Like many churches in the age of Covid-19, folks at the Grace Brethren Church in Brookville, Ohio (Rick Hartley, lead pastor), found it was necessary to jump to a digital format to broadcast services and keep the congregation informed.
Church member Karen McDorman, a real estate broker by trade, was ready.
She had already been working on the church website and had activated ‘Google my Business’ on the site.
“Our notice in the community and hits online skyrocketed after I added a photo and some information,” she recalls. She shared the analytics report with Pastor Rick and both could see the advantage of using the technology to reach their community for the Lord.
She realized the church also needed to establish a public Facebook page, something that was already planned, in addition to the update of the church website. “If we were going to get all these people to check us out, we wanted them to want to know more about us, what we believe as a church, and welcome them to be a part of it,” she added.
“As timing would have it, our proactive mode quickly became reactive mode with the onset of the Coronavirus and the shutdown,” she stressed. “Like most churches, we were now scrambling to be able to keep our church family connected and live stream services.”
But she also admits: “God’s timing is always perfect…”
Previously the church only posted an audio file of the sermons to the website. Now, as churches plan for re-opening, they are seeing the need to keep streaming worship services, using a variety of social media platforms.
“At first I thought there weren’t as many watching compared with the number of attenders,” notes Karen. Then she realized that what looks like one individual logged into the broadcast on Facebook might be a family of four.
Many in the church have hosted “watch parties” on Facebook and encouraged their friends to join them. The result was many people participating who might never have entered the church.
The public Facebook public page went live in late April. “It is growing in ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ and we now have a public place to post our sermons, links, and an explanation of what it is to be part of the Charis Fellowship,” adds Karen.
For a smaller church like Brookville, a quality digital footprint has become vital. “The visibility is so important because it gives us a chance to take what we have in our culture (Internet) and use it for a higher purpose: redeeming it for Christ,” she says.
Pastor Rick, Karen, and others in the church are seeing the value of continuing to stream services via a variety of social media platforms while encouraging attendees to share watch parties and make it generally easy for the public to find. “It is the future of reaching the unsaved and serving the saved,” stresses Karen.