First came sermons on tape cassettes which evolved to CD’s which are now available on DVD’s. Then came podcast sermons and video-streaming of messages online. Today we can go to church virtually through internet campuses.
The internet campus is a natural development of a reproducing church strategy mindset. Still in its infancy, the internet campus developed as an expression of the multisite model but will outgrow the multisite movement because any outreaching church that is tech savvy can do it.
Brian Vasil is the Internet Campus Pastor at Potential Church (formerly Flamingo Road Church) in Cooper City, Florida which has one of the most developed internet campus ministries in the nation that includes online services for children and youth as well as adults. Brian launched Potential Church Internet Campus in 2007.
Today over 3,000 people participate every week with over 250 recorded professions of faith and sixty baptisms. How do you baptize over the internet? Click here to watch!
I asked him to share some tips for those considering an internet campus. Here is what he wrote:
- Be sure to have your senior pastor’s full support before starting an internet campus! Calling it an experiment and throwing limited resources as it will frustrate all involved.
- Decide if an online community is a REAL community? If you’re not sure, stick to just streaming your services. If your church doesn’t see these online relationships as legitimate, your campus will struggle being recognized internally as a “real” campus.
- Determine the goal and priorities of your internet campus. Is it outreach? Member care? Church marketing?
- Have a plan. Is your internet campus going to be a campus or a stream? Provide life development? Allow online ministry?
- Go to school on other churches doing ministry online. Talk to them with an open mind.
- Hire a dedicated Internet Campus Pastor to facilitate spiritual development and provide care for those online.
- Decide ahead of time how your internet campus will handle the sacraments (communion/baptism). It will come up, trust me.
- Make an internet campus a part of your intentional online strategy. Include Twitter, Facebook, etc. to create digital community.
- Fund it adequately. It will cost less than a physical building start, but more than you think. It requires some staff, equipment, streaming, fees, etc. There are many free or inexpensive tools to get your church on the digital neighborhood.
- Be sensitive to world events, holidays and such. Most American internet campuses are too USA specific. If people are connecting from around the world we need to make sure they feel as included as possible.
If you would like Brian to help you utilize the internet to extend the reach of your church, contact us at Multisite Solutions.
Look for a list of internet campus churches in my next blog post.
What are your thoughts about church on the internet?
Got any internet campus tips to share?