Several things our churches are doing well is getting worship services online. We have Facebook live, YouTube, and online services that are making these worship services an indispensable option for our communities, “reaching people we are not already reaching.” This is a way of adding “virtual” seats to existing worship services, but it does not necessarily create a New Faith Community (NFC) as it grows an existing one. Here are a few ideas and criteria that might be helpful if we want to create an identifiable faith community where people can grow in discipleship, relationships and faith:
This type of NFC can also have a special service aimed just for online attenders. This service can be an occasional service or a regular service, and would be a great resource for bad weather days when people might not be able to travel. The more the service is elevated to a higher level the more a church can reach people we are not already reaching.
Some churches can create an entire online service connection on their present website or create a website of its on for the NFC that can include a link to the main site. Others that use YouTube or Facebook live can do the same on their churches website or a separate website. In the service or on social media announce that attenders can go to the site and register, turn in prayer requests, connect, etc. Many will use this website in the same way, as they will fill out an attendance card when they come to church in person. If the online service is presented and understood as its own Faith Community it changes how people interact, participate, and experience the service itself. Most attenders want you to know they are there. This makes it a new online community rather than just adding virtual seats to an existing one.
Churches that meet the criteria for a NFC online community can submit a proposal to request a grant from the Smith Center to assist. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.