Are you thinking about how to bridge online attendees into disciples? Watch your sermon and other online offerings from the perspective of a congregant and newcomer. From this perspective, do you feel seen, heard, and valued? If you want to bridge online attendees into disciples, you need to engage with people at every opportunity.

I gave some ideas as to how to make your sermons more personal and engaging a few weeks ago in this post. It’s been great to hear of the creative ways that many churches are utilizing the tools of the day—social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube—to engage with their communities.

If you want to bridge online attendees into disciples, you need to engage with people at every opportunity. Share on X

An example of creatively engaging your community

Here’s one social-distancing-friendly way to engage your community together over the scriptures. I heard about this from a friend who is leading this ministry at her church.

A few times a week, my friend uses Instagram LIVE to discuss the Psalms with members of her church community. Her goals are to connect with her community, engage with them in two-way communication, model a simple way to personally interact with scripture or even come alongside others to help them engage with scripture.

Devotions via Instagram LIVE

First, while waiting for people to join the LIVE session, she engages people as the pop in asking them a simple question that will later connect to the scripture reading and/or interview. A question like, “When it comes to confrontation are you a “fight” or “flight” person?”

Second, when a goodly few have joined the session, she adds a pre-determined interviewee to the screen and breaks the ice with a question about how they are doing in this season.

Third, she reads the Psalm aloud. Then she and the person being interviewed discuss these five questions:

  • What do you hear the Psalmist saying?
  • How do you relate to this Psalm?
  • How is God calling you to respond?
  • You can’t go far in the Psalms without running into the goodness and God and praise. Following that model, what can we celebrate with you that God is doing in your life?
  • Pray including #4 and #3.

Finally, before signing off, she reengages the watchers by giving them an opportunity to share by asking a simple fill-in-the-blank question like, “Christ has rescued me from _____________.” They also are invited to Direct Message the interviewer at the end if they are not yet involved in a community group so they can get connected.

The people who watch these interviews through the Psalms find out about them via the church website or newsletter—or more likely because on Instagram they follow the church or one of the two people participating in the interview. Instagram Live sends a notification to all followers who are online at the time the interview is beginning. In this way, the interviews reach both those inside the church and outside it.

How are you creatively engaging your community?

This is just one way a church can model an accessible way to interact with scripture and one another. We are living in a season of constant reinvention and we need to be always on the lookout for new ways to keep people engaged and to keep engaging with them. Some will work well; some won’t. But we can’t be afraid to try. We don’t know what the next few days, weeks, or even months will look like. However, the beauty of the moment is that God is birthing something new.

We are living in a season of constant reinvention and we need to be always on the lookout for new ways to keep people engaged and to keep engaging with them. Share on X

Resources

Creativity & Innovention- Anyone can be creative, yes, even you! This series of resources is crafted to help you assess and strengthen your ability to be creative. Storyboard and Coaching Guide are also available.

Finding the Flow- Are you confident in your small group leaders’ abilities to meet people where they are at, create a space where people know and are known by others, and to open people up to encounter God more deeply? Small groups are the point of true connection in the church. Gift Finding the Flow to your small group leaders to help them feel better equipped for their essential job. Follow up with small group leader training using this turnkey kit that can even be implemented via online meetings.

Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash