Why Your Church Should Set-up an Online Journey for Its Members

Do you want your church members to go deeper with you and engage in more meaningful ways with your church both online and in person? Then, this article is for you!

In it, we’ll talk about how you can create a journey to help your members become more engaged in your church and have the opportunity to deepen their relationship with God.

One of the ways you can do this is by creating an online member journey.

How do you want your members to engage with you online?

When preparing to broadcast or post on social media, it’s important to consider how you’d like your members 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.

It’s thinking about your platforms holistically instead of thinking about each post, broadcast and article individually. Setting up a system for people to work through this process is what DigitalMarketer.com calls a customer value journey.

Here at IGNITE | Digital Discipleship Ministry, we call this The Online Journey for Members at Your Church.

Before we jump in, we want to acknowledge that this concept will likely 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 online.

And most importantly, think of how this process might fit within some of your church goals for creating greater engagement, connectedness, training, support and camaraderie for members within your church.

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Click here to download your own copy of the “Online Journey for Members to Your Church”

How your members engage with you online

We know your members know about your church because they’re part of the church body, but do they know and understand the resources you have available for them online?

Furthermore, do they understand how they can integrate their online church experience with their in-person experience?

Below, you’ll see some steps your members can take in order to deepen their involvement with the church’s online platforms. Hopefully this results in a deeper spiritual experience that increases their engagement with your church.

It should be noted that while each of these steps are things the members do, your communications team and church leadership can be intentional in the way online and in-person programming (as well as online platforms) are set-up to encourage your members to progress through various phases of the journey.

Step 1: Discover Your Church

There are many ways your church members may start engaging with you online. One way is through your church’s livestream or through signing up to your newsletter.

They may also respond to an invitation that’s made during the church service to access additional resources on the church’s website or social media platforms.

The discovery step identifies how your church members encounter your online platforms for the first time.

Step 2: Engage Online

Next, ask yourself, how do our members engage with us online.

After you’ve answered how your members engage with you online, ask yourself, how do you want your members to engage with you 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.

You can encourage engagement by giving them the opportunity to join a webinar, take part in an online class or attend an online prayer meeting. This will help them go deeper with you after an in-person event or after their first online interaction with you.

Photo by Benson Low

Step 3: Decide to Stay in Touch

From here, it’s important to find a way to stay in touch with your members. This could be through your e-mail list, through a short-term health challenge or through a free resource offered after the livestream.

You may also invite your members to join a small group, like a Bible study group or a parents group.

Helping members create meaningful connections can be powerful in keeping them engaged and helping them to deepen their connection with the church and with God.

Step 4: Join a Short-Term Event or Make a Small Commitment

Now, you have the opportunity to invite your member to a short-term event or to invite them to make a small commitment. For example, if they aren’t part of a Bible study group, invite them 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 if they went deeper into your church’s experience, online and in person.

Step 5: Feel Seen and Heard

This is your opportunity to WOW your members 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, one of the best ways is by 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, it’s your chance to make an organisation, like a church, into something personal, warm and fuzzy.

Photo by Alexandra Lammerink

Step 6: Go Deeper & Make Bigger Commitments

In this step, consider how you can invite church members to go deeper in their involvement and commitment to the work of the church.

Sometimes, people are willing to help if they understand the need and see the opportunity. Also, when they’re able to see behind the scenes, they’re more likely to be invested in what’s happening.

Step 7: Participate When Asked & Advocate

At this level, your members are more involved and are willing to participate when asked. They may even advocate for your church and for God when a discussion comes up online and they feel the need to stand in defence.

Step 8: Be Actively Involved without Being Asked

This final step is about your members’ involvement and their relationship with God. It’s at this point that they may approach you or another member of the leadership team and ask if there’s somewhere they can help.

They may offer to start a ministry that the church is missing or they may begin to share the church’s online content with friends and family without being prompted. This is when the church can truly grow, when each member feels compelled to share the love of Jesus out of their relationship with God instead of out of an obligation from the church.

As you ponder the steps we’ve just gone through, remember, the purpose of this exercise of building an online journey is to be intentional in helping people experience your church community and make deeper connections with your church and with God.

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.

Someone may jump from Step 2 to Step 7 back to Step 1 again. The process simply provides a framework for continuous engagement, interaction and relationship, as we all grow in Jesus Christ and strive to tell others about Him.

Expect bumps along the way, and expect this journey to take time as well; this is all part of the process.

Most importantly, as you look at this process, begin to consider the impact that growing your church’s intentionality 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 Members of Your Church

Have you thought about what you want your members to do after they visit 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.