The Future of Online Ministry: What is E-Membership in the Ministry?

Since the rise of the Internet, we have been able to access the world at the click of a button. From online shopping, to free entertainment, to social networking–we are completely exposed to the age of media. If the events of the past year and a half have taught us anything, it’s that having an online presence is more than important; it’s a necessity. But how does the Internet and the Church relate?

With some exceptions, the church was generally seen as the only gathering place for Christians around the world. Because of the pandemic however, social gatherings have been put on hold. Though many churches are reintegrating in-person worship, there is still this unabating need for e-Church and e-membership. Many churches are still exploring alternative gathering. Virtual worship has now become the new normal and it has proven its success.

Through The Church Online’s streaming platform and various social streaming services , like Facebook and YouTube, churches have created a virtual gathering place. Now online church and e-membership have become proxy to in-person gatherings.

What is E-Membership?

E-membership is when a person becomes a part of an organization or, in this case, a church by means of the Internet. E-membership has become popularized due to the global pandemic, however, it was not absent before. This form of membership offers an alternative way for believers and unbelievers to make a connection with the church and become a member of that church without having to physically be there.

Benefits of Offering E-Membership

Expanded Reach

You can spread the Gospel to anyone,anywhere. A positive aspect of being online is that your church can appeal to a global audience.

24/7 Access to Your Ministry and Resources

Online church allows members who aren’t able to leave their homes to still experience worship. Those who are near and far can have a spiritual resource to be empowered by.

Meeting Younger Generations Where They Are

Connecting with younger members is another important part of e-church and e-membership. A majority of millennials, Gen Z, and younger generations are continuing to look to social media and the internet as gathering places. Meeting them where they are can be an effective way to evangelize.

Flexible Worship

Sometimes it can be difficult for families, especially new families, to make it to church together, but online worship offers an opportunity for them to encounter the Word together virtually..

Becoming a Global Ministry

The church will always have room to grow online. The opportunities for congregation growth are tremendous when it comes to global ministry because the internet gives people the ability to access the church directly from anywhere.

Giving Made Easy

Tithes and offerings are what help fuel the mission of the church and though many churches are used to “traditional” tithing, there is a way to modernize the approach. Providing a variety of options to give online and through texting have become highly-effective strategies for ministries. Many churches have seen sharp increases in donations by integrating these technologies into their digital presence.

What is the future of church membership?

E-membership has opened a lot of new opportunities for churches. It has allowed them to amplify their ministry and expand their reach. E-membership will be an important part of the future. The Internet isn’t going anywhere and if anything, it is expanding. This isn’t to suggest that in-person gatherings will or should be a thing of the past, are not a critical part of healthy ministry relationships and fellowship opportunities, or that churches will be forced to offer e-membership. However, it is something to consider as we all navigate and transition into a digital world.

If you are interested in building an online presence for your church, receiving marketing guidance, brand management and more, The Church Online is here to help! Reach out today and let us help you meet your goals.

Onward and Upward!

-The Church Online

Is Social Media Your Friend or Foe?
Learn How to Leverage your Social Media Goals

Ministry does not have to be reserved for the sanctuary. Social media can be a vessel for ministry and amplify the message of the church. Widely popular social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and even TikTok provide you with the voice and the audience you need to grow your church family.

Tags and Hashtags – Learn How to Use Them Effectively

Here’s how. There are many routes you can take to start expanding your church using social media. Right now, in a global pandemic, there is a demand for virtual connections, especially in the church community.

Choosing to stay connected through social media is one of the most important practices of growing your congregation. Tagging your church’s location in-app can make your organization easily clickable making it easy for people to find you and learn more about your ministry. Add in some relevant and popular hashtags, and you can create a post that is prepared for ultimate engagement (likes, shares, retweets, etc).

You can also encourage your current members to tag a location and use a specific set of hashtags like #ChurchName #InviteAFriend when posting about the church on their social media. Having a set of hashtags unique to your church makes you more discoverable outside of your congregation and you can follow the conversation about your church.

Using hashtags effectively also means knowing best practices, missteps, or things to avoid. Use hashtags that are relevant and specific to your church but be mindful because something too specific can be harder to find. Hashtags should be concise, so make sure that you’re not stringing too many words together. Branded hashtags, for example, are a great way to keep your hashtags short and relevant, but also reflective of your church. Sometimes less is more, so also try limiting the number of hashtags you’re using per post.

