Many people of faith find community to be essential to their journeys with Christ. Since 2020, how the church is defined has completely transformed, with churches pivoting to offer either online-only or hybrid services for their congregations. While it was originally out of need, online attendees have now come to enjoy the convenience of being able to attend services from anywhere in the world.
For anyone looking to start a church, going digital is a great option that comes with plenty of advantages, especially when compared to the costs of starting a traditional church. If you're currently deciding between the two, or working for a brick-and-mortar church and looking to move into the future affordably, this article is for you.
Here are some key advantages of starting an online church:
Why A Church Online Makes Sense In Today’s World
There are many reasons why an online counterpart to your traditional church services will make sense, or even bring more growth to your congregation.
Let's take a look at some of the biggest benefits:
- You can reach a global audience: An online church doesn’t have geographical boundaries, so you can have members and attendees from all over the world. This ultimately spreads His message even further.
- Online services are flexible and convenient: Your members can attend services from the comfort of their homes, or even on the go - no more drops in attendance during school holidays.
- You can offer more than one service: An online church can offer different services at different times to cater to various time zones and help people who work odd hours or have busy schedules. It also means you can connect with your congregants every day of the week instead of being limited to just Sunday services.
- It’s more cost-effective: Starting an online church is more affordable than starting a traditional brick-and-mortar church. You don’t need to worry about the costs of renting or owning a physical space, and you can save on other overhead costs as well.
- Services can be recorded and archived: If someone misses a service or wants to watch it again, they can simply click a link and enjoy the message as if they had been there.
How Online Church Compares To Traditional Churches
Founding a traditional church is much more difficult than an online one. Not only is there a lot more red tape, but there are a ton of organizational headaches to deal with Here’s a quick comparison:
- Location: You’ll need to buy or lease a physical space for your church, which can be expensive depending on the area you choose. An online church doesn’t have this overhead cost.
- Services: You’ll likely only be able to offer one service on Sundays (or maybe Saturdays), whereas an online church can offer services every day.
- Staffing needs: You’ll need a larger team to support your physical church than you would for an online one - everything from janitorial staff to ushers and sound/tech support. An online church requires a smaller team since there is no physical space to maintain.
- Promotion and advertising: You’ll need to spend money on marketing and advertising to get the word out about your church in the local community. An online church can be promoted for free using social media and other digital channels.
How To Start Your Online Church With Minimal Budget
Now that we’ve looked at some of the advantages of starting an online church, let’s dive into how you can get started even if you don't have a lot of funds to dedicate to building your church presence online. Below are key steps you need to take to start your own digital ministry:
- Define your mission and vision: As with any church, it’s important to start with a clear mission and vision. What values will guide your church? What demographics do you want to reach? Once you have these answers, you can start to put together your services and plan your church’s growth.
- Create engaging content: Services at an online church are entirely digital, so it’s important to make sure your content is engaging and high quality. If you’re not a skilled writer or designer, consider working with someone who can help you create professional-looking materials.
- Invest in the right technology: You’ll need to invest in some key pieces of technology to start your online church, including a good quality microphone, webcam, and video editing software.
- Market your church online: Once you have all the pieces in place, it’s time to start marketing your new online church. Use social media, email marketing, and your church website to start reaching out to people in your community and beyond.
How Churches Can Save By Training Their Own Media Team
One way that churches can save on the cost of starting an online church is by training their own media team. This team can be responsible for creating and managing all of the digital content for the church, from recording services to editing videos and posting them online.
While this approach takes some time to get started with, it can pay dividends in the future when you save on outsourcing professional work that you can now do in-house. The best way to build a media team like this is to look for the following:
-Volunteers that know tech: the people you choose should ideally be willing to volunteer for the church and have some sort of tech experience in order to run online services.
-Create a team structure: you’ll need to decide who will be responsible for what tasks on the team. For example, you might have one person responsible for recording services, another for editing videos, and another for posting them online.
-Invest in training: Once you have your team in place, it’s important to invest in training them on how to use the technology they’ll be working with. This can help avoid costly mistakes down the line and ensure that your church’s digital content is high quality.
-Choosing the right platform: Not all online tools are built for churches and this means key features your media team needs could be missed.
The Platform Churches And Congregants Love
Altar Live is a great resource for churches that want to start or grow their online presence. We offer a range of services that can help, from live streaming to video production and everything in between.
Our user-friendly platform is loved by churches and congregants alike, thanks to its simple design and easy-to-use features. Plus, our team is always on hand to help with anything you need, whether it’s advice on how to start your online church or support with using our technology. More than a thousand churches have already made the leap with Altar Live, and we know that yours can and will too.
If you’re looking for a complete solution for starting your own digital ministry without breaking the bank, Altar Live is the perfect partner for your new church. Get in touch with us today to find out more about what we can offer your faith community, and get a free trial!