Ministry Technology

The Benefits of Online Small Groups

"Online small groups are portable. Group members can gather regardless of their geographical location. They can become a group even if they live in different cities, states, or countries. And, if the group members move or have to travel, the group is still available to them wherever they go. Online small groups can keep snowbirds connected." - CL

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When People Search for a Congregation, Can They Find You?

My family and I relocated to the St. Louis metro area two years ago. It was the first time any of us had spent any significant time here, so we often found ourselves relying on technology to find things. Learning new streets was a lot easier with a map program that rerouted us if we missed an exit. Finding stores, restaurants, and even points of interest, we made new and interesting discoveries with a simple electronic inquiry. People who had lived here all their lives told us we were locating treasures they didn’t even know existed, places we found on the phones in our pockets.

If it seems these days that everyone has a phone, it’s because they do. The latest data from Pew Research indicates that 96 percent of US residents carry a phone. Whether it’s young adults (99 percent) to those over 65 (91 percent) using phones, from those in cities (97 percent) to those in rural areas (95 percent)—the portable screen has become truly ubiquitous.

The first impulse of many pastors and church leaders is to lament the detached, disengaged society these machines seem to have produced. No one would deny the reality of overuse and abuse, but those of us in ministry should not overlook that this is where many discoveries and first impressions are made today. If your ministry does not have an internet and social media presence in 2020, it is comparable to not having a sign on your property.

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Key Takeaways From the CDC Guidelines for Church Reopenings

"Stay in contact with local authorities to best understand the situation in your area and when it would be safe to open. Work to limit the spread by protecting staff and congregants and offering other options like continued livestreaming for high risk individuals." - F&T

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Is Social Media Our Ministry’s Friend?

I wrote last week about my enthusiasm for online ministry, and my view that one good result of the current crisis is that it has forced us to sharpen our online presence—while it has also given us the opportunity to do so.

This is not to say, however, that there is nothing worrisome about the current approach that many are taking to online ministry.

One trend that has been very striking to me is how churches have relied on posting their messages and services on Facebook and YouTube.

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The Value of Online Ministry

Media ministries have played a large role in my own growth and development as a Christian—since the days of cassette tapes, setting the VCR and having to plan my schedule around live radio. It should come as no surprise, then, that I was already a cheerleader for online ministry before the current crisis began.

And what an opportunity for online ministry this calamity provides us! While it has limited almost all of us to ministering strictly online, the net result is that never before in the history of the world have the gospel of Christ and Biblical truth been more widely proclaimed or more readily accessible than they are right now.

I am truly inspired by the aggressive and intentional efforts that some are making to reach far more people—in fact, multiples of the number of their regular congregants—through online ministry during these desperate and despairing days.

On the other end of the spectrum, sadly, are those ministries that are simply unlikely to survive this time.

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Does Online Church Violate Hebrews 10:25?

"First, I praise God that Christians would ask this question. We should never take scriptural commands lightly, and Hebrews 10:25 is one, unfortunately, that many Christians often overlook. The question arises from a heart serious about God’s Word, serious about obedience, and serious about worship. So, are we sinning? In short, no, and for five main reasons." - TGC

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