Update: Because of technical issues, some readers who follow the blog through our Facebook page were unable to access today’s post. Apologies to anyone following by e-mail… we don’t mean to spam your inbox!
We’d like to update you on the progress of our Front Door initiative to use online church services as a strategy for ministering to families impacted by disability.
The Front Door project is an ongoing experiment…exploring a variety of technology applications to help connect families to churches and help churches develop innovative ways of overcoming the barriers that impede families of kids with mental illness, trauma and developmental disabilities…barriers that prevent them from attending worship services and participating in all the activities offered by local churches to promote spiritual growth. Sometimes we’ll try stuff that works great…sometimes it doesn’t.
One experiment that worked extraordinarily well was an online small group for families impacted by disability with the support of Dr. Lorna Bradley. We’re hoping to offer training for church leaders seeking to launch online, interactive small groups as part of their disability ministry outreach later this summer.
One experiment that didn’t go as well as we would’ve liked was offering sermons from different churches on an online platform. We heard that too many people were challenged by difficulties connecting to the platform. The vast majority of the folks who read this blog already have a church and didn’t sense a need to watch…or to invite others. We learned Facebook advertising doesn’t work all that well for targeting the one hour windows of time when we were hosting the services. We were consistently being outbid for disability-related keywords with our Google Grant (the amount of money we can bid for viewers to click on the site with a grant is capped). So…we’re going to try something else.
Two of our online worship services offered through Community Bible Church (CBC) in San Antonio…our Sunday night service led by Barb Dittrich and our Monday night service led by Ann Holmes developed steady followings and meaningful online community. Thanks to the graciousness of our friends at CBC, we’ll be continuing services on their onlinechurch.com platform led by worship hosts with great training and experience in ministry to families impacted by disability at their regularly scheduled times, beginning this Sunday, June 14th.
Worship hosted by Barb Dittrich…every Sunday at 8:00 PM Eastern (7:00 PM Central)
Worship hosted by Ann Holmes…every Monday at 9:00 PM Eastern (8:00 PM Central)
In addition, we’d like to welcome families impacted by disability to LIVE worship experiences every Sunday hosted by the Online Church team with our team available to support them with any disability-related ministry needs that arise. Live services will be available every Sunday at…
- 11:00 AM Eastern (10:00 AM Central)
- 12:30 PM Eastern (11:30 AM Central)
- 2:00 PM Eastern (1:00 PM Central)
We’ll continue to have five services available each week for families at onlinechurch.com…three services during the daytime on Sunday conducted in a true “inclusion” model (families impacted by disability joining services for the general onlinechurch.com community) and evening services on Sunday and Monday in a “reverse inclusion” model (hosted and promoted by disability ministry leaders with the worldwide onlinechurch.com community invited to join). We’re grateful to the crew at CBC for their continued involvement and support with our Front Door initiative, and looking forward to offering families impacted by disability an enhanced experience of online community!
Another experiment involves posting teaching from First Christian Church in Canton, Ohio directly onto our Front Door Facebook page. Messages are available “on-demand, can easily be shared with families impacted by disability who are unable to attend church, and folks can comment online at their leisure. We’re using targeted advertising to share the messages with families in the Canton-Akron area in need of a home church. Facebook is placing an enhanced emphasis on video…we’re featuring teaching from services that meets the requirement for video to be under 45 minutes duration.
Our Board has approved a plan in which Key Ministry will develop online teaching and devotional resources around Biblical topics of special interest to persons impacted by disability and their family members. Stay tuned for more information in the coming months…
We continue to be very interested in coming alongside churches seeking to use online ministry to reach kids impacted by disability and their families. If your church is interested, go to our website and complete the “contact us” form through the link on our consultation page. With this change in strategy, we’re getting back to what we’ve always done as a ministry…helping individual churches welcome and include kids with disabilities in the context of their church culture.
Key Ministry is pleased to feature a new resource page on Online Church in Disability Ministry. The resource page contains video features on how online church may be incorporated into disability ministry outreach, and links to lots of helpful resources for churches seeking to extend their ministry into cyberspace. Check it out today!