How to Jumpstart Your Digital Ministry - by Fishhook Published Mar 30, 2022 by Shayla Kenworthy, Partner & Director of Business Development When it comes to digital ministry, we have some strong feelings... In fact, they are so strong that we are going to make a bold claim. Are you ready? A church that puts all itʼs effort into weekend ministry is like an ice cream sundae without ice cream. Like cowboy boots without a cowboy. Like a hockey team without the players. You get the picture. Hereʼs our point: If your church isn't using digital tools for everyday ministry, you're missing out on the biggest ministry opportunity of our time. In our Ultimate Guide to Hybrid Church Comm, we share that we believe a church must be focused on both physical and digital ministry with the goal of building relationships in both of these spaces if we're going to reach the next generation (and really any generation). Digital Tools: Then & Now The church model we've been using for the past few decades centers around people coming to a physical church service once a week, then going out to practice their faith on their own during the week. We noticed that in 2020, while people interacted with physical churches less than they ever have before, many people said their faith actually grew at a more rapid pace. We believe this happened because people took personal responsibility for their faith. And because they had abundant access to digital tools. However, now that physical ministry is back, the question for the Church becomes, "How do we continue to bring everyday value to equip people to grow in their faith?" The Other 6 Days of the Week Truly having a digital ministry requires a shift away from focusing the bulk of our energy on the physical (or weekend) church experience. This shift is a chance to walk with your congregation and community in a more personal way. To pastor them, to help them grow spiritually, to encourage them, to pray with them, to be in Godʼs word with them, to connect them to their faith through Christ. Everyday digital ministry is not about promoting your church or having the most followers. Itʼs about equipping and bringing value to the people God has called you to reach. In one of our Making Church Work podcasts, Leah Norton, Fishhookʼs Managing Partner said, In the past, it was 'how can we reach the most people with the least amount of effort?' and now itʼs 'how can we, perhaps, reach fewer people in a more personal, impactful way that multiplies?' This value is created through meaningful content combined with human connections. 5 Steps You Can Take to Jumpstart Your Digital Ministry: Crunch the numbers Calculate how many potential ministry hours you have in a week. Now remove all the hours for weekend services. How many hours are left? The reality is, most churches leave over 85% of the week untouched by ministry. Itʼs still important for you to invest in the 15% that occurs over the weekend, but don't leave those hours of opportunity on the table. Reallocate time Where can you shift some staff and volunteers to help dedicate time to weekday church? Make a list of these people (we're talking about a lot of time in the week, so it should be pretty long), and start talking to them about helping the other six days of the week. Decide what your audience needs You can't just produce content and assume it automatically brings value to people. You have to be intentional. Ask: Who is our church striving to reach? Where are these people mentally, physically and spiritually? What needs, fears, challenges do they have? How can we support them through digital content, resources or community? Repurpose content You don't need to create new content from scratch every time. Your church already has content from past sermons, kids' ministry, Bible studies, and more that you can use for your digital ministry. Make a list. Be real people Don't feel pressured to be someone that you are not or to over produce everything you put out there! People want to connect with real people. It will come through if you're trying to be something you are not. Just be yourself! If you want to take a deeper dive, I talked about this more in depth during a breakout session at the RX2021 conference. You can grab a subscription to the conference materials here. So, what is one way you can bring value to your audience using digital tools this week? Get out there and get started! You can do this!