5 tips for engaging your online community with the gospel

February 9, 2021
It’s been important for pastors to support others who’ve been struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, possibly in ways they never have before.
 
But as a pastor, how do you reach your community if they’re no longer walking through your church doors? 
 
The digital space has been an answer for many as COVID-19 continues to be an issue and impacts church gatherings.
 
Paul Kevetter and Drew Powell, pastors at Crosspoint Church in Nashville, Tennessee, recently conducted a webinar titled “The Digital Space & The Great Commission” for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, and they shared five tips for pastors looking for advice in the online world. Here’s a summary of their advice.

Making disciples should not just be another trend but must be the focus of the church.

1. There’s no need to feel overwhelmed.
Look at the online space not as a challenge, but as an adventure to navigate day by day — learning and adapting to new things as you go. Perfection and high-tech gear aren’t necessary, just grace for yourself and a real love for others.
 
“Just walk in obedience,” Powell said. “At the end of the day, God is going to use these tools to get to the right people, to reach people. He doesn’t need us. He chooses to use us. Hang in there, keep trying things. None of us have done this before so we’re in this together.”  
 
2. Here’s where to start.
Consider the following questions: What do you believe about the online space? Who are you trying to reach? How much do you care about reaching others outside the walls of your church?
 
Have a people-first mindset, thinking about what best serves your demographic. Don’t be afraid to ask your own church members what they need. 
 
Then, develop a strategy to engage others online — not just from your answers to these questions but based on your convictions in Scripture. 
 
To go one step further, research how other churches have reached people in the online space and learn from them. For example, Kevetter said he has been able to disciple a larger audience through resources like Facebook groups and a free church online platform from LifeChurch.
 
3. Online spaces are the new front door of your church.
People are looking at churches’ online platforms before even being in close proximity to their brick-and-mortar locations. 
 
Just as someone looks up restaurant reviews online before choosing where they’ll eat, the same goes for churches. 
 
Consequently, churches need to make a great first impression on their website and social media. It may just be the foot in the door to your actual church building. 
 
4. An important word of caution. 
“As we start doing spiritual warfare in the digital space, there’s a lot of evil we will encounter,” Powell said. “If we’re not prayerful, if we’re not really aligned with the heart and Spirit of God, it can be detrimental.” 
 
5. Real relationships matter. 
While technology may feel impersonal, there are actual people on the other side of the screen and it’s vital to build relationships with them. Online interaction can never replace the value of in-person contact, but real relationships can be built through that platform. 
 
The goal is never to leave someone behind the screen — but to have them join the body of Christ. 

Watch the “The Digital Space & The Great Commission” webinar by clicking on the video above. For additional webinars and other resources for your church, visit the “Reimagine” project website.


by Lizzy Long 
/  Contributing Writer

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1 Comment

  1. Deanie Heath

    This was such a helpful, encouraging discussion. I appreciated the focus on people first, equipment and platforms later. As an educator who trained teachers to use the digital tools (keyword: tools), I often saw teachers get caught up in the “cool tools” and forget what they were trying to achieve. Now as a servant leader in my congregation, I want to help “navigate the adventure.” I really appreciated the idea that like Paul, we are just using the tools that are available at our time and place.

    Reply

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