Engagement is Key

Engagement plays a huge role in brand recognition. Being organized and welcoming on social media allows you to expand your online presence. As you develop and strengthen your brand voice, you will be sure to gain followers and new members of your church family by optimizing your posts for engagement.

Here’s how you can optimize your posts:
1. Make sure your social media accounts are business profiles
2. Track your follower interaction by using analytics tools on your social media platforms
3. Post when your followers are most interactive
4. Use relevant hashtags and follow them to stay connected with your followers
5. Generate genuine content and stick to an overall theme for your posts (colors, graphics, logo, photo style)

Another way you can optimize your presence is to take advantage of your location by following various organizations in your community that your church supports on all social media platforms and by generating comments/likes on their posts. Share their posts on your church’s Instagram and Facebook stories, comment on their posts, and you can even ask if they are comfortable reciprocating those actions.

You can also engage your audience by interacting with conversations being generated on your church’s hashtag church’s comments on your posts. Prospective members like knowing the church they are choosing takes interest in them. By following and engaging in those conversations, you give a personality to your church and optimize the reach on your church’s social media accounts.

Stay Connected

Getting connected and staying connected with your community, especially in a global pandemic, should be part of your church’s routine. If you’re wondering how to stay connected, here are some various services or events you can offer to your community:

1. Host a virtual concert with your worship team or bring in a special guest
2. Conduct live Q&A sessions with your pastoral team
3. Invite guests to meet the pastor/reverend virtually
4. Get testimonials from current church members and share them
5. Stream live Bible Studies with various themes
6. Create and send care packages for families in the community with a note to follow you on social media and participate in virtual events

Invitations Work – Ask People to Follow You!

Being involved in the conversation can be a game-changer for the way people outside of your congregation view you. Staying interactive with the church’s social media accounts every day through posts, stories, live-streaming, and interacting with comments and questions is important. When you encounter comments or questions, try incorporating an invitation by inviting them to visit and follow the church’s social media page.

Investing in your community is needed when expanding your church and using social media to do that can be effective in the long run. Take action now and start implementing some of these tips into your everyday approach to social media. If you would like to explore our social media marketing services, let’s start a conversation. We will be happy to help you achieve your goals!

Onward and Upward!

-TCO Team

Does Your Church Often Get Confused with the One Across Town?
Clarify Your Brand Voice.

Tomato, tomahto. Potato, potahto. There are many words and phrases that sound similar and mean the same thing. If your church has a common name, you can relate. Distinguishing your church from the one down the street or across town can be difficult. You need to figure out how to set yourself apart.

Of course, your goal as a church is to draw people to Jesus. To do so, you need to capture their attention and get them to connect with you virtually, these days, and eventually in-person. To do that, you have to differentiate yourself. Like most things in life, it’s essential to find a church that’s the right fit for a person and their family. So with everyone striving to stand out, how do you achieve your goal? For starters, you need a distinct approach to brand marketing. Branding gives your ministry a unified look and a distinctive means to communicate key aspects of who you are in a simple, straightforward, and visually attractive way.

This article will act as a guide to help you to raise brand awareness and visibility and boost church recognition among congregants. Let’s get started.

What Is a Brand?

The public image or reputation of an individual or group. A brand typically includes a name, slogan, logo or symbol, design, brand voice, and more.

The process of creating those marketing elements is known as branding.

Branding is essential because it gives your church an identity, makes your church memorable, and encourages churchgoers to attend your service or event.

What Is Brand Awareness?

Brand awareness is a term used to describe your target audience’s familiarity with your brand and how well they recognize it. For starters, do people in your community know your church exists? If so, what do they think about it? What impressions have you made? Are they positive or negative? Being aware of how your brand is situated in the marketplace (aka your community) and your church’s overall perception are important factors that impact your brand.

Building Brand Awareness

After you take the time to evaluate your brand, you will need to put a plan in place to strategically build an effective and memorable brand. Here are some essential elements to consider using to help you stand out and welcome new people to your church community:

1. Logo A logo is one of if not the most memorable components of brand identity. For example, do you see the prominent red target symbol when you think of American retailer Target? If you answered yes, you would see that logos connect consumers to brands themselves.

