Browse
Do Churches Understand the Digital Experience?

Do Churches Understand the Digital Experience?

Posted March 6, 2018 by Jason Caston

We often hear church attendance is declining. Pew Research Group has done numerous studies that back these statements up. But for church communicators, we believe something different is occurring. It’s not that church attendance is declining, it’s that church attendance is decentralizing.

What I mean by decentralizing is simple: rather than people physically attending, many are connecting digitally to their churches. Because of that, many people would say it is no longer about how many people you get into the building, but how many you engage with—regardless of the platform.

This is why a good digital experience (web, social, mobile, ecommerce, etc.) is so crucial to modern churches.

What makes a good digital experience? It is not as complex as it sounds. It begins with the idea of ecosystems then branches out from there.
 

Connectivity and Cohesive Experiences - Focus on Ecosystems

Many churches understand that experiences do not occur in the sanctuary alone. The church’s ministries must be in line with her mission, creating a consistent experience. Interaction—whether that is from the pastor’s message, the men’s ministry event, or children’s program—is best supported by consistent branding, messaging, and communication of the gospel and the church’s mission.

Unfortunately, many churches fail to see this consistency is necessary in the online life of the church, too. Church culture has to be consistent in the digital space as much as it does in the real world. Every church needs to understand its digital ecosystem.
 

Digital Ecosystems

Digital ecosystems are all about consistency, connectivity, and the results of that connectivity. We can think of Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook for examples of great ecosystems. For these companies, the online experience, message, and branding is consistent across their platforms. You never feel like you have left their ecosystem and thus you start to associate their online presence with a positive experience.

In the church digital ecosystem, your website is the core. It is the home base of your mission and message. From there the system spreads outward via social media (Facebook, etc.), apps, and other multimedia channels (YouTube, and so on). If your church community is to benefit most, the experience, branding, and messages should be as consistent as they are in the physical church and its ministries—or perhaps even more.

As modern digital media experts advise, it also "means that in order to make an impact in [church members'] lives, you need to have a system for reaching consumers on every device (mobile, tablets, TV, computers)." When you wish to speak to specific people across multiple platforms, they must have a consistent experience of the church and must be able to easily remain connected via that ecosystem.

All of this is also known as an omni-channel experience. This experience serves your church in a deep and meaningful way. But it is also an integrated and cohesive manner, no matter how church members reach out. If your church strategy does not involve the creation of this cross-platform or omni-channel experience, you may see your church decline rather than simply decentralize. That is an avoidable path and one that starts by looking at your church's digital experience with the same seriousness as you do the physical one.

Filed under: Branding, Mission and Vision, Social Media, Website

About the Author

Jason Caston

Jason is an international speaker, author and digital media director at Daystar TV. He has authored numerous books including The iChurch Method series, Social Connections and the upcoming Digital Connections. Additionally, Caston is the spokesperson of AT&T's national #InspiredMobility campaign that highlights how we use mobile technology to enhance our spiritual and personal lives. Connect with him on Twitter and Instagram @jasoncaston.

Don't miss a post

Join our email list

Comments (0)

Leave a Comment

Share your thoughts about this blog post with us.
All fields are required.

Recent Posts

Why Your Church Needs a Brand
Why Your Church Needs a Brand
0

Posted November 6, 2018 by Robert Carnes

Branding can feel like a bad thing within the church. In reality, that’s not the case. It’s not in the Bible so why do we need to talk about it? How we represent ourselves can impact who we’re able to build relationships with.
What is Branding?
What is Branding?
0

Posted November 1, 2018 by Bryan Haley

Whether you realize it or not, your church has a brand. What is a brand? What can you do to help your church’s brand?
After the Event
After the Event
0

Posted October 30, 2018 by Joe Gallant

You've followed all of Church Juice's tips for planning a church event. Promotion has begun, logistics have all been organized. There's a real buzz around the church and community, and people are excited about attending. So what now? How do you plan for after the event has taken place?
Maximizing Christmas Eve
Maximizing Christmas Eve
2

Posted October 18, 2018 by Ernesto Alaniz

Many churches have learned the impact of a special holiday gathering. Christmas Eve may be the easiest invite to our unsaved friends all year. Here’s some things to consider as you plan your gathering.
The Best Form of Marketing
The Best Form of Marketing
0

Posted October 16, 2018 by Bryan Haley

There are a lot of ways you could be advertising for your next outreach event. Here’s the best way you can communicate what’s happening at your church.
Sharing Church Photos Online
Sharing Church Photos Online
6

Posted October 11, 2018 by Bryan Haley

Sharing images and video of events is a great way to share stories and celebrate what's happening in your church. But that also means we need to talk about privacy, expectations, and good practices.
The Real Mission of Big Events
The Real Mission of Big Events
0

Posted October 9, 2018 by Jeanette Yates

We want our church to be missional. What if our big attractional church event is actually vital to the mission?
How to Use Social Media for Outreach Events
How to Use Social Media for Outreach Events
1

Posted October 4, 2018 by Jordan Gorveatte

Social media and the internet mean there are ways to draw people into your church’s events that are relatively easy and extremely cost-effective. As we discuss how to use social media to draw people in for these events, we’ll identify three steps: inform, compel, and invite.
Planning Your Fall Outreach: Think Follow-Up First
Planning Your Fall Outreach: Think Follow-Up First
0

Posted October 2, 2018 by Bryan Haley

We put a lot of time into our fall outreach events, bringing new families to our church. But what happens after the event is over is just as important as the lead-up to the event.
Where Do You Struggle?
Where Do You Struggle?
0

Posted October 1, 2018 by Bryan Haley

To start out the last quarter of 2018, we're asking you 5 quick questions.