From Rev Dr John Squires
Presbytery Minister - Wellbeing
During the Out of the Box Conference held last weekend, I participated in a workshop led by Josh Wyatt, on “the Five Marks of the Now Church”. The workshop included quite a number of helpful practical pointers about how churches can make good use of online opportunities to reach out to people.
The Five Marks of the Now Church that Josh identified are that it is: agile to disruption — a visible Church — a central hub for every next step — using digital ministry to point to Jesus — harnessing the power of rapid deployment.
1. Agile to disruption
We have seen the disruption that has come in many ways in recent years: Uber vs taxis, the way we access our news, maintaining contact with overseas family members of our family on Facebook, movies now accessible in the home through streaming services, online banking and finances.
We noted that we do not have to make an either/or choice; “both digital and face-to-face are equally important”, Josh asserted. We can find all sorts of ways “to share the timeless message of the Gospel using timely media”, alongside our in person efforts.
2. A visible church
“Digital is the front door to your church”, said Josh. He listed some simple first steps:
3. A central hub for every next step
Instead of having endless announcements at the start of worship services, set up a central online hub that contains information about all the activities of the Congregation during the coming week, and beyond. The website of the Congregation can be used for this purpose.
Then, all that needs to be done as worship begins, is to welcome people and say, “there are a number of things happening this week; information about all 9 them is found at info.church name.org”. Hard copies can be provided for those attending in person who are internet-shy or unable to access the website.
4. Uses digital ministry to point to Jesus
Instead of pointing to the one hour Sunday worship service, use your online postings to point to the story of Jesus. Josh gave a recent example of a UCA minister in Sydney early in the current lockdown, who made a simple recording onto her phone of a one-minute prayer for people caught in the lockdown in the local area where the church is located. After it was posted onto social media, there were hundreds of views—people listening to someone praying for them. The good news of the Gospel was clear!
5. Harnesses the power of rapid deployment
Josh offered another example, of one of his friends who joined TicToc, posting short videos on finances for young people. After just a few months, this person now has now has 30,000 followers. On TicToc, he noted, there is “organic reach”, meaning anyone can see what is posted. That contrasts with Facebook, where only friends amd acquaintances can see, unless you make your settings Public.
However, using Facebook advertising in a targeted way can be very helpful. Josh suggested allocating money for daily online advertising (it could be as little as $1 per day), to use Facebook and Instagram ads to rapidly boost the message—not the service times, but the message that is offered to people in those services, and beyond.
How does your church size up, when you consider each of these five Marks of the Now Church?
Josh Wyatt can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
See also https://www.insights.uca.org.au/could-you-be-a-digital-mentor/
|Could you be a digital mentor? – Insights Magazine
Facilitated by Bidwill Uniting and The Signal Box, the Digital Mentor program is an initiative to build congregations’ digital capacity in Parramatta-Nepean Presbytery.