2. Colors – Assigning a color palette drives your church’s identity allowing you to create unique designs for your church while remaining committed to your true identity.

3. Website – Not only is your website the face of your church, but it is also the first phase of discovery. The vast majority of people who discover your church will find you online. Having a well-designed website that is easy to navigate is essential as your church’s first impression occurs daily.

4. Social Media – Creating or updating current social media profiles on multiple platforms using a consistent look and tone (refer to items 1-3)-is a great way to develop your brand identity, establish a reputation, and stand out among your peer institutions.

Our creative team can help you distinguish yourself by:

1. Clearly articulating your ministry’s brand identity with a powerful logo design.
2. Designing and printing marketing materials that captivate your congregants, including flyers, church letterheads, business cards, offering envelopes, programs, direct mailers, pledge cards, and more!
3. Producing a user-optimized website that enables you to reach your current and prospective congregants.
4. Creating marketing videos and trailers that capture the essence of your ministry.
5. Consulting with video experts to set up a successful and smooth live stream of church services/events.
6. Drafting email campaigns to help keep your church top-of-mind and up-to-date on happenings with consistent messaging.
7. Updating or creating social media platforms to match the look of your website.
8. Optimizing social media platforms with paid advertising to specific demographics and geographical locations.
9. Prioritize your brand, style guidelines, and social media presence into a marketing strategy to ensure brand voice consistency.

If you have a similar name to other churches in your area, we believe distinguishing yourself is worth the investment. Call us, and let’s start a conversation today.

 

Sustaining Your Faith During Difficult Times

Sustaining Your Faith During Difficult Times

Floods. Hurricanes. Death. Debt. Illness. All of these bring about difficulty in our lives. They make life harder, more challenging. How do we maintain and sustain our faith during times of hardship? How do we ensure that God remains our top priority? How do we prevent ourselves from losing faith?

There are several actions we can take to sustain our faith during times of trial. We can begin by reading the scriptures. God’s Word is a primary way of connecting to Him. When we read about Biblical figures, we are really reading about ourselves, in a sense. The struggles of Moses become our struggles. The doubt the apostle Thomas feels becomes our doubt. Scripture puts our lives into context of the greater Biblical narrative.

Prayer is another action we can take to strengthen our faith, but we must be intentional about it. Prayer is not a one-way conversation; it is a constant dialogue with our Creator and should be treated as such. If we speak to God, but don’t listen for His often-quiet response, we may focus too much on our own needs and not enough on God’s will for our lives.

Scripture and prayer:these are familiar comforts during difficult times in our lives. But what do we do when the scriptures aren’t speaking to us? What path can we take when we are having a challenging time discerning God’s will? God created us to be social creatures – to interact and engage with one another to overcome struggles. What would the peace movements of Martin Luther King, Jr. or Gandhi have been without those marching and fasting to keep moving forward? We need one another more than we tend to realize. When we are struggling, it can be hard to ask our neighbors for help, but sometimes, in the immortal words of Bill Withers, “We all need somebody to lean on.”

 

Creating a More Welcoming Church Atmosphere

Creating a More Welcoming Church Atmosphere

Sometimes saying, “Welcome to our church family!” simply isn’t enough. It can be difficult when we try as a church to be welcoming without seeming overbearing. People attend worship services for a variety of reasons, and everyone worships differently. Some enjoy shaking hands and getting to know a bunch of new people at once, while others like to remain more anonymous during a worship service. The key to maximizing the welcoming potential of your church is to know how to approach different types of people.

Of course, being friendly is crucial to creating a welcoming atmosphere. Breaking the social ice with a smile, hello, and brief introduction will put many at ease almost instantly. However, for those who are a bit on the shy side, making sure they know that there is no pressure on them to identify themselves or stand out from the crowd will often provide a significant sense of relief.

Another way to create a more welcoming atmosphere is to offer social events either before or after worship. These gatherings are a great way for visitors to get to know church members and regulars, allowing them to operate in a low-pressure social situation. Here, it is imperative that church leaders, as well as the pastor, are able to make their presence known, if possible, providing that social bridge to those who may be stepping foot inside of their church for the first time.

Finally, often the best way to make someone feel welcome at your church is by making yourself available to them. Exchanging contact information is a great way to shepherd visitors into the life of the church. Alternatively, you can invite them to a meal or out for coffee to discuss worship, their faith, and life in general. Making one friend within a church setting is the simplest, most human way of welcoming someone into the life of the church.

