This is one of my favorite conversations to have. Can you even imagine what you would have thought of if you heard the term “Online Church” ten years ago? Today, there are 100+ churches that have an Online Church Campus and I expect that number to more than double this year. When it comes to what an Online Church looks like, it continues to morph significantly as web technologies continue to develop. Here are four trends that I expect to shape the near future of Online Churches:
Online Courses - as we continue to see Educational Institutions move online, so will discipleship resources and engagement opportunities. Online Courses will become a core part of both Online Churches with On-Demand content engagement and live social interaction with course leaders and participants.
House Church Development - as local churches go global through their Online Church Campuses, people still desire face to face community. Utilizing connected TV devices and apps I see house churches popping up around the world around these Online Church experiences. I believe some will be very intentionally created and many others will be more organically or unintentionally formed.
Multiple Platform Engagement Opportunities - when our Online Campus launched 5 years ago, there was one platform that could be used: a computer (laptop or desktop). Now almost half of our audience is engaged via their mobile device and a growing number through Connected TV devices. I believe the future will engage multiple devices simultaneously where users can customize their experience and potentially chat with other participants on their mobile device while watching on their TV or divide their TV screen to show the video presentation, a live chat feed, a map of all participants, and sermon notes all at the same time.
Virtual Reality - so, I’m really big on this technology! I genuinely believe that these experiences are so immersive that we will be able to create more engaging worship experiences feeling more connected to other believers during the worship experience.
What do you see ahead for the future? Do you agree or disagree with these predictions?