Doing ministry online is not rocket science (meaning, it is not supposed to be that difficult). However, there is a learning curve that novices must go through to become more proficient and effective in doing it. Thus, we journey from baby steps to best practices. Below are some suggestions on how we can improve. They based on four categories: Content, Equipment, Platforms, and Engagement.
Online content can be further categorized into five types:
- Text – Writing good content via text is foundational and basic. The key is to identify who we are writing for or to. Identifying your intended audience is crucial to writing well. There are four tips to doing this: Your content must be Need-meeting, Encouraging, Applicable, and Relevant to your target audience.
- Image – A picture can paint a thousand words. Using images as a form of content can easily attract the eyes. They are easily available for free. But you can also create your own using your mobile phone. The key is to follow standard sizes according to the platform you are using.
- Audio – There are people who still prefer listening rather than looking. Even if you do not have a “radio” voice, you can still create audio content. A good example is creating a podcast. There are many tools available for creating this kind of content.
- Video – Watching moving pictures is of course the preferred content of many people today (as seen in the way platforms are prioritizing it). Today, it is no longer hard to create videos. Your standard mobile phone is equipped to do good videos already. The key is to determine whether going live with video is better than creating a pre-recorded video.
- Combination – Of course, you can combine all four types in one content. Or you can repurpose one content into different types across different platforms. Regardless of type, the key is to do this regularly, not sporadically.
- Writing Tool – There are both paid and free tools to use for writing. This is no-brainer for many of us. The important thing to remember in writing are three things: Good Grammar, Correct Syntax, and Appropriate Style. Using tools like Grammarly can be immensely helpful. In addition, one must be familiar with the use of emojis as well as hashtags.
- Image Capturing Device – Again, your basic phone has all the capacities of taking good pictures, if you want to be unique or personal. But you can always use stock images. For some who might be more particular about the quality of their images, a good DSLR camera would be advantageous (if you know how to use one).
- Audio Capturing Device – Sound is particularly important. You need to invest in a good audio capturing device (i.e. a microphone). Condenser microphones are better than dynamic ones. The standard microphone on your laptop may not be enough. Fortunately, some good webcams have good microphones also (for example, Logitech C920 webcam).
- Video Capturing Device – Capturing your video in high definition is a must these days. It is good that most newer webcams can do that now. Some older laptops may not have this capacity. Some people use their mobile phones as webcams, and that is possible, especially when you use a USB connection rather than Wi-Fi.
- Editing Software – There are many editing Software available today to edit audio and/or video. Some are free while others are paid. Some are online while others you must download. The downloaded ones may require additional computing power. Therefore, older, or slower, computers may not be able to handle editing, especially if it is video. Often, online editors would be preferable, but you need to have good Internet connection.
- Broadcasting Software – If you want to use live video, you will need broadcasting software. Like Editing Software, these are also available online or through download. Some are free while others require payment. Payment may either be one-time or recurring (i.e. via subscriptions).
- Internet Connection – If you want to do online ministry, you will need Internet Connection. You can either have your own subscription or you can rent (for example, through office space rentals). Depending on the platform, and case usage, you may need a higher bandwidth.
- Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms are good channels of communication. You need to understand the dynamics, rules, and limitations for each platform to use it well. Some content can be cross posted without much alteration. But some may require editing to fit the platform.
- Own Website – One of the best places to put your content is on your own website. You can easily create your website through various free platforms like WordPress, Wix.com, or Google Sites. Visit church websites to get an idea of how to create your own design for your website.
- Third-Party Website – Some companies will allow you to create your own website or landing page on their platform if you are willing to use their online services. This may be a good option, especially for those who may not have the time or the personnel to build their own websites from scratch. Usually, these platforms have templates that you can easily alter for your own needs.
- Organic Engagement – You can rely on simultaneous or natural engagement of your content through likes, comments, and shares in Social Media. You can interact with them in the same way.
- Groups – One of the best ways to engage with your audience is through groups. Groups bring people into one place and communication with them would be more direct and easier. The algorithms of social media companies like Facebook will severely limit the actual reach of your content unless you boost it (i.e. pay for it).
- Google Tools – Google provides various tools that can be used for online engagement. They are usually free (some products may need payment). But Google has one of the best networks because all their products connect with each other.
- Email – Emailing will always be a good option for encouraging engagement especially through writing. Although it can be tedious, because messages will have to go back and forth, and it may take awhile to get a response, etc. from people. Platforms such as Slack or WhatsApp can provide faster communications via text messages if that is preferred.
- Online Meeting Platforms – Zoom, Messenger Rooms, Google Hangouts, etc. are fast becoming popular tools these days. However, you must take into consideration what type of meeting you want to have (Example: One to One, One to Few, One to Many, Few to Few, or Many to Many). Some platforms may not be suitable, for example, for Many to Many.
- Live Q&A, Chat and Polls – One of the best ways to encourage engagement, especially when the audience is many, is through live conversations via text. This includes question and answer portions, chat, and live polls. The audience can interact immediately and without intimidation. More than 50% of people are introverts and about 74% prefer writing rather than speaking especially with large audiences.
Doing ministry online can be challenging. But it is not impossible. You may have to learn it at first, and that may be frustrating. But perseverance will have its benefits later. Just like driving, for example. Over time you will learn how to do things instinctively and more effectively. The result will be more blessings for more people through the word of God.
Note: If you want to know more, you can enroll in our online workshop entitled “How to Do Ministry Online.” Click here if you are interested.