August 2023 – Make Connections through Online Community

August 2023 – Make Connections through Online Community

Creating Virtual Women’s Ministry Communities 

Scripture: Hebrews 10:24 


The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we gather in community. Technology enabled us to stay connected to the people we love. In two seconds, I can facetime my mom, who lives in another state, so she can see her new grandson. Attending a church service in pajamas is now acceptable. It enables me to develop relationships from all over the world with friends I have met through various Salvation Army events.  

While technology should never fully replace our need for physical interaction, we can embrace community through technology.  

Before we throw ourselves into the digital trenches, we need to ask ourselