Discover Your Church’s Digital “Why?”—and Don’t Be Surprised When It Has Nothing to Do with Broadcasting Church Services
Leadership Network is announcing Digital Church NEXT!
We had so much fun doing Metaverse Church NEXT in 2022 we just had to bring digital into the foray. We documented the difference between digital and metaverse previously, and I’m sure we’ll revisit the concepts soon, but as we introduce Digital Church NEXT here for Leadership Network, let’s clearly state right up front: the best use for digital in your church is not in broadcasting church services. Instead, digital has become the key to new conversations, communities, and missional opportunities we cannot reach by broadcasting that service. LN’s Digital Church NEXT is grounded in the realization that we must do something different to reach someone different.
With the right approach, churches can leverage digital to reach more people than ever before.
In the digital age, churches have been tasked with a unique challenge—disciplemaking. The importance of disciplemaking and multiplication through digital methods cannot be overstated. With the right approach, churches can leverage digital to reach more people than ever before. But disciplemaking doesn’t end there. Once we’ve trained disciples through digital methods and reached the larger audience, we need to think about what comes next.
If we want to be effective, we must ask ourselves the following two questions.
Question #1: What Do We Do with These Disciples?
The answer lies in leveraging the power of both physical and digital spaces to equip disciplemakers with the tools they need to lead others in the work of disciplemaking and church planting efforts. Digital platforms provide us with the opportunity to reach more people than ever before. Still, it must be paired with tangible disciplemaking efforts that move beyond the digital space impacting physical space as well. Or, to paraphrase James 1:22, “Do not just be hearers of the word [online] and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says [in the physical world].”
Here are seven reasons digital is so helpful in discipleship:
- Digital platforms allow churches to quickly and effectively reach large audiences. By leveraging the power of social media and other online platforms, churches can easily share messages about faith and disciplemaking with more people than ever before. (Yes, reach is important missionally, but it’s not the only thing!)
- Through digital methods, it’s easier for churches to connect with potential followers of Jesus from all over the world, creating global networks of believers who can learn from one another and grow in their faith together.
- Digital platforms are incredibly useful for equipping volunteers—providing them with easy-to-use tools that make it simpler to lead Bible studies or facilitate small groups remotely or even teach an online discipleship course from the comfort of their homes.
- Digital platforms can help churches provide mentorship opportunities to their members, allowing them to benefit from one another’s spiritual gifts and experiences in a way that would not be possible without digital tools.
- By utilizing digital platforms, churches can provide disciplemakers with more dynamic content and resources than ever before, allowing them to craft customized training plans and messages tailored to each individual learner’s needs.
- Digital platforms also make it easier for churches to join an existing environment that fosters multiplication and church planting efforts, transforming disciplemakers into disciple-multipliers who are prepared to lead others in the work of disciplemaking.
- Finally, digital platforms are incredibly useful for supporting church members in their daily lives. By providing access to meaningful content and engaging conversations, churches can help their members develop a deeper relationship with God and remain connected during times of physical separation.
Once we’ve trained disciples through digital methods and reached a larger audience than ever, it is important to think about what comes next.
Question #2: What Are Practical Ways to Take Disciple-Making Offline and Help People Take Ownership of Their Faith?
The answer involves helping disciplemakers move from disciplemaking online to disciplemaking in physical spaces. This can be accomplished through intentional disciplemaking efforts such as small group studies, mentorship programs, and other activities that promote community engagement. Further, churches should consider leveraging digital platforms to create connection points between disciplemakers and those they disciple. For example, video chat technology or virtual meeting platforms could provide disciplemakers with the opportunity to connect directly with their disciples more regularly.
Ultimately, disciplemaking is not just about teaching or connecting people online—it is about equipping them for kingdom work within physical communities. Digital disciplemaking provides us with an unprecedented opportunity to reach more people than ever before. Still, it must be paired with tangible disciplemaking efforts that move beyond the digital space. By combining disciplemaking online and offline, churches can create an environment that fosters multiplication and church planting efforts, transforming disciplemakers into disciple-multipliers who are prepared to lead others in disciplemaking.
Ultimately, disciplemaking is not just about teaching or connecting people online—it is about equipping them for kingdom work within physical communities.
As we’re wrapping up, disciplemaking is one of the most important tasks a church can undertake—especially in a digital age. Digital disciplemaking provides us with incredible opportunities to engage people and multiply disciples quickly and easily. However, it’s important to remember that disciplemaking doesn’t end there—we must also leverage physical spaces to ensure our disciples have the necessary support to become multipliers themselves. When done correctly, disciplemaking through digital and physical mediums can produce incredible results—equipping disciplemakers with the tools they need to lead others in disciplemaking and church planting efforts.