3 huge ways small and mid-size churches can innovate in an online world

Despite traditional barriers like tight budgets and few (if any) paid staff, small and mid-size churches have greater opportunities to innovate today than ever before.

Here are 3 huge ways small or mid-size churches can innovate:

1. Live video-based Bible studies

With Google+ Hangout you can lead a small group of up to 10 people in a video-based study from the comfort of your office or home. They can ask questions, be engaged and it creates a fun learning environment. You can even email them pdf worksheets that you designed.

In addition to this you can live stream the study to Facebook, YouTube and your website simultaneously if you want to widen your influence.

And you can do all of this for free thanks to social media.

2. Live-stream sermons

Gone are the days when only big-budget mega-churches could live stream their services. Now anyone can at absolutely no cost.

Periscope is Twitters new live video-streaming app that allows anyone, anywhere to stream live for free. You have control over whether or not people can comment and even who can watch. On Periscope the stream remains available for viewing up to twenty-four hours after the stream ends, but with #Katch people can continue to watch the replay indefinitely.

3. Twitter instant interaction

I had a conversation with a pastor from a small church in London, Ontario. He explained to me that his church has not really embraced social media as a ministry tool, but then shared something he had done recently with great success.

At the start of a sermon on a Sunday morning he asked his congregation a question and invited them to reply using Twitter (for those without a Twitter account, they were invited to leave a note in the offering plate). Then near the end of his sermon the pastor opened up Twitter from his iPhone and began to read the replies from the congregation.

This created awesome engagement and greater interest in the message because people had invested into the message and were anxious to see how their Tweets applied at the end.

Question: What are some other ways that small churches can innovate?

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About the author


ChristianWeek Columnist

Derek is a Christian blogger at derekouellette.ca where he writes to help mission-minded believers use social media and the internet to advance God's Kingdom. He's also an author and founder of Gospel Sneeze Academy. Derek lives in Windsor, Ontario with his wife, toddler and one addition on the way.

  • James

    Really appreciate these comments Derek. Thanks! Have you heard feedback on the live stream bible study? Would be curious to know how that’s going for some churches.

    • Hey James, I know one church and one independent ministry that are both using live stream video for their Bible studies. Feedback is, it works really well. The church uses a tool called Zoom (Zoom.us) and I’ve checked it out. It’s powerful stuff. The teacher can even incorporate multi-media by “screensharing” and then putting up a video or something. Plus, the people in attendance are able to see and engage with one another. So, positive so far! If you try it, let me know how it goes.