believe that you can still make an incredible difference during a church service. It just looks different now. Here are 6 ways you can make an incredible impact on people while engaging with church online.
1. Share the right link
It’s always important to invite people to church. But now your invitation is literally a click away. Your church is probably streaming the service on multiple channels. Great! But make sure you engage where your church wants you to engage. If everyone is on facebook engaging in the message and you don’t have facebook, now would be a great time to sign up for facebook (then delete it when this season passes if you’d like). Contact the people that you want to invite the night before. Share your church facebook page with them or send them the link to church online. Then, on Sunday morning, share the links with them again 5-10 minutes before the service starts. People need to know exactly where to go. Make it as easy as possible for them.
2. Write comments in the chat
When you are watching a live video it usually tells you how many other people are watching. Let us know you are here! Since we can’t physically see you, write something in the chat. Literally anything is good. Type hi from where you live. Good morning. An emoji. Pretend like you are having a conversation with someone, because, well, you are! It’s normally not a good thing to have a conversation when the message is going on, but at online church you need to!
3. Do what the speaker says to do
When someone tells you to do something in person, the response rate is generally pretty good. They can give you “that look” to tell you to do it! But online, the speaker can’t see you. So, it’s so much more important to actually listen to what the speaker is saying. They need to know you are following along and engaging with what is being said. If the message is live, your comments show the speaker that you are following along and what he or she is saying is making sense. Remember, he or she can’t see your head nods and your good eye contact. He or she can’t see you taking notes or sharing a main point with someone sitting next to you. You need to engage in the chat and do what the speaker says.
4. Engage with people outside of the live stream
Not everyone is going to end up in the right place (remember, share the right link!). Not everyone is going to read this article and know the importance of writing a comment and engaging with the message. People usually just like to sit and listen. So, wake them up! If you know you can text someone, text them! If you need to call them, call them! If God brings someone to mind, get in touch with them DURING THE MESSAGE. If you miss something, you can always go back and watch it later. You can’t interrupt the speaker by having a conversation with someone else, you are helping others engage. Plus, the speaker doesn’t know if someone has fallen asleep!
5. Come prepared
Since you know the speaker is going to call on you to write comments, come prepared with something to say. Maybe you know the general theme of the message or your church is going through a series of some kind. Think about how what you have been learning applies to your life. Then think about how you can share this in an appropriate way. Come prepared to encourage other people. Let them know that you are glad to see them in the chat. Let them know what you did yesterday. Let them know what stood out to you from the message. Come prepared to encourage the speaker. He or she worked hard preparing this message/experience for you. Let them know it meant something to you!
6. Do what you are good at
Because talking during the message is essential to a good church online experience, you have more influence during the message than ever. Take advantage of this opportunity and enhance the experience. If you can teach, teach. It might not be a good place to disagree with the speaker, but write about how you understand something. If you like to greet people, greet people! People need to feel welcomed and loved, even online. If you like to pray for people, pray for people. Type out your prayers for people listening (personal, or general). If you know someone has kids, say hi to their kids! Remember they probably don’t have an online account, but they are engaging with the family.
You can make a significant difference this Sunday!
Let me know of some other ways you feel like you can make a difference during a church online worship service.