Building a healthy online church community is a creative way to help people obey the “one another’s” of Scripture—particularly when face-to-face ministry isn’t an option (whether it’s because of illness, distance, or anything else).
At its best, online church community layers on top of in-person ministry, offering simple ways to close the gap between Sunday and Monday. And it becomes a powerful tool empowering your people to grow together as one people (1 Pet 2:9).
Whether you’re looking for tips on improving your church’s online community or you’re building one for the first time, here are eight lesser-known tips that could make a world of difference.
4 tips for community engagement during the service
1. Start a conversation during your live stream.
Does your congregation enjoy a well-placed “Amen” during the sermon, or do they prefer quiet note-taking? Either way, you can use the chat function on your church’s live stream to create a place where people can reflect and respond to what God is teaching them.
Some churches kick this off with a simple question of the day posted before the service (What’s your favorite place to visit, and what makes it special?) and then have staff and volunteers standing by to keep the conversation alive. Others will drop quotes from the sermon or illustrations into the chat.
Try a few things, and see what works for your church.
2. Keep people guessing with interactive Bible trivia.
Pepper some fun Bible trivia questions throughout your pre-service slides. When you use the Bible trivia built into Faithlife Proclaim, you can get your people in the habit of using their phones to engage with your church. They’ll be primed to join in on the live stream chat when they’ve already started responding to trivia questions.
3. Guide your congregation through the service—using their phones.
Whether your congregation is joining your service from the sanctuary or the living room, you can give everyone a paperless way to follow along with the service.
Proclaim Signals are simple pop-ups in the Logos Bible app that you can use to prompt your congregation to download your digital bulletin, hop to a biblical reference, add an event to their calendar, or even give during the offering. Simply encourage everyone to use the Logos Bible app on their smartphones or tablets, then show them how to sync with your church’s presentation.
4. Invite everyone to share things they’re praying for in your church’s Faithlife group.
One church I’ve come across recently encourages its attendees to share personal prayer needs, the names of people they’re praying for, or other situations that need prayer to their live stream chat. It’s a brilliant way to encourage your congregation to pray for one another and establish a healthy online church community.
While your live stream is a great place to start sharing prayer needs, don’t stop there! You can invite people to share ways that God is responding to those requests during the week—which reminds your congregation that God answers prayer.
The tips above can help you get people using your church’s free Faithlife group weekly, which makes them more likely to come back during the week—but only if there’s a reason to come back. Here are some ideas to keep your church’s online community strong all week long.
4 tips for midweek engagement
1. Create a churchwide reading plan.
The church that reads together, well, you know the rest. Inside your church’s Faithlife group and Logos, you can easily set up a churchwide Bible reading plan. You can choose a short or long plan that helps people study Scripture on a particular topic, like grace or justice, a year-long one like the M’Cheyne plan or the 5x5x5 New Testament plan, or even pick one that relates to your current sermon series like the one-month plan through Luke. Here’s how to set it up.
2. Queue up a list of Christian shows worth watching.
Wouldn’t it be nice if your members had uplifting, spiritually robust entertainment curated for them when they sit down in front of the TV? Your church gets a free Faithlife TV channel, where you can post your weekly sermons (or where they post automatically if you record the sermon through Proclaim) or other video content from your church. And when you use Faithlife TV Church, you give your entire church access to seminary-level video courses, kids’ shows, small group curriculum, and more.
3. Host a church movie night.
One of the best ways to build community is by doing things together. But when it comes to churches with a range of ages and life stages in the congregation, it’s hard to find an event that would interest everyone.
Enter movie night. You could use a projector and short-wave radio for a fun drive-in movie, or remove the chairs from your sanctuary and let everyone set up a mini-picnic. (If you serve popcorn, have the vacuum handy! Ask me how I know.) Another option: host a movie discussion meeting. You can invite everyone to watch a movie on their own time, then hop onto a video chat to discuss what stuck out to them.
Need some viewing ideas for movie night? Faithlife TV has tons of movies, documentaries, and TV shows that are family-friendly and engaging for people of all ages.
4. Teach online discipleship or leadership classes.
Whether your church is primarily gathering in person or online, the call to discipleship of God’s people hasn’t changed.
One easy way to train your congregation for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3–9) is by creating a cadence of classes meant to help attendees take the next step in their faith. For some, it could be learning more about theology or evangelism, while for others it might be preparing to become a small group leader.
Any way you slice it, Faithlife groups give you some easy ways to manage these classes. You can start by inviting everyone in the class to a subgroup inside your church’s Faithlife group. From there, you can schedule regular meetings, set up Bible reading plans, and even hop onto a group video chat.
Want to try some of these tips for free? Create your church’s Faithlife group now. It’s your free, private way to keep the encouragement coming all week long.
Or, get all the tools above—and much more—in Faithlife Equip, now in early access. It’s the world’s first integrated ministry platform, and it’s already serving lots of churches across the United States. Learn how Faithlife Equip can serve your church in the video below.