Another question and answer post from my talk at NRB.
Doing online ministry well represents a significant investment in strategy, time, and resources. This means money. What would you say to a pastor or ministry leader who is reticent about creating a whole new budget item for the Web?
1. Create an Exit Strategy.
If they are a broadcast media ministry, I would suggest they create an exit strategy, because they are nearing the end of their product life-cycle. Millennials don’t care about broadcast. They like user-generated content. They don’t trust authority, but they trust reputation. Not the kind of reputation that comes from being a subject matter expert, but the kind that comes through relationships and shared experience. It isn’t to say they wont read a newspaper, listen to the radio, or watch your TV programs… but it is to say they listen with more skepticism and cynicism than any group before them. They won’t give to your ministry just because they consumed… they don’t figure they owe you anything since content everywhere is free.
2. Pray About What to Do and How Much to Spend.
I would recommend the ministry pray through their fears or reluctance. And hey, technology isn’t for all churches… and certainly isn’t applicable globally yet. It will be some day, however. So, pray and ask God to show your ministry how technology can become part of the strategy and vision. Exodus 35 shows us that God brought the right people with the right skills at the right time to build the temple. He will do the same with technology and your ministry.
3. Start Well Today and Grow It Over Time.
Start slowly. It isn’t all or nothing. Do something now and do it well. Then do the next thing and do it well. If you have a web page with 10 pages, that is enough. Creating content for 10 pages is about like drafting 10 good emails. You can make the time for that. So start with a base and add things consistently to improve the value. Believe it or not, a web ministry can be started on as little as $25 a month as long as someone is willing to put in as few as 10 hours a month.
4. Get Volunteers Engaged to Lower the Burden and Cost.
Lastly, get your constituents involved. If you are a church, ask for volunteers who can help with photography and writing. Or, get volunteers to keep you accountable for keeping stale content off the site by emailing you when they find out of date information. Put an especially astute volunteer in charge of researching calendaring and event registration technologies for your ministry. This lowers your work effort, let’s them use their gifting, and gets something new on your site faster. My main point here is that the site is never perfectly finished, so get your people involved in making the site happen. This DOES NOT include coding from scratch, but that is another issue for another time.