SOCIAL MEDIA & #NathanClark the leader of one of the nation’s first online communities tells the best thing a small church can do to connect & minister online.

Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 4.32.20 PM

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Nathan Clark is the online minister of Northland Church in Orlando, which was one of the nation’s first churches in the nation that embraced online community.  Here is what I learned from Nathan’s presentation at the Great Commission Research Network annual meeting Oct. 19, 2018 at Asbury Theological Seminary, Orlando, FL.

How does a large church do online ministry?

Large Church (300+).

In a large church, you can stream your Sunday service.  Northland Church does, and its megachurch stature means it can offer a level of followthrough and excellence that makes the streaming of worship work.

  • Use a live chat with church counselors to interact with the watchers during your live services.
  • Make your goal to get people into a face-to-face experience.
    • There are churches in the neighborhoods of almost all online watchers.
    • Create a system to connect online watchers to connect with Christians in their local community (which Nathan calls an “offline church.”
    • To connect people to a local “offline” congregation, Nathan suggests three steps:
      1. “We tell people to look around for people that exemplify the fruit of the Holy Spirit, ‘the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23).
      2. Go to them and hang around with them.
  • Ask where they go to church and go with them.

How does a small church do online ministry?

Small Church (300 or less)

  • A small church should not try to stream their Sunday service.
    • According to Nathan it is too expensive.
    • The support and followthrough needs to be trained and extensive.
    • And the overly large territory you will reach (potentially hundreds of watchers) is beyond the person-power and financial ability of a small church.
  • Instead a small church pastor/leader should …
    • Check Facebook 30 minutes every day.
    • Call people on the phone if you see they have a need.
      • Don’t just like their post or tweet, that means very little – only that you noticed.
      • Instead, talk to them on the phone and pray for them.