Pastors all over the world are scrambling to figure out how to care for their congregations when they can’t meet in person because of the coronavirus. How can you continue discipling your church even though you can’t gather as usual?
While nothing can replace your physical church gathering, digital tools can make discipleship possible even in the most extraordinary circumstances. With Faithlife, you can easily build quality digital discipleship for your church in no time.
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Step 1: Create Your Free Church Group
Estimated time: 2 minutes
How many places do your church members need to go to find information? If they need to join your newsletter list, follow you on social, and download an app for the whole church plus an app for their small group, chances are good that they’ll get lost. But in Faithlife, your church group is a central hub for your communication, discipleship content, and small groups.
In a few clicks, you can create a free, private group for your church on faithlife.com. As you create your church group, you’ll see a handful of subgroups you can add to your church group—choose any that might be helpful, and we’ll look at them more in step 2.
Step 2: Set Up Your Subgroups and Privacy Settings
Estimated time: 1 minute per group, plus 2 minutes for privacy settings
Within your church group, you can create subgroups for each small group, your leadership team, key volunteers, and more. You can create an unlimited number of subgroups, making it easy to communicate with exactly the right audience.
Here’s some more great news about your church’s group on faithlife.com: you control your privacy settings. You can make your group (and subgroups) as open or locked down as you’d like, making it easy for new people to find you—or to talk about important church issues in a secure way.
Step 3: Choose Your Digital Discipleship Content
Estimated time: 20 minutes
Your congregation could be binge-watching shows . . . or they could use the challenging times coronavirus has brought to build themselves up in the Word. They just might need a little direction from you. Why not recommend resources like Christian ebooks, movies, and more for online Bible study groups or personal reading/watching? You can even discuss those resources in your church’s Faithlife group or small group subgroups.
For your entire church
Help your congregation make great choices when it comes to screen time. Take your discipleship from overwhelmed to overjoyed with Faithlife TV Church. Get a library of biblical videos your members can stream from anywhere—so they can own their faith and you can maximize your efforts.
- Allow members to stream videos you upload on your church’s own TV channel
- Let them view over 7,000 video lectures on evangelism, discipleship, leadership, counseling, apologetics, and more
- Make entertainment more edifying with movies and shows that aren’t spiritual distractions
Give your congregation free access to Logos Bible study tools. You can put a library of trusted digital biblical resources on their phone and never be lacking for small group content in the future. Your congregation will be able to uncover biblical insights faster than ever before.
Parents in your congregation may be scratching their heads, thinking they need to use this extra time for family discipleship but unsure of where to start. We have a whole list of family discipleship suggestions here, which has ideas for kids of all ages.
For individuals ready to dig deeper
We’re now offering two months of access to Faithlife Connect to individuals—no strings attached, no credit card required. Whether your people are already high in biblical literacy or growing, one key to helping them stay in Scripture is giving them resources that meet them where they are and challenge them to go deeper. With Faithlife Connect, your people get access to dozens of books, thousands of hours of Christian videos, and one course of their choosing.
Step 4: Add Info and Events to Your Church Group
Estimated time: 20 minutes
Now that you’ve picked your discipleship content and started filling your church group, you can create a newsletter with a brief welcome and a list of the resources you recommend. Once you’ve created your newsletter, we suggest pinning the post, which keeps it at the top of your page. That way, it’s the first thing people see when they join the group (you can also schedule it to send to people right when they join).
Then, bring your physical events online! Add them to your church group calendar to let your people know they’re still happening—and provide some relief during coronavirus social distancing. Start by adding your church service info, online Bible study, small group, and prayer meetings to your calendar. Then add your other events. (Don’t be afraid to think outside the box! Scavenger hunts with in-home items could be a big hit, and you can even do game nights online with video chats inside your Faithlife group.)
Step 5: Invite Everyone to Your Church Group
Estimated time: 1 minute
Once your group is all set up, it starts to get really fun. You can invite your church to join you on faithlife.com with a simple email import, or you can invite people one by one. Either way, your church group will be the best place for your congregation to find out what’s coming up, how they can pray for one another, and which Christian books and shows pair well with social distancing. Small groups and youth groups can set up online meetings, parents can share what’s working well while the kids are home, and people who want to help with groceries can find others who can’t go out.
Next Steps: More Digital Discipleship Opportunities
So your church group is built, you’ve got events and content to share, and your congregation has joined. Now what? Every church is different, but here are a few ways you can keep building unity and opportunity:
- Add group moderators and admins. Once you’ve got your subgroups set up, you’ll want to choose another person or two to help you facilitate the conversation. One huge way group admins and moderators help: they can be cheerleaders so everyone gets excited about digital discipleship.
- Take some time to train your staff and subgroup leaders. You can show them the simple how-to stuff (how to create events, reading plans, and more), but you can also encourage them to think about creative ways that online tools make discipleship possible, even at a distance.
- Play around with other features in your church group. We’ve only scratched the surface of what you can do on faithlife.com. You can post digital bulletins, update your church directory, and schedule follow-up with members, among other things.
- Explore other Faithlife tools. Your church group on Faithlife is completely free. You can also add online giving through Faithlife Giving (now offering our best rates without a subscription fee for 6 months) or a free church website through Faithlife Sites. All these tools work together from your church group, making it easy to keep everyone on the same page.