Why would anyone fellowship online?
I remember back in March 2016, the Holy Spirit said, "I want you to start a virtual bible study."
"What in the world is that?" I asked.
I immediately began my search of what that phrase meant, but could only find a few articles to help.
I found resources that talked about online and internet churches, but nothing of great substance.
I continued to search and search...but it seemed like anything related to virtual or online churches/ministries was more negative than positive.
This usually happens whenever there's a new thing or a new movement happening. People criticize it to the point that nothing good comes out of it.
But I knew I heard the Lord when He mentioned this to me, and I was determined to do what I could to answer the call.
What is a virtual ministry?
I'm often asked this question by several people, including ministers. Whenever they ask me, "What do you do for a living?" I tell them, "I help Believers build virtual ministries using their authorship."
Most have no idea what I'm talking about, so here's what I tell them: "I help Christian Authors, Speakers, and Spiritual Leaders build virtual ministries that will change the world using the written and spoken word."
In other words, I help Believers who feel called to start a work using the online space to promote and spread the message God gave them.
I share with people that this is a part of the new wave of revival and reformation that is sweeping the nation.
Building a virtual ministry involves more than simply writing a book or having a physical church to spearhead.
It's about finding people from all over the world who are hungry for the message God deposited in such ministers; and creating an online home, hub, church, or community where each member can be fed on a daily basis.
You won't find many Believers today who will attend local churches every day to be equipped. Times are different than they were in early American history.
But you will find people online who will eagerly consume any word from the Lord as long as it's delivered to them consistently.
Here are a few articles that explain more about the role and purpose of online churches and ministries and the ways some people react to them:
As you can see, virtual ministries or online churches are becoming a norm in more ways than one; and this is something I attempted to share with local churches in California...but unfortunately, they wanted nothing to do with this.
But that tends to happen whenever something new is introduced to the Church. She has a tendency to wait until everyone else has accepted the new change and then She jumps on the bandwagon. (You should hear the way some pastors responded to their congregations being on social media...but I digress.)
A couple years ago, I launched my own version of a virtual church called FKMinistries. I introduced it as an online network for Believers who were ready to engage in this end-time revival and national reformation.
I made my virtual ministry official after spending so much time on Facebook building my audience there. Because I talked a lot about conservatism and the lunacy of the Left, much of my content had been censored.
To avoid losing my audience--because Facebook and other social media platforms have the power to shut any page down whenever they want--I decided to set up my social network, an "online church," to keep my audience nearby.
As of today, FKMinistries no longer exists (largely because I intend to give my full support to my future husband's ministry). But it grew to over 300+ members within months. Each day, I delivered my teachings, which were housed on the blog. I shared video content. I held small group sessions, and more.
In the way the early Church met daily to "break bread," I gave this attention to my online community; and that is what other ministers are doing.
Virtual Ministries are Growing
When I teach my scholars about building powerful virtual ministries, there are some areas that I focus on exclusively. For example, I teach them about:
There are other virtual churches that do things differently, just as there are traditional churches that are vastly different.
Now, you may be wondering what's the difference between launching a virtual ministry versus launching an online business; and to be honest, there isn't much of a difference except the message we convey.
It's not uncommon for me to share with my audience that my business and ministry intersect. I provide spiritual and practical teaching, and I have products--mostly digital ones--that provide more education to my members.
But such commonality should not make any Believer cringe.
Business is nothing more than bringing order, systems, and clarity to a work. Using such strategies helps to keep a ministry moving forward.
So, if you come across a virtual ministry that seems to use business methods, don't be alarmed. Go where the Spirit leads you.
Difference between traditional and online churches
If a church records its services on the internet, isn't this the same as having a virtual church?
The answer to this question is no.
While virtual ministers like myself do use videos as a part of our works, we treat our virtual members in the same way pastors treat their local parishioners.
Like traditional ministers, I give my time and energy to the people God sends my way. It's not uncommon for me to be on social media or inside the network 2-5 hours each day. And if I'm not using that time to engage with the members, then I am crafting content--like this blog post--for them and readers like you.
I receive prayer requests from my online audience. I have to show up every day virtually, because in this space, things happen quickly. And the more I show up with a teaching, a word of encouragement, or even a personal story, I'm adding to the virtual ministry.
While many pastors struggle to get physical members inside their churches, being in the online space makes growth happen exponentially and rapidly.
(This was one of the reasons why I wanted to help local churches grow...but they weren't ready for it.)
Now, there are some churches who livestream their services each week; but unless they are nurturing their audience daily in the same way they would their local congregations, then they don't have a virtual church. They simply have an online presence.
Again, the difference has more to do with building community online versus simply showing up to promote a new service, message, or product.
Are virtual churches just for 5-fold ministry gifts?
This is another question that needs addressing.
When it comes to starting churches, the assumption is that the only people who can start them are those who serve as a pastor, apostle, prophet, evangelist, or teacher; and there is good reason for that.
Yet, there are numerous churches that form around the leadership of elders or any other leadership title.
In truth, any Believer can start a virtual ministry in the same way anyone can start a local or home church.
Leadership is always necessary, and the Scriptures provide us clarity on the role each leader should have.
But if you don't want to be called a pastor or apostle or prophet, that's OK, too.
Personally, I don't like titles. I've had numerous people ask me if I'm a pastor of a church; and my response is always the same: "I'm not a pastor. I'm just a voice."
Growing up, I've seen titles cripple people. Folks become so caught up in their title that they forget they've been called to serve; and I didn't want to fall prey to such temptation.
So, when people address me, I encourage them to just call me Felecia. Some want to show more respect by calling me Woman of God, and I accept that. But I don't want any special title because I don't want people placing me on a pedestal...it's just to easy to fall from such heights.
Now, if you're thinking about starting your own virtual ministry or virtual community, understand that you can do it. The key, however, is in identifying the message you are called to deliver and knowing to whom you've been sent.
Will virtual ministries replace traditional ones?
Here's my take: No, I don't believe virtual churches will replace traditional ones, and they shouldn't. Coming together with people of like-precious faith in the physical sphere is always necessary.
Human contact is irreplaceable, and virtual churches should do what they can to bring people together in the physical space as well.
For example, if 25 members from a virtual church live in Atlanta, Georgia, and 15 members live in Sacramento, California, each of their groups can form sub-ministries where they fellowship together locally while interacting with other members virtually.
This is where I believe the Church is headed, and this is good news. Today, if pastors and other leaders are willing, they can create extensions of their geographical location to reach new people.
When it comes to spreading revival and reformation in this hour, some of God's people are looking for deeper insight. Not many people receive such teaching from their local pastors. They are hungry for more.
And for spiritual leaders who have that level of insight and revelation, it behooves them to take that same message to the virtual space in a way that will equip people from around the world.
But like I said earlier, convincing leaders to adopt this method of Gospel delivery is challenging. As much as the world hates change, it seems the Church hates it even more! And that's OK for now.
What I wish to do within my ministry is to continue expounding on this new wave and movement; and within time, I look forward to working with churches for the specific purpose of helping them develop their own virtual ministries.
In the meantime, Believer, is there a virtual ministry waiting inside of you?
If so, my team of coaches and I want to help you manifest it this year. To learn how, visit LiyahAmore University today.
And as always, let's grow together!
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