Tag Archives: online community

Leveraging Online Discipleship

“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Everyday, more and more people are coming to Christ over the Internet! It’s a truly amazing phenomenon! Who would have ever imagined that people would be giving their lives to Christ over twitter, through church portals on Facebook, and via church apps on their iPads?

The church’s challenge today is to effectively reach out and meet the needs of these new (and often returning) online believers. In our digital age, as more churches deploy digital technologies (including streaming live services on smart phones, and establishing internet campuses) there is an increasing need to extend discipleship training into the digital space beyond the traditional walls of the church.

The church’s online presence will continue to direct people into the church’s physical sanctuary to fellowship and connect offline. However, a new and unique church community of believers is emerging on the Internet – an online community that needs to be ministered to by qualified ministry professionals, familiar not only with the Word of God, but also knowledgeable about online networking, social media platforms and strategies, and the latest web 2.0 technologies! In no area is this need greater than in discipleship.

Christian discipleship is the transformational process that turns a believer into the person God wants them to be. It’s the calling of every believer – to follow in the footsteps of Christ!

We are instructed by Jesus, in the Great Commission, to make disciples. A disciple is a student or adherent of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Discipleship is the process of learning the teachings of Jesus, internalizing them, and then acting upon them.

The discipleship process begins with the believer desiring to be a disciple of Christ.The believer, with the help of the Holy Spirit, then learns what Jesus taught, follows through by living out those principles in his/her daily life, and finally passes them on to others.

The discipleship process can be described as eight distinct steps: 1) interest, 2) awareness, 3) decision, 4) commitment, 5) application, 6) inculcation, 7) transformation, and finally 8) replication.

Extending discipleship online (i-discipleship) through relational e-learning, enables churches and ministries to disciple more people, more effectively, locally, as well as,  globally. And, financially, the cost of i-discipleship is much lower than traditional discipleship strategies!

For more on effective online discipleship check out the following resources:

God is calling you to transform the world – one person at a time. What better time to start than right now?

How are you using social media to leverage online discipleship?

Until next time, remember, you can do all things thru Christ Jesus!

Stay Blessed!

Kenneth Lillard

3 Comments

Filed under bible study, christian, christian social media, digital, innovation, ministry tools, networking, social media

Leading An Online Community

“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Proverbs 29:18

With the advent of the Internet, and the emergence of social media platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, et al) online Christian groups and communities are springing up everyday! And effective leaders are needed to guide and manage these online networks.

Leading and managing online communities require three basic skill sets:

  • The ability to cast a vision.
  • The ability to nurture, listen to, and grow the community.
  • The ability to inspire the community.

The vision is key to any successful online community. Vision defines the desired or intended future state of that community in terms of its fundamental objective and/or strategic direction.  Without a vision, the online community has no objective or direction. It’s just out there, drifting aimlessly about, with no destination or goal. Plain and simple, without a vision the people perish! Proverbs 29:18.

A healthy online community is characterized by an active membership united by a shared purpose, with a passionate leader/facilitator, engaged in interlinking relationships between a significant percentage of its members.

The leader/facilitator is the face of the online community and should:

  • Engage the community.
  • Deliver a blog/ or media platform that’s useful to the community.
  • Create, gather, and share exceptional and relevant content (podcasts, videos, blogs, etc.).
  • Build relationships, especially with influencers.
  • Generate buzz.
  • Be passionate about the community.
  • Empower listening ability (e.g., using such tools as Google Alerts and Twitter Search) to ascertain the mood, needs and desires of the community.
  • Facilitate learning and education.
  • Grow the community.
  • Be an ambassador for the community.
  • Facilitate communications between members through comment sections, forums, chat, etc.
  • Be the guardian of the community.
  • Harvest insights and disseminate feedback from the community members.
  • Build actionable reports employing relevant metrics to measure success.
  • Keep the vision before the community.
  • Be real: authentic and transparent/ someone others can trust and relate to on a human level!

The online leader should be a good shepherd, constantly seeking guidance and direction from the Lord. 

What is your vision of an effective online community leader?

(Many thanks to Chris BroganRachel HappeMaria Ogneva , and Seth Godin in his book Tribes for some of the information and ideas cited in this post.)

Until next time, remember, you can do all things thru Christ Jesus!

God Bless,

Kenneth Lillard

Leave a comment

Filed under blog, christian social media, Faith Based Media, networking, podcast, social media, uncategorized