Getting Started Online - training for churches
Getting Started Online is a new course from the Methodist Church exploring our place in the digital world. It’s made up of 24 short videos.
We are excited about the opportunity that the online world provides for us as a Church seeking to grow and reach out to all people. The digital world is a mission-field like any other and we are looking forward to discovering more about it with you over these sessions.
How do you access the course?
Registering and Enrolling
Sign up to Getting Started Online on our online learning platform MCBX https://mcb.theologyx.com
You will need to register and sign in to access the course. Registration will ask you for a username which cannot have any gaps - so your username could be fionafdigin but not Fiona Fidgin. You can use underscore or numbers if you wish – so fiona123 or fiona_fidgin is fine.
If you already have a Theology X account (if you have completed the Creating safer Space Advanced module) or if you already have an MCBX account (you have completed the EDI module)you can sign in with the same email and password.
Go to the courses tab at the top of the page, click Getting Started Online and click Enrol. You will be able to come back to the course at any time.
Once enrolled you will be able to watch the videos, follow links, and deepen your own learning or learn together alongside colleagues or as a circuit.
The individual training videos from the course can be viewed with BSL translation. See the BSL Getting Started Online YouTube playlist here. The entire course will be available with BSL translation shortly.
You can also join our Facebook Group Getting Started Online which is designed for those of you who want to learn more and deepen your skills. It’s a safe place for conversation and questions, especially if the digital world is not your natural home and you’re not sure how or where to start!
If you would like something more tailored to your District, please be in touch with Fiona Fidgin firstname.lastname@example.org | 07799 900456 to discuss your needs.
The course is made up of 24 short videos exploring our place on the internet and social media:
- 1. Exploring our place on the internet
The digital world is a mission-field like any other. This introductory video outlines the course content which provides you with the tools to engage in the digital world as your church or faith community.
- 2. The digital human
We live in a digital world and have digital lives: Digital radio, TV, touchscreens in our supermarkets, online shopping, social media etc. Digital technology is changing our habits, our image, our interactions, our relationships. This video explores what it means to be a digital human.
- 3. Doing digital evangelism
The internet is not just for a younger generation but offers a lifeline for those away from home or the housebound. How then, does the Church relate to everyone online? This video explores how to run digital evangelism campaigns with some top tips to achieving your goals.
- 4. Developing a digital strategy
If we are going to be successful in church communications, we need a digital strategy. Here we explore the importance of the '4 Ms': message, market, media, moment, and think about how your vision and values as a church will impact your digital communications.
- 5. An introduction to social media
Social media is the place where we want a Christian presence because its where people are gathering. By 2027 it is estimate that almost 6 billion people will be on social media. In this video we explore how we can be authentic, confident digital disciples and evangelists, building online communities both locally and globally.
- 6. Why should you claim your place online?
This video raises some theological questions: Where is God in the digital? Is God in the metaverse? How do we develop sacred space online? We are venturing into a new and exciting, rapidly-changing world, a place that may be unfamiliar to many of us.
How is God calling us as the Methodist Church to claim our place online?
- 7. Who are we online?
Are you setting up accounts as a church, a circuit or another group? Which will make most sense to your local community and which will help you connect with people and communicate effectively? In this video we invite you to think about who you are online and consider your identity and values in a way in which everyone who posts on behalf of your church or circuit can commit to.
- 8. Who should you be talking to online?
This video is all about knowing and understanding your audience. It helps you think through who you should be talking to and why?
Explore how to make informed content decisions by understanding your audience. Knowing your statistics and listening well to your internal and external community helps to build an audience.
- 9. Encouraging engagement – comments, likes, shares and follows
This video is all about how to post engaging content that meaningfully connects with people and builds community through engagement. Social media platforms all have different methods of engagement which we explain here. Good engagement equals a wider audience.
- 10. Doing a few things well
Sustaining social media channels for a church or circuit over many years can be exhausting, so rather than trying to be everything to everyone online, just pick one or two things and do them really well.
- 11. Community versus content
Here we offer some top tips for ways to build online community. If we are to communicate effectively, then we need to build real relationships with people online.
Whether we’re online or offline, ministry and mission is always about people. We always operate in the context of relationship and community.
- 12. Scheduling – building a content plan
Posting on social media takes up a lot of time and human resources and we don’t have an endless supply so building a content plan and scheduling might help you! In this video we teach you how to build a content plan – what you post and when, and how to use scheduling tools and websites to help you map out your posts throughout the week or a month.
- 13. Roles and responsibilities – building a digital team
One person does not have to do everything when it comes to digital, so gathering a team around you is vital. It’s also good safeguarding practice to have more than one administrator on every social media account you run. In this video, once you’ve gathered your team, we show you how to do an analysis of your gifts so you can allocate responsibilities between your team.
- 14. Engagement and analytics - taking note of what’s going on
The goal of this video is to show you how people engage with your content, and this will provide you with actionable insights that’ll help you build a great presence and a beautiful community. We show you where to find the information you need, and how to analyse your content on different platforms.
- 15. Branding, visual identity and design
Branding is the process of creating a strong, positive perception of you, your church, your organisation, or your culture. Visual identity is what that brand looks like, from your logo to your colour choices.
Understanding visual identity can help you communicate with your community, your guests and your congregations both online and offline.
- 16. How to take and use good photos
Research shows that we remember pictures more readily than we remember words, so choosing the right imagery for your site isn’t just important in creating a positive first impression, but a lasting one.
This part of the course gives simple and effective tips to improve your image taking, helps you understand stock imagery and advises on permission and consent.
- 17. Policies and procedures – building a safe and trusting place online
In this video we look at good principles for online communication, GDPR and data issues, basic copyright, good practise for social media accounts and your roles and responsibilities as account holders. We want our digital spaces to be safe places where all people feel valued, loved and respected.
- 18. Getting started with a Facebook Page
Here we guide you through creating a Facebook page, adding a banner and avatar, liking other pages and thinking about who to follow to enable online conversation, encounter and exchange.
- 19. Getting started with a Facebook Group
What’s the difference between a Facebook page and a group? We show you how to create your group and offer some suggestions for a variety of posts to keep your group engaged. We show you how to create events and how to set up group rules.
- 20. Getting started with Instagram
In this video we show you how to get going with a username and bio and how to use Linktree for any links. We talk about the use of # hashtags, how to gain followers and top tips for outreach.
- 21. Getting started with Twitter
Twitter has been headlining the news recently and not always in a positive light! But there are great advantages to being on Twitter – not least that nearly half of the UK’s population go on Twitter twice a day. Here we show you how to set up a Twitter account with your unique 'handle', what to tweet about, retweeting and top tips for outreach.
- 22. Getting started with WhatsApp
WhatsApp is the most popular messaging platform in the world and here you will learn how to set up WhatsApp with your own profile and how to personalise it.
We will look at its use for both individual one-to-one chat and for group conversations. We explore ideas for using group chat within your church or faith community and how to communicate through audio, images, GIFs, links as well as text.
Lastly, we will look at some of the privacy concerns about WhatsApp and offer some alternatives.
- 23. Getting started with YouTube
This session will offer a quick-fire overview of YouTube and tell you how to set up your own channel and make most use of it. We will point to many extra bits of content that will be useful in the early stages of creating a channel.
- 24. Getting started with Canva
Canva is a graphic design platform which offers templates to help you design your social media posts, presentations, posters, documents, videos and other visual content. You can download it as an app or use the website. Here we show you how to set up an account and create your posts with their template photos, graphics and fonts.