When carrying out your ministry online, it’s important to consider how you’d like people to engage with you. This involves mapping out, step-by-step, what you’d like the outcome to be of each article, social media post, podcast episode and broadcast.
How do you want people to engage with you online?
It’s thinking of your platforms holistically instead of thinking about each post, broadcast and article individually.
Setting up a system for people to walk through this process is what DigitalMarketer.com calls a customer value journey.
Here at IGNITE | Digital Discipleship Ministry, we call it
- The Online Journey for Visitors to Your Church and
- The Online Journey for Members at Your Church.
Before we jump in, I want to acknowledge that this concept will be new and unfamiliar to most of you, but stick with the process and work to understand how it might have a profound impact on how your church engages with its members and visitors online.
Create an Online Journey for Visitors of Your Church
Step 1: Discover Your Church
The first question to ask yourself is how do visitors discover our online church presence? This can include a friend’s recommendation, an ad they see online, a flier they receive in the mail or an article that comes across their newsfeed.
The options are endless when you start to think about it so identify as many as possible.
Step 2: Engage Online
Next, ask yourself, how do our visitors engage with us online. We think of engaging as not just window shopping but walking in the door of the shop and looking closely at what’s on display.
In the online space, this means watching the video that they found, reading an article that came across their newsfeed, watching a webinar after it’s been offered to them or attending an online prayer meeting out of curiosity and politeness because a friend invited them.
If you’re reading this right now, it’s fair to say you’re engaging with our content here on this website. (Thank you, by the way!)
Step 3: Decide to Stay in Touch
From here, you’d like to find a way to stay in touch with your visitor. This could be through your e-mail list, through a short-term health challenge, through SMS, through a Whatsapp group or even by agreeing to receive a free resource offered after the livestream.
Step 4: Join a Short-Term Event or Make a Small Commitment
Now, you should invite your visitor to a short-term event or invite them to make a small commitment. For example, ask them to watch the church’s livestream, to join a once-off Bible study. Or, you can invite them to participate in a small health challenge. Give them a chance to experience what life would be like as part of your church community.
Step 5: Feel Seen and Heard
This is your opportunity to WOW your visitors by making them feel seen and heard. This is your chance to let them know they are important to you. There are many ways you can do this, like being really great at your follow-up process after events.
Also, you can try to remember special things about them and follow-up. Take note of their children and acknowledge something special that they mentioned. Whatever you come up with, this is your chance to make an organisation, like a church, into something personal, warm and fuzzy.
Step 6: Go Deeper & Make Bigger Commitments
Throughout this entire process, we are trying to do things with intention so we can help people experience our community. As they experience our community, we are hoping they will make deeper and deeper connections with us and with God.
In this step, find ways that naturally deepen the connection your visitors have with you.
Some ways you can do this is through giving them volunteer opportunities, inviting them to join small groups, like exercise groups, and even inviting them to join a health program.
You may also find the opportunity to invite them to a small group Bible study or even to study the Bible with someone one-on-one. It’s within this step that people often make decisions to deepen their relationship with Jesus through baptism.
Step 7: Participate When Asked & Advocate
At this level, your visitor is more involved and is willing to participate when asked. In fact, you may be thinking of them less and less like a visitor and more and more like a friend.
They will likely advocate for your church and for God when a discussion comes up online, especially if they feel the need to stand in defence of either of you.
Step 8: Be Actively Involved without Being Asked
This final step in this journey is about your “visitor” being willing, interested and even eager to be involved with the church and to deepen their relationship with God without being asked.
It’s at this point that your “visitor” is likely now telling other people about your church and about Jesus and inviting them to join them on the journey that they’re on.
Expect Bumps along the way
Now, we’ve just walked through a very linear process, but we know intuitively that life isn’t linear in nature; it weaves and curves and loop-dee-loops and goes up and down and back again. With that in mind, you shouldn’t assume that this process with your visitors will be so linear either.
Expect bumps along the way, and expect them to jump back to Step 2 after arriving at Step 6. Expect this journey to take time as well; this is all part of the process.
What we’ve explained above — the visitor journey — simply provides a framework for continuous engagement, interaction and relationship as we all grow in Jesus Christ and strive to tell others about Him.
Most importantly, as you look at this process, begin to consider the impact that growing your church’s intentionality in all you do and say online could have on your church and those around you!
If you’d like help in developing your church or organisation’s online journey, feel free to contact us on our Contact Page and we’ll talk about how we can help you!
Create an Online Journey for Visitors to Your Church
Have you thought about what you want visitors to do after they find your church’s social media account or website online? One of the best ways to guide them along the way is by setting up an online journey for them. Download our sample guide as well as a template so you and your team can begin mapping out your church’s visitor journey.