Why Online/Digital Ministry is Real Ministry

So now that your church or ministry is online, you're at least live streaming if nothing else. Maybe you're asking yourself, can we really do ministry online? Is online ministry real ministry?

If you’ve been following me pre-COVID-19, you know that I’ve been talking and writing about online or digital ministry for years. 

In the past, when I talked about digital ministry, those who questioned it tended to be those of an earlier generation who grew up in a time when ministry was a lot simpler.

Today those very same people find it difficult to wrap their heads around the technology of our times. 

I get it, but, as upsetting and frustrating as it may be, as you lead through this crisis, your job as a leader isn’t to fight reality, it’s to leverage it. (Acts 5:39) Try to understand it and work with it.

As I wrote in my all-new FREE resource, Leading Through COVID-19, the mission of ministry is the same, but the methods have changed. 

In 2002 I sent my very first ministry tip via e-mail to a list of 100 people. 

This was a time when e-mail marketing was beginning to take off and a company named Constant Contact made it possible.

This email marketing platform gave me the ability to teach and minister in a way that was cutting edge at that time. 

It gave me the ability to bypass the "gatekeepers" while gaining an audience. But, what I found even more amazing was the number of people I could reach at one time.

Throughout history, the people of God have learned to effectively use the advancements of their times to reach the lost.

  • Jesus used the Roman roads and common languages to save the lost.

  • Apostle Paul and Luke used writing, papyrus and scrolls to communicate and teach the word of God to the growing body of Christ throughout Rome.

  • Martin Luther was not only a priest, but a professor of theology who started the Protestant Reformation. For him to be credited with this, he needed something to help spread his preaching across Europe. Enter Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press. His invention allowed for Martin Luther to become one of the most famous priests this world has ever known.

  • Billy Graham used radio and TV to revolutionize evangelism to reach the world in ways not seen since the apostle Paul's missionary trips and epistles.

Online/digital ministry is simply another method or model to accomplish the mission

Although some things will return to what we’re familiar with, many things will not.

Welcome to the new normal!

This is one of the reasons why I put together my FREE resource Leading Through COVID-19: Ministry Solutions You Can Use Now, to come alongside you and your team.

It’s 100% free. You can get instant access here

I also put together a FREE weekly ministry tip series on the current global crisis.

Online Ministry Is Real 

The one thing that COVID-19 has proven to those who had doubts, is that online/digital ministry is real ministry.

Before the pandemic hit, between 8-15% of all churches were growing. 30 days into the shutdown 49% of all churches both large and small were growing online. 

What does this say? 

It says that online ministry is real. It's not going away because everyone you want to reach is online.

As I stated earlier, I’ve been doing online ministry since 2002, trying and testing different formats and platforms to see what works and what doesn’t. 

Here’s some of what I’ve discovered. 

  • Online or digital ministry has fewer barriers than physical ministry. It makes it possible for those with little means and busy schedules to participate.  

  • Online ministry is less intimidating for those not familiar with traditional worship services.

  • Online ministry bypasses geographic and time barriers.

  • Online ministry has much less overhead than traditional ministry. No mortgages, no utilities, and a smaller staff. 

  • Online ministry eliminates unnecessary gatekeepers. The idea that you can have an impact on the world without the barriers of controlling, un-scriptural, man-made protocols, that kill the living, breathing spirit of God, is liberating. 

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus shutdown, ministries have poured tons of resources into online ministry. Even leaders who once scoffed at the thought of doing ministry online have now seen the light.

They may still be wrestling with it, but the smart ones realize what I've been saying and writing about for years, ‘your brick and mortar ministry should not be your primary option or only options to reaching people.

If this crisis has done anything for ministry its proved that there are real people online. You may not see them but they watch your videos, like your post, and comment on them both.

People tend to connect better online. They ask questions. They feel. They hurt. They laugh. They open up in ways they don’t in person. They give… online.

In a world that is closed in, quarantined and shutdown, online/digital ministry is the roman roads of our time and has become an effective method of discipleship.

If online/digital ministry is not real, than why even livestream or have virtual meetings etc.? Because there are real people on the other end.

Love to hear your thoughts below.


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