10 Programmatic Ideas for Hybrid Ministry: Building Online Communities

10hybridministry

Those of you considering hybrid ministry following re-entry, consider how your plans might help to build an online community, rather than just offer online programming. For more about this distinction, read here

10 IDEAS FOR HYBRID MINISTRY

Here are 10 specific programming ideas for hybrid ministry, aimed at building an online community:

  1. Regarding live-streamed events: Have someone engage with people in real time on the comments. Have the leaders or preacher ask a thought-provoking application question, being sure to give them a chance to engage with it. Perhaps ask them to discuss at dinner within their household and send their responses to a tweet generated by the church; or perhaps they could comment back on the FB feed after the discussion; or perhaps you’ll offer a Q/A some night that week where people can share their discussions or reflections. Give them a chance to connect it to their own experiences, and a way to be accountable to that habit.

    • Consider discussion questions that avoid “describe what happened” and aim instead for “how would your family react if this happened to you?” Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to offer online discussion or Q/A after your Sunday streamed service. Always try to have listeners connect to their own experience; it is the primary way information is retained.

  2. Fill your website and social media with things that enable online viewers to get to know the church members and leaders. For example, having kids interview the pastor, or the pastor interview kids, would be a great way to see how the church values children and to get to know the pastor.

  3. Offer video FAQs on theology on your website or social media. Have varying pastoral staff tackling tough questions and engaging with the responses from the community.

  4. Offer leader blogs and layperson blogs. Create a way for people to upload their experiences (vetted, of course) that can edify the larger body.

  5. Send short videos to households; simply saying a personalized hello can be very meaningful.

  6. Offer ongoing webinars on various topics that might be helpful to your online community, such as mental health, how to complete certain tasks (imagine a webinar on the stock market, or how to change a tire, or decorate a cake, even!).

  7. Offer courses online: baptism courses, confirmation, first communion, newcomer’s, parenting, prayer courses, reading Scripture/having a devotional, catechism, small groups, etc.

  8. Invite the whole church to listen to Scripture, or a teaching series, or meditations on the liturgical season, and then create artwork (or music perhaps) that reflects their experience and understanding. Share it with the church.

  9. Video challenges to households; submit to the church to share (for example, chalk the walk with Scripture).

  10. Use a variety of ages in your online programming.

This may seem like a lot, but having one person responsible for building this community will alleviate the pressure felt by everyone. Ideas like this enable visitors to your online community to begin to feel as if they know you, which is the first step in feeling connected to the church community.

If you have additional ideas that should be added to this list, please send them to jjones@gulfatlanticdiocese.org so others can benefit from learning together.