Beyond the Internet Campus: What’s next in the Church Online Experience?

I must admit up front that I like talking about the future. Maybe it’s because I’ve got a knack for being able to see things before they happen.

 

My wife might disagree here—and she is correct about most things.  For example, I can never predict how fast we will run out of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream.  I tend to underestimate just how much ice cream I can consume late at night.

However, in the 13 years I’ve been involved in the church technology market, I’ve been able to see technology product shifts before they happened.

 

For the last 7 years, I’ve run a church video streaming company.  A big part of my job has been to think about what’s next in the Church Online / Internet Campus development.

The question may seem a little premature since, by my estimation, only about 5 % of churches currently offer live video streaming.  I think that’s about to change. I’m convinced more and more churches will begin offering live streaming in order to serve existing members and reach new ones.

 

What Happens Next?

 

 

The question no one seems to be asking is this: When a church starts generating some consistent numbers for their Internet Campus, what happens next?

In my experience, (after talking to many pastors and media leaders), most churches do not have an effective Internet Campus conversion strategy.  More specifically, there is no plan to connect with Church Online attendees beyond the Sunday morning, live experience. That surprises me, since most churches I know spend a lot of time planning their spiritual conversion strategy.  They design a clear track to move a casual first-time attendee all the way to a fully participating, highly involved church member. Not every visitor arrives at the last stage, but that is the goal and the steps are in place.  So far, however, I haven’t heard of a plan to take online visitors or long term internet viewers to that same level.

 

Many of our clients are getting several hundred viewers a week—some a lot more, some less—but there seems to be general consensus that this is it. The goal is to get more people to watch. (I have a few ideas on this subject that I will be sharing soon. Sign up for our newsletter or email us or follow us on social media if you want to be notified when this topic is posted).  Getting more viewers is a great goal, but an Internet Campus is just the beginning, not the end-all. What about focusing on the individual viewer’s spiritual growth as well as on reaching more viewers?

 

I have a couple of theories about this. In my next post, I’ll share why most churches don’t have a spiritual conversation strategy in place for their Internet campuses.

 

In the meantime please let me know your thoughts –

 

Are your currently watching or offering church online experiences?  Do you feel that real ministry is taking place?  Any testimonies?  What do you think will happen next in this field? What is your favorite flavor of ice-cream?

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  • The Church At (Part-4 Who Do You Reach Online?)

    We asked Dr Alex about the reach of video streaming. He told a cool story that had happened recently. We hear this often its surprising who you reach once you being to broadcast your services live.