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Connecting with Online Visitors

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Explore ways to drive online visitors to reach out and connect with your church.

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Guest: Matthew Schultz, pastor and ministry consultant, has successfully shepherded multiple churches through times of transition and change and has helped not-for-profit agencies and churches of all sizes reimagine their ministries. Matthew currently pastors a congregation in New York state.

Introduction: For many churches that went online during the COVID-19 pandemic, online visitors are a blessing and a challenge. Discover some ways to connect with these new visitors.

Summary:

The digital world can be a great way to connect with people. Sometimes the visitors will reach out to let you know they’re watching: Facebook Messenger app, emails, phone calls, etc.

What drives online visitors to reach out? Try these ideas:

  • Put an invitation—a call to action—into the service. Make it both visual and verbal.
  • Ask visitors for prayer requests.
  • Have someone from church comment live on Facebook and YouTube to engage visitors.
  • Ask to meet with people in need—perhaps team with other churches.
  • Utilize online visitor cards.

Find ways to facilitate the transition from digital connection to in-person involvement.

  • Recognize that the online visitors are often partially connected because they’ve been invited by current members—already starting the conversations.
  • Rejoice in the baptisms and other opportunities for ministry.
  • Encourage members to invite others to “join them” in watching, either physically or on their own; this is a very easy way for church families to share Jesus with others—near and far.
  • People get a taste of what your church is like before they visit in person.
  • Digital connections lower the barrier for people to invite others and for those who are invited to feel connected to your ministry.

Thought Starters:

  • Which one of the “connecting” ideas shared could you implement in your next online service?
  • Who—on your staff or in your congregation—could tackle another “connecting” idea from the list?

Resources:

other church websites—see what they’re doing!

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