Do you ever wonder what it must have been like in the early Church?
Making decisions on the format of the teaching, working out how to best reach people and of course how to portion out everyone’s belongings (not sure that would work well today!).
They did have one advantage; no ‘church’ model existed yet giving them free reign on everything.
Sadly, that is not the case any more.
Whether a church thinks they are radical or not, they all follow a very similar cut and paste format. You may get some slight variation of order, but most go like this…
- Prayer/Call to action
It always makes me chuckle when I hear of a service being ‘reimagined’ and yet, if you strip away the content, the format is almost identical.
It is no surprise then, as we move to digital engagement, that Churches look to replicate a standard service, just online.
No shame in that, I did the same thing by simply videoing the sermons and putting them on YouTube.
However, as I have discussed many times before, this is not an optimal approach.
There are a number of reasons for this:
1) Attention span — the average attention span for an online user is under 3 minutes. What’s your average post length?
2) Expectations — This is slightly different on whether you are looking to attract new Christians or develop existing ones, but if we assume your main strategy is to attract new Christians, when do you think the last time ANY of them sat through a 35–45 minute lecture outside of school or college
3) Platforms — Look to how content is being consumed. For the VAST majority it is in small snippets of information. If you are using Facebook, what is the length that most people are consuming?
There is a HUGE disconnect between how people want to consume content and how the Church currently provides it, and until we learn to bridge this gap, I believe our Digital Church strategy will be hindered.
So What Do We Do?
Just like the early Church, we have an opportunity to re-write the way we do things. To truly break the mould and reach people in a way that is relevant and accessible to the masses.
Just like Jesus did when He preached on the streets and in parables. Accessible, relevant, different.
This is why I believe we need to move away from being event first focused (how can we get people into our building) and move to a screen first focus (how do we make this accessible)
When we have something to communicate, think how it could be broken into chunks. Think about how people will consume the content first, then think about the content.
Think screen first.
I am convinced we have this back to front and its why Digital Church strategies are not gaining the traction they should be. We are still trying to fit people into an old and outdated model, possibly out of pride or self-importance; but most likely out of ignorance.
When Jesus came, He broke the mould of the current religious format so as to meet the people right where they were at.
That time is with us again if we are going to influence today’s generation of online consumers.
About Digital Church
Here at Digital Church, this is our passion. We want to help Churches recognize the opportunities and then give them the strategies, tools and practical help to put it into practice.
Please do reach out and contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are interested in how we can help your church or organization.