6 Options for Church Online

I have been working on the next steps for Resurrection Online and in the proces have developed 6 options for church online that might be helpful for you. Will you please share your thoughts feelings or opinions about these options? What is most helpful? What could be improved?

Option 1 – Regional Campus

A regional campus in a multi campus setting has the opportunity for people to live out the purpose of the church online. This option would seek to build opportunities for people to live and grow in Christian community online. In person connection would be encouraged out of the online community, however there would be a focus to create every possible opportunity online for people to grow in their faith and engage in community.

Option 2 – Field Preaching

Church online as field preaching would use a model similar to the early Methodists practice of field preaching or of more recent crusades / campaigns / revivals. With this option the focus would be to create the best possible worship experience to engage online worshipers in worship. The next step from worship would be to connect worshipers with a local church. This could be the host church or  a network of referrals inside or outside a denomination.

Option 3 – Worship Venue

Church online as a worship venue would focus on helping the current congregation stay connected in worship when they are unable to be present physically. The experience would focus on a great audio / video experience and not have additional connection opportunities or features, as these would be expected and experienced in person.

Option 4 – Tool for Worship Groups

Church online as a tool for worship groups would focus on creating the best possible experience for streaming of worship to a large screen using a set top box, i.e. Roku box. The experience would not be available via a web browser. This would be a tool that could be utilized by current congregants, other congregations and ministry areas.

Option 5 – Teaching Venue

Church online as a teaching venue would enable a church to expand the opportunities for expanding discipleship online while connecting in person for worship and community. There would not be an online worship experience. Additional possibilities could include overlapping the online and in person group experience.

Option 6 – Second Screen

Church online as a second screen would seek to build apps and engagement on mobile devices to increase real time engagement of the current congregation during worship, throughout the week and across campuses. This would encourage our current congregation to use technology to engage with others and their faith.

SXSW Interactive – Next Steps for Resurrection Online

This is a collection of next steps for Resurrection Online from my time at SXSW Interactive in categories. Will you please share your thoughts, feelings or opinions about these possible next steps?

The Journey of becoming a Deeply Committed Christian

  • Create opportunities for positive competitive environments – best guidance, most faithful next steps, insightful response to scripture or worship, etc.
  • Create feedback loops for membership expectations.
  • Explore the possibility of allowing users to tag, rate, connect and organize Resurrection’s sermon archive.
  • Encourage offline actions (love your neighbor) through what happens online.

User Design Experience

  • What if we allowed Resurrection Online to be embeddable on other sites?
  • Create the opportunity for people to engage from the very first time they worship online
  • Create a vision onesheet for Resurrection Online
  • Intentionally design a user experience strategy for Resurrection Online
  • Design a user experience that will sustain connection over a long period of time
  • Pay attention to the motivating human behavior for worship online
  • Develop a shaping strategy and view for mainline church online
  • Determine whether Resurrection Online will become a shaping platform for mainline church online
  • Audit the Resurrection Online website

Community Development

  • Develop a way to share and receive stories of people who worship with Resurrection Online.
  • Create opportunities to live out attributes of a community for Resurrection Online
  • Facilitate connections among regular worshipers that are in similar situations
  • Practice random acts of connection among regulars – email, phone, letter.
  • Create predictable programs to invite people to engage – once a week, first Monday, etc.
  • Expand the Resurrection Stories shared via the GPS beyond Lent.
  • Engage with people who I may not recognize as being an influencer
  • Introduce members of the Resurrection Online community to one another.

Game Layer

  • What would a game layer would look like for the journey of knowing, loving and serving God?
  • What would a game layer would look like for worship at Resurrection Online?
  • Design game mechanics for Resurrection Online including: Come and Try It – intial engagement; Bring Friends and Play Together – social; Come Back – creating repeat engagement

Open / Crowdsourced Project

  • Explore open projects for the people of Resurrection Online
  • Set up a crowdsourced project for the people of Resurrection Online about how they became connected with Resurrection Online called Why Resurrection Online?
  • Create opportunities for Resurrection Online regulars to influence future development.
  • Focus on a single platform and use it very well before expanding.
  • Pay attention to whether those that share feedback are regulars at Resurrection Online
  • Ask for ideas to improve Resurrection Online from regulars.


  • Provide guidance for people to prepare offline for worship online. Some internal preparation may be helpful before you turn on the screen.
  • Do not force people to log in or share contact information to worship
  • Clearly communicate what will be done with information that is received in the attendance form

Be Aware

  • Be aware that Resurrection Online is amazing technology to which some people feel entitled.
  • Be aware that Resurrection Online encourages bilocationality – people trying to be two places at once.
  • Pay attention to guidelines for building an online community as development continues with Resurrection Online
  • Visit the communities where I hope to build Resurrection Online frequently
  • Pay careful attention to the updates that we encourage people to make about Resurrection Online

Scaling Up Resurrection Online

The scaling issue in digital art
Image by kevindooley via Flickr

Resurrection Online has experienced 38% growth in year-to-date average weekly worship attendance over last year. This is really exciting and has also lead to some challenges. We are looking at how to continue to provide the best possible experience for those that worship online, offer opportunities to grow, give and serve as well as launching multiple micro churches.

I have appreciated the guidance from both 3 Mistakes Made in Scaling up New Ventures and The Pain of Growth. I want to share a few concepts from those articles and apply them to Resurrection Online.

  • Recognize that first users are not the same as scaling users
    • At Resurrection Online, I have witnessed this in practice. Some of those who first began to connect with the online community have not continued. Even those that are connected today may not be the ones who will continue to worship with Resurrection Online as we begin to offer additional opportunities to be in community. It will be interesting to see how this community continues to develop.
  • Anticipate that first products are not the same as scaling products
    • I have sought to anticipate what will not be able to scale as Resurrection Online grows and avoided starting to implement the opportunity. It is much easier to introduce a new opportunity rather than remove what no longer becomes sustainable. There are likely still things that we are doing today that will not be able to sustain as growth continues, however I hope that number of those things is small.
  • You will have to be as willing to stop stuff as you are to start stuff.
    • This is connected to the above point about scaling products. There have already been some things that we have stopped which were offered in the beginning. As part of Resurrection Online‘s commitment to roll out features as soon as possible and listen to feedback from the users, we will necessarily stop doing some stuff after it has begun because it just won’t make sense with actual congregants.
  • You will have to drive up the level of excellence. … As you grow, so will the expectations of your guests.
    • This will continue to be true. There are aspects of Resurrection Online quality with which I am not satisfied today. Increased numbers of people connecting with Resurrection Online will mean that quality will need to continue to improve.

Speedlinking – February 4, 2009