Over the last two years churches have been pushed into the digital age. Some kicking and screaming. Some churches have embraced church online. Others still don’t really get it. Here are five mistakes I still see churches making with their online presence.

Mistake #1: No Digital Strategy

After the last two years in you would think that churches would adopt a model or a strategy. But many aren’t. They are simply live-streaming their whole service hoping something will stick. And growth will somehow just happen. Those who fail to plan (or strategise) plan to fail. If you want to learn how to grow your church online you need a strategy. A plan. Email me. I consult with churches all over the world helping them develop a long-term sustainable strategy.

Mistake #2: Stopping Online Ministry

The rush ‘back to the room’ for some has been to the detriment of online. It’s never been an ‘either or’, but a ‘both and’. I heard one Pastor say ‘the magic happens in the room’ as an inference to online being a secondary form of ministry. If your ministry is limited to the number of seats in your church, watch out. Your vision is way too small. You are missing out on the fastest way to grow your church.

Mistake #3: Aquarium Church

I still see churches just stream their service without any acknowledgement or engagement of those watching online. It’s like everyone online is supposed to be looking inside the ‘aquarium tank’ at where the ‘action’ really happens inside. It’s a false dichotomy. Most of any church’s mission is outside of the four walls of the church. Many on the margins of community are checking church’s out online, looking for hope, searching for meaning. How are you communicating to them? Your church online is your digital porch.

Mistake #4: It’s a Long Wait For The Viral Moment

There is no magic formula to growing online. The vast majority of church services online will never have a viral moment. In-fact the only time I’ve ever seen viral content from churches in the last few years is by those ‘funniest home video’ blooper moments. You can grow your church online through a systematic strategy. Talk to me if you are interested in online growth.

Mistake #5: Success Is Only More Views For An Online Service

Before the pandemic, most church leadership would measure Sunday physical attendance as a data point for growth. With the pandemic everything has changed. Especially habits. Many people will now watch or engage with your worship, sermon, service or any other content outside of a Sunday morning. It’s just how the world has changed. Like it or not. What content are you creating to engage your church community in the rest of the week?

Your Turn

We all make mistakes. As a friend once said, it’s good share the mistakes you’ve seen or made so someone else doesn’t have to pay the ‘stupid tax’. Drop into the comments and help others avoid paying the stupid tax by sharing your opinion.