Much is being written about the rapidly emerging phygital world. Phygital, as the name implies, is the blending of the physical and digital experiences. Think, for example, of in-person dining where a QR code uploads a menu to your phone. Every day the virtual is being married to the physical in remarkable new ways.
Renewal congregations do well by embracing the phygital experience as a way of thriving in a rapidly changing world. This demands fresh learning and additional investing but it holds the promise of expanding a renewal congregation’s reach into the lives of those God dearly loves.
Here are several ways renewal congregations can embrace the phygital world:
Possibility 1: Create A Unique On-Line Worship Experience
The operative word is “unique.” A virtual worship service that simply turns on a live-stream camera does not capture the conversational intimacy a phygital world expects. On-line worship should be succinct, viewer aware, intimate, close-cropped and invite the digital guest to next step opportunities for faith formation.
Possibility 2: Develop A Digital Library
Churches should consider developing on-line digital content focused on real-life issues that people navigate. Sermon series should be grouped by topic rather than date. Links to on-line resources for life-stage challenges can also be shared. Finally, contact information for counseling or mentoring services should be available.
Possibility 3: Provide Daily Faith Encouragements
A daily Bible verse or a thought for the day can be sent as a group text, an email or as a Facebook post. This is an excellent way to keep members and guests alert to God’s good presence in their lives while also highlighting the daily love and support of the congregation’s pastoral staff.
Possibility 4: Invest In A Virtual Seeker Course
Alpha has morphed their high impact apologetics course into a virtual format. Thousands have come to faith as a result. Every church should consider embracing Alpha (or an Alpha like curriculum) where faith’s tire-kickers can explore Christianity through the safety of a screen.
Possibility 5: Imagine Small World Training Events
Christianity’s growing edge is the Global South where faith is flourishing despite great challenges. Pastoral leaders from those communities can be invited to teach virtually. Also, consider inviting the best Christian minds to teach real-time courses via Zoom which can be recorded and placed in your digital library.
Possibility 6: Explore Virtual Small Groups and Intentional Check-Ins
Virtual groups allow young parents to connect after children’s bed-times and elderly members to connect without leaving their homes. The same flexibility is available for groups of 3-4 persons who check-in briefly each week to discuss shared devotional readings, life challenges and various prayer concerns.
Possibility 7: Expand Into Virtual Outreach
Phygital churches engage the endless possibilities of social media as a tool for outreach. Thoughtful tweets are sent for the purpose of retweeting. Instagram posts highlight the church on mission. Facebook advertising gets the word out and participating in neighborhood on-line groups is essential.
Possibility 8: Invest In On-Line Information Sharing
With the average church member attending worship less than half the time, it takes little imagination to understand how easily people can disconnect from the life and instruction of a congregation. Regular postings to personal emails, group texts or via a dedicated App help members stay connected
Possibility 9: Create a Video Podcast
Video podcasts are easy to create and, just as easily, can be uploaded to YouTube. Content can be focused on the unique passions of the staff or the unique circumstances/opportunities of the congregation. Podcasts provide training beyond Sunday morning in a uniquely conversational style.
What phygital ideas would you add to this list? We would love to share your creative ideas with others.