Getting the ball rolling with online learning and e-formation at your church? Some churches are already technological resources that enhance ministry. These churches often take off with ChurchNext classes enthusiastically.
Others need a little more time, though. For these churches, this might be your experience: you tell your congregation that this great new resource is available. You’re hyped. The clergy and staff are hyped. The congregation is interested. You add classes, let people know that they are available, and wait for the flood of emails to begin.Here’s what you get.
If the above scenario describes your experience with launching ChurchNext or other online ministry opportunities in your congregation, we have some tips for getting things going with more energy.
Start with group classes. Many people who launch ChurchNext expect individuals members of the congregation to use it on their own, simply because they are interested. Some do, but we have found that starting by having members of the congregation use group classes is a better way to get congregations accustomed to using online educational material. Once they have taken group classes in adult formation, Bible study, or through some specific ministry and have some awareness of how the classes work, they are more likely to use classes, both in ministries and as individuals.
Assign an administrator. Particularly during the first year, it can help to have one person who is assigned to communicate with the congregation about ChurchNext offerings.
Assign a ChurchNext administrator — it can be an enthusiastic lay person, a seminarian, the Christian education director, or one of the clergy — to become aware of the classes that ChurchNext offers and to communicate with the leaders of different ministries about classes that can support their work. This person should be aware of what, generally, is going on in the church and be willing to talk to people about how classes can enhance various ministries.
For example, the administrator can communicate with the leaders of the lectors, of the Altar Guild, of Vacation Bible School, of Eucharistic visitation, and of any other relevant ministries to let them know that ChurchNext offers training in working with these ministries. Or say that your church begins to work with a refugee family. The ChurchNext administrator thinks, “Hey, isn’t there a class on refugees?” and gets in touch with the head of that ministry about utilizing Responding to Refugees with Allison Duvall For Groups .
The time commitment for this job isn’t high — it will start with some talking and emailing, but communication needs should reduce considerably as parishioners and church leaders become more aware of ChurchNext as a resource. Most congregations maintain an administrator, however, to continue communication as needed, so make sure to find a new administrator if the first one moves on.
Coming Next Week: 3 more tips on getting your church hyped on online learning. In the meantime, for more information about launching ChurchNext at your church, check out The ChurchNext Launch Plan.