I'm always asking the question: What's Next? Since the iMinistry Conference I especially have been asking this question in regards to the future of Online Church. The vision that I had for 2 years ago looks much different today, and my guess is that it will look much different 2 years from now. Technology moves fast and we must always keep looking ahead and never get comfortable.
2 years ago I constantly looked at what we do on our physical church campus and tried to figure out how that could translate to our online church. These were healthy questions and we have done some great things offering Online Worship services and Online LifeGroups just like we do on our physical campus.
Here is the question we are beginning to ask: what can we do online that we can not do on our physical campus? We don't necessarily have these answers yet, but in asking this question we have developed a new strategy to how we look at our Online Church platform that has been a foundational shift for us:
Our online video content should combine the principles of broadcast television with the purposes of the Church maximizing the interactivity of Social Media.
This is a big shift from what can we video tape on our physical church campus and broadcast on our online church platform?
Here are some of the adjustments we have made recently:
1) 30 minute worship services- our online attention span is shorter and tv networks have found a great system in 30 minute time slots.
2) Less music- we found that people like the worship music, but don't engage well online with a full worship set.
3) Preaching directly to the camera (and shorter messages)- this has probably been the biggest game-changer for us and I can't be more grateful to our preaching pastors for making this commitment to preach an additional (shorter) message directly to our online community.
4) Creating elements in our video content that encourages interaction/engagement via Social Media. Using the Media Social platform that integrates seamlessly with Facebook has been key for us.
I would love to hear what you see ahead for the future of Online Church and where you might agree or disagree with what we are doing with OnlineChurch.com.