Welcome 2021 – It’s Time to Move Onward and Upward!

Welcome 2021 – It’s Time to Move Onward and Upward!

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This year, we began a new tradition of choosing an annual theme for the company, which is representative of the mindset we are adopting based on our current goals and aspirations. Because of the challenges of last year, we felt the appropriate theme for 2021 would be – Onward and Upward. Despite everything happening around us, we are committed to pushing through and moving onward and upward to accomplish amazing things with all of our ministry partners.

Throughout an unprecedented 2020, our company has worked hard to provide services to ministries throughout the United States that allowed them to continue to engage with their members. Over the past year, our team has changed and grown, doubling in size as we have welcomed many new additions to our team, and we plan to use the momentum as a catalyst to increase awareness and opportunities for ministries seeking to best engage with people throughout the world.

We are excited about where we are headed. As we forge our way in 2021, we are appreciative of all of our ministry partners. Our relationships with you have positioned all of us to reach millions of people throughout the world… together. Thank you for allowing us the privilege of serving alongside you in ministry. We believe that there is much that we will accomplish together in 2021 and we look forward to walking through every step of this journey with you – Onward and Upward!

10 Socially Distant (But Fun) Summer Activities

10 Socially Distant (But Fun) Summer Activities

1) Bean Bag Toss – This is an ideal game for social distancing. Spreading the targets out about twenty feet apart not only keeps players distant, but also allows for a fun, challenging contest!

2) Water Balloon Battle – Since swimming in the pool may not be an option for keeping cool, having a water balloon battle is the next best thing. Socially distant water balloon battles mean no close-range ambushes, but if rules of distance are kept, a fun time will still be had by all!

3) Tic-Tac-Toe – This time-honored classic game can be played through a window, using a window-safe marker and tape for the lines.

4) Lawn Bowling – Get creative with materials and set up your own lawn bowling alley! The whole family is sure to enjoy this competitive activity.

5) Sidewalk Chalk Drawing – Spread out and let your creativity flow, using sidewalk chalk to draw whatever you set your mind to drawing.

6) Bocce Ball – Easy to learn and set up, bocce ball is a great game to introduce to the whole family.

7) Virtual Game Night – Compete with friends and family who are also trying to social distance by playing a classic board game via a virtual hangout!

8) Socially Distant Walk – Going for a walk can still happen in these strange times! Just make sure you keep your distance from one another in the process.

9) Scavenger Hunt – Using walkie-talkies, compete against one another to go on a socially distant scavenger hunt!

10) Simon Says – Simon says, “Stay apart!” In this version of the classic game, spread all participants out, and encourage no touching of the face.

18 Scripture Verses to Share During Times of Crisis

18 Scripture Verses to Share During Times of Crisis

1) Deuteronomy 7:9 — Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.

This scripture passage reminds us of God’s faithfulness. We can weather the storms of this life if we remember to make God our foundation.

2) Psalm 23:4 – Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

This Psalm is one of the most famous and well-known passages in all of scripture. Its power to comfort is still potent, as the word “comfort” is even present in the passage.

3) Philippians 4:6-7 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

This particular portion of Paul’s letter to the Philippians speaks to the common problem of anxiety that we all face on a daily basis. When we leave everything to God, we become empowered and able to be at peace.

4) Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

It is important to understand that God wants what is best for us. He wants us to be joyful, not miserable. If we remember that during times of crisis, we can imagine a joy-filled future.

5) John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.

Jesus is sometimes referred to as the “Prince of Peace”. Here, Jesus offers the disciples (and us) a glimpse into His power. When Jesus says, “do not be afraid,” He reminds us that in and through Him, there is nothing to fear.

6) 2 Timothy 1:7 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

God doesn’t intend for us to be afraid. Fear is a result of what happens in the world around us. God is our comforter and source of power, love, and strength.

7) Lamentations 3:21-23 – But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

God is the alpha and the omega — the beginning and the end. We glean comfort from knowing that He has seen every generation through many trials and tribulations.

8) Romans 8:28 – And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.

Behind the scenes, God really does want reconciliation, peace, and love within the entirety of His creation. It is our duty to spread that peace, reconciliation, and love, no matter the cost or opposition we face.

