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iChurchMethod: 5 Ways to Advance Your Ministry Online


mailBy Jason Caston

The world is rapidly changing, and in order to keep up, and minister effectively to your congregation, you need to take advantage of the latest technology that your parishioners are using to stay connected with friends and family, do business, and take care of their personal and spiritual needs.

This can be a confusing set of circumstances to navigate, with all kinds of media sites and technology out there clamoring to be utilized, all claiming to be the best way of reaching your current and potential congregation. How do you proceed? Here is a rough, abbreviated breakdown of the technology that is available to you to help you reach and expand your congregation.

Your Website

If you don’t already have a website, why not? Printed phone books and encyclopedias are nearly obsolete, as the Internet makes information so much more easily accessed, from finding local vendors to answering your children’s homework questions. If your church does not already have a website, it should. And if it does, it should be updated frequently with fresh, informative content to keep parishioners checking back regularly to see what’s new.

Multimedia – Interactive Multimedia

Your church building may only hold 100, 200, or 500 members, but your virtual church can reach millions, through the power of media. Do you have a pastor who is a particularly powerful speaker, someone people wait all week to hear? Videotape the sermons and make them available online. You can post them on your website, your Facebook page, YouTube and more, to attract more members to your church, or increase your revenue by offering them for sale, via CD, DVD or audio or video download from your online store, which brings us to…

eCommerce

Take donations online, sell recordings of sermons and motivational lectures, allow parishioners to purchase tickets to special events and more with an eCommerce site.

Social Media

Harness the power of the most interactive technology the world has ever known by leveraging social media to get your message out to more people than your predecessors could have ever dreamed of. With the right message, or a captivating photo, video clip or other post, your church can go viral, and expand far beyond the reach of its physical walls.

Mobile Technology

Almost everyone seems to have a smart phone these days, and they’re always surfing the net. If they’re looking for spiritual guidance, be the one to give it to them with a mobile-optimized website. What difference does it make? Imagine seeing your current website on a 2-inch square screen and you’ll understand. A mobile optimized site shows your visitors what you think is important, and lets them browse through the rest of the site at their leisure.

In summary, as bewildering as it may seem at first, the newest technology that is overwhelming us with its rapidly evolving applications is a powerful tool for churches to reach out to members and potential members in a way never before possible. It’s a brave new electronic world out there. Make sure you’re a part of it.

What key steps have you taken to advance the effectiveness in your digital ministry?

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Jason Caston is the author of The iChurch Method and CEO of Caston Digital. Jason also serves as faculty for the CLA Online Academy. Check out his upcoming April session, Website and Social Media Ministry, and be sure to register by March 25. You can find Jason Caston on Twitter @jasoncaston.

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