Innovate, Rinse, Repeat
Constant and attentive innovation is necessary for the digital church. The world online moves quickly and unapologetically. This nature has resulted in our actions as a community having to be equally rapid in evolution. For instance - when Discord added a Clubhouse-clone to its list of features, we had to ask ourselves if/when to utilize that feature. We decided that it wasn't the time, but clearly, Discord chose to implement it for a reason. Some communities needed it, which forced us to ask the question of our community.
The trick here, then, is to discover what those questions are before we are asked. A discerning community would have asked how to make our Discord community maximize the Clubhouse phenomenon in the months before they added the feature. It sounds a bit like sorcery, but foresight is the trickiest part of the digital ministry world. One must be in touch with the future of the digital church to set up the current existence for the coming reality.
Some might believe this to be the world of VR. And it may be. We're actively discerning that, as well. We must be prepared to say 'no' to innovations that don't apply or improve our community and its purpose. Our most recent creation was discerning how to enhance our quite-active #prayer-requests channel on our Discord server. It's clear that prayer is essential to our community, so what can we do to make the process more meaningful?
Innovative ministry isn't always coming up with something entirely new; it can be finding a way to use the historical tradition and breathe new life with the gifts of efficiency in the digital space. As a Pastor's Kid, I can remember the affirming feeling of raising my hand when the preacher would ask for any 'unspoken requests.' So, we are adding that to the channel. Once a week, our regulars of the #prayer-requests channel will be given a chance to share that they are working through something private and need extra prayer. So, we will innovate. And then - we will do it again tomorrow. And the next day.