Did you know that over 4.62 billion people all across the world use social media? Did you know that it’s estimated that about 5 billion people around the world use the internet daily? In the last 12 months, it’s also estimated that the total number of internet users grew by about 171 million! Incredible right?! Which is why I’m here today to help you and to explain how an effective online presence can help your Christian community.
One thing is for sure, the past few years have shown us just how important an online presence can be. It has created new ways and opportunities for mission, outreach and evangelism. During a period when people were only able to connect with one another online, it enabled the church to harness the power of the internet like never before. It created online communities, allowing people to perhaps experience Church for the first time; those who may never have gone in person. It also enabled the Church to reach people all over the world, to build community, to enable people to be part of their Church family, and to show what the online world can offer.
I’ve had my own little online space for many years now, and to be able to share that with people all over the world, and to spread the Good News, is truly amazing. It is both a privilege and a responsibility to be able to use my own online presence and platforms as a means of evangelism, outreach and mission.
With many different social media and video platforms, search engines, and sometimes confusing words such as algorithms, hashtags, keywords, SEO, and more, the online world can be an overwhelming place. But I don’t want to put you off, because as I mentioned above, there are so many amazing opportunities for outreach and mission, connections to be made, and for the Gospel to be spread far and wide.
But it’s knowing where to start! Below, I’ve listed 5 ways an effective online presence can help your Christian community. Whether you have your own church, your own ministry, a Christian organisation, or your own Christian website and blog, I’m here to help. Keep reading to find out how I can help you start your effective online presence journey.
An effective online presence helps you to reach a wider audience
An important question to ask ourselves is why do you want to reach a wider audience? Especially when we may have our own local Christian community around us, and there are still lots of people locally who we can try to reach too. Is there really any need to start venturing into the online world?
A little online testimony of mine is that, quite some time back, I was going through a really difficult time. But what became a huge help to me was the Christian communities and connections I made online, the people I met, the different tools and resources, videos, blog posts and people spreading the Word of God, online.
Although there were Christian communities around me, such as churches, Bible study groups and prayer groups and other communities, (and I know there’s probably thousands of people who have experienced the same) I didn’t realise they were there, because there either wasn’t an online presence, or there wasn’t a consistent online presence, meaning most of what they were doing was getting missed.
I sometimes feel that when the phrase ‘reach a wider audience’ is used, it’s often mistaken for gaining a bigger ‘fan’ base and gaining popularity. I suppose it can mean that, but reaching a wider audience with your Christian community has so much more meaning. It’s reaching those who are looking to grow in faith, reaching those who may happen to stumble upon your community and find it’s just what they are looking for. It also has the potential to reach the lost, those who are yet to find Jesus, and to reach people all over who are wanting to connect with the Word of God.
An effective online presence is like planting a seed in your community which has the potential to reap a bountiful harvest.
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It can help to build and expand your Christian community
Why would you want to build a Christian community? Especially when you have your own community within church, shouldn’t we be more focused on that?
Yes, of course. But as a Christian, our mission is to bring people to know Jesus, and to spread the Good News. The great thing about the online world is that we have the potential to reach many more people, maybe even people locally who we might not cross paths with in person. Also, let’s not forget what Jesus says in Matthew 18:20:
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”Matthew 18:20.
Over the past few years, I’ve felt thankful for the online Christian communities that I have found and joined, such as Facebook groups, Facebook pages, YouTube channels, ministries and communities on Instagram, Twitter, and more. In those places, a real sense of community has developed. They have become places for people to come, to hear the Word of God being preached, to hear truth, to grow in faith, if they need help, advice, someone to listen to, to find and make friends, and to pray for one another. Plus, it’s a great way to then bring those people online, if it’s possible, to your community in person.
An effective online presence can help you to build and expand community. It enables you to create a community of brothers and sisters in Christ, not just for people who you already know, and who are local to you, but for those around the country and even even further than that, to become a part of too.
Like myself, when I was craving that sense of Christian community, without them having an effective online presence, I probably wouldn’t have found them.
It can help to create new opportunities
How can these new opportunities benefit me and my Christian community? You may be wondering.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.”Matthew 5:14-15.
An effective online presence can create new opportunities to reach people and to help people on their journey of faith. It can create new ways for people to get involved, to plant more seeds, and like I mentioned at the start of this post, during a time when people weren’t able to meet in person, it enabled people and newcomers to still have a Christian community. It’s opened up a whole new way of people getting to be part of a Christian community who may not have known where to look, didn’t have one local to them, or even be able to be a part of one in person, due to different reasons.
It can create new opportunities, after all, it’s how I’ve been able to create what I’m doing today! It’s helped me to work with lots of different Christian people, not only in this country, but also others around the world. But not only this, an effective online presence is also beneficial to outreach and mission. I love this definition:
“A missionary outreach consists of taking the Gospel (and sometimes aid, relief, or services) to another place that needs it more desperately than where you are currently located.”
It can create new opportunities to spread the Gospel further afield, new opportunities to connect with people, new opportunities to develop your community further, and new opportunities to travel alongside people on their own journey of faith.
An effective online presence can help you to connect with people all over
You may ask, why would I want to connect with people all over the world? Especially when there are so many people in my own country!
“And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”Mark 16:15.
As a content creator, an effective online presence has enabled me to connect with people all over the world. When looking at the data side of my website, it’s amazing how far and wide it can actually reach people. A lot of my traffic comes from America. The demographics are always changing, and it’s really exciting to look at where the traffic is coming from.
In Mark 16:15, Jesus says to His disciples to go into all the world and proclaim the gospel. Although it’s not quite the same as in person, having an online presence can still be a powerful tool. It means that we can still connect with people worldwide, to proclaim the Gospel, but from our own country, as it’s not always possible to travel, especially across the world! But, an online presence can enable us to do all this and more, something which I think is really wonderful. We have access to technology that can help, that can inspire, and can bring people to know Jesus.
We must remember what Jesus tells us in Mark 16:15. You just never know who you may reach. Even if it’s just one person.
“Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”Luke 15:7.
It can help to inspire, encourage and equip people in their journey of faith
Popular online tools and resources include videos, live streams, podcasts, blog posts, and through posts on social media. For me, as my faith was growing more and more, one thing that really helped was hearing and reading other people’s testimonies. Some of the testimonies really inspired me; I could relate to them, and they helped me to know that I wasn’t alone, that there was hope, and that hope was found in Jesus.
Creating content online, and having an effective online presence, can help to inspire, encourage and equip people in their journey of faith, just like it did me. By finding and consuming that content, it really helped me to grow in faith and get closer to God.
Of course there is nothing wrong with local, in-person communities and taking part in different things. But what an effective online presence does offer is that people are able to consume Christian content, especially when as we know the online world sometimes looks very secular and un-Christian, and there’s a lot of content widely available that as Christians, we should not be consuming. Plus, it enables people to be a part of a Christian community 24/7, and to always know that there is a community available.
If this blog post has encouraged you to start or develop your online and digital journey, here’s some very exciting news. On my website I offer some amazing services that can help you.
By visiting my services page, I offer social media and online and digital presence audits. I also offer social media setup, 2 weeks ongoing support and more. Wherever you’re at on your journey of building, developing and expanding your online and digital presence, I will meet you exactly where you are. My aim is to be flexible in a way which responds to your own needs, aims and mission.
If you would like to discuss any of my services, bundles or anything else, please get in touch by filling in the contact form on my website. I look forward to hearing from you.
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