9) Matthew 11:28 – Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.

Jesus’ reassuring promise to provide rest when we are weary is exactly what we need in times of hardship.

10) James 1:2-4 – Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Sometimes, when we suffer, we neglect to recognize that our suffering produces fruit. By having our faith tested, we ultimately grow stronger in it.

11) Proverbs 30:5 – Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him.

The next time you are feeling low and facing a crisis, think of God as your protective shield, delivering you from your enemies, wherever they may be.

12) Psalm 118:8 – It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.

Human beings are imperfect creatures, all of us. This nugget of wisdom from the Psalms reminds us of that.

13) 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 – We are hard pressed on every side; but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

No matter how insurmountable your troubles might seem, you will never be destroyed because the power of Christ is with you.

14) John 16:33 – I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

It is easy to forget that Jesus is a peaceful conqueror. In overcoming death, Jesus has truly conquered and overcome the world. So too will we.

15) Isaiah 43:2 – When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

There are a variety of issues we face in this life, but through them all, the Lord our God is with us.

16) Joshua 1:9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

The command to be strong and courageous is not an easy one to follow with the strife we face in our lives, but the promise of God’s presence carries us through.

17) 2 Thessalonians 3:16 – Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

We are deserving of love and peace, and this scripture passage reminds us of that.

18) Nahum 1:7 – The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.

Always remember the Lord’s love and the Lord’s goodness. God genuinely loves and cares for each and every one of us. Amen!

16 Ideas to Improve Children’s Ministry Programs

16 Ideas to Improve Children’s Ministry Programs

  1. Incorporate play and recreation. Children often learn through play, so it makes sense to incorporate games and recreation into your children’s ministry programs to create a greater impact on learning within each child.
  2. Provide nutritional snacks. Some children simply don’t have enough to eat at home, and others don’t receive the nutrients they need for healthy growth. If your ministry can supplement some of that nutrition, children will be more engaged and ready to learn about God.
  3. Encourage cooperation. One important lesson that scripture teaches is to be cooperative and live in community with one another. Reinforcing this lesson early in a child’s life can have a multitude of positive benefits, boosting their self-esteem and confidence.
  4. Preach love. Our greatest commandment is to love God and neighbor. The sooner we instill that into our children, the better off they will become.
  5. Create a safe space. Children are vulnerable and their safety is paramount, especially in a ministry context. Ensuring that all volunteers, instructors, and leaders have appropriate clearances is a great step to making sure children are protected.
  6. Provide enrichment learning activities. Schools are overwhelmed with subjects they are required to teach. You can use your ministry to teach skills and subjects that children might not otherwise be exposed to.
  7. Explore each child’s interests. Every child is different, and nurturing their differences, as opposed to trying to make them all similar will do wonders for their self-esteem and confidence.
  8. Become an active listener. Pay attention to each child’s words as well as their body language. They may claim to be engaged and interested in what is happening, but their actions may say something else entirely.
  9. Explain the concept of forgiveness. Children, like adults, are going to experience wrongdoing and hardship. Teaching them to forgive as Christ did will help them to navigate their feelings.
  10. Communicate with parents. Family life is important, and it is helpful to gain an understanding of the family situation each child has so that they can be better understood.
  11. Develop your own curriculum. Getting into the habit of creating your own curriculum allows you to meet the needs and interests of the children you are serving.
  12. Foster an environment of invitation. Encouraging children to invite their friends and neighbors is a wonderful way to increase their confidence and make them feel more comfortable participating in ministry.
  13. Promote peace and quiet. Taking some time for silent prayer and meditation will not only calm the children, but it will also draw them closer to the God we all serve.
  14. Offer unconditional love and acceptance. Jesus calls us to love everyone. No exceptions. Likewise, if we show every child that we encounter unconditional love and acceptance, we model Christ’s behavior for them.
  15. Pray for each child and their family. Promoting prayer is one thing; practicing it yourself is another. Children face daily challenges learning and developing in this world. Praying for them and their families will help them and help you as a leader to show them compassion during difficult times.
  16. Offer both individual and group activities. Sure, games and other group activities are fun, but some children enjoy activities that allow them some solitude, such as reading or drawing. Having a healthy balance of both will help to bring shy children out of their shell while also allowing more energetic children the chance to relax.