Robert Coletti suggests reaching people through online video:
Young people are leaving the church. Research proves this, and churches know it and feel it every week. Millennials, the current 20-somethings, are the least religiously active age group with an overall 43% drop-off in church engagement for the 18-29 age group. Research done by the Barna Group shows that 61% of Protestant Christians between the age of 18-29 say that they have dropped out of attending church, after going regularly (Kinnaman, 2011).
The church is desperate to re-engage this generation, as they are the future leaders of the Christ-movement. The good news is that “most young people are struggling less with their faith in Christ than with their experience of church.” Nearly 100% of the 61% of millennials who drop out of church, are still looking to engage spiritually with God, the Bible and other Christians.
Where is this happening? Online. The church is moving to the internet at a faster pace than any other generational change within the church.
Piksel recently surveyed 500 individuals throughout the U.S. to determine how people are connecting and worshipping in today’s society. The results confirmed the general trend – nearly a third of Christians who seek spiritual engagement online feel more connected to their physical church.
So how can the church re-engage this group of young people who are existing spiritually without their local church and what should the transition to a digital church look like?
It’s not enough to just have a website anymore. Millennials might look for church service times and ministry information, but more often than not, they are looking for content. They seek content in blogs, podcasts, images – all with spiritual insight and information, but in particular they are looking for video.
54% of millennial Christians are looking to find spiritual engagement in videos on the internet.
To see over half of the Christian generation rapidly disengaging from the church is seeking to stay engaged spiritually online, with video, is seeing a “field white for harvest” (John 4:35). They want live video, on-demand content, automatic on-the-go content, podcasts and apps. Is it just the millennials? No, this trend is increasing throughout the Church, with the 20-somethings leading the way.
Ultimately a church needs to have spiritually-led vision for any real growth to occur. Technology is not Jack’s magic bean, but it is a tool, which in the right hands and the right strategy can help reach a generation of Christians.
Here are a few observations on the use of digital technology within the Faith industry and how you can make the most of it at your church:
1) The Local Church
The Faith industry is a media business, and although we don’t feel comfortable referring to the ministry as a business, let’s take a look at what happens at the local church:
The pastor crafts a message for impactful teaching and delivery, and a high level of care is put into the presentation and production of the in-church experience. The pastor prepares, the band rehearses, and someone is set to run lights and audio. The Church’s goal is to deliver the message of the gospel, and enrich the lives of its members in spiritual ways, and build community. The church words are Salvation, Discipleship, and Fellowship.
Hollywood has a similar concept. They call this audience engagement, creating a fan-base, and TV community. The vocabulary is different, but in function they are equal. The TV industry is greatly succeeding in creating loyal fans, who regularly view content, building online communities of fans around fictional TV characters. The World is vying for the attention of your audience, putting billions of dollars in annual investment on the table. This means the effort of the church should greater [than it is] because the message is greater.
It’s important to look at some aspects of the church as media business in order to get the maximum impact of your message. You run the risk of missing out on reaching and engaging seekers that you could otherwise reach with a basic media strategy plan.