The Spring of 2020 revealed many things to those of us who are actively engaged in ministry. Whether you’re a small group leader, leading a bible study, or directing a ministry with hundreds of people, I’m sure 2020 has impacted the way you approach ministry. I know I definitely learned a lot.
One thing I saw many in ministry strive to figure out was “how do we stay connected when we can’t be together in person?” The gift of weekly in person meetings as a norm for ministry was no longer an option, and we were left trying to figure out ways to hold things together.
I want to share with you a few observations I made throughout the time of the pandemic and how I discovered the gift and purpose of having an online community available for ministry.
The Great Divide
The clearest observation I made was that groups who were in authentic relationship with one another generally had no problem adjusting to online meetings and even fumbling through the process of learning how. They desired to be together and the realities of pandemic only drew them closer. On the other hand I observed that leaders of groups who were less connected or typically met out of obligation found it nearly impossible to gain momentum in meeting together.
The Technology Barrier is Over
I think it’s safe to say that nearly everyone is now comfortable at least getting online for a meeting or event. In having the barrier of discomfort and awkwardness of meeting through a computer come down, I believe we’ve opened up a space for ministry that wasn’t there before. Sure, there are still many who would rather not turn on their cameras or perhaps are afraid of sharing with others. My guess, though, is that those individuals generally feel the same way about in person meetings.
A Supplement Not Just During a Pandemic
We were utilizing an online community space in our ministry for about a year prior to the pandemic. I lead a group of about 20 youth that desire to be together. As we are in a rural diocese, these 20 individuals are not able to gather in person because of distance. However, they are connected in their desire to grow in relationship with Jesus Christ and engage in true friendship inside and outside of retreats and gatherings.
Supplementing ministry through online community can be incredibly effective and impactful. It provides a space for ongoing discussion and study, communicates a desire to be together outside of the regular meetings, and opens up a space for those who are more comfortable sharing through writing and being able to respond after some time to think about things.
Through the ComeFollow.Me platform, we’re making it possible for any small group or ministry to create a free, private online community, where you can post discussions and host online events. There’s an app that sends notifications as you make announcements. There’s no outside advertising within your community. Also, we’re slowly rolling out programming that can be fully integrated, allowing your group to continue studying and discussing online at any time throughout the week.
Finally, we’ve already set up a community for ministry leaders just like you to share ideas, resources, and learn from one another, all within the same app. Find out more here.
Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have ideas, needs for your community, or just need some help getting set up. We are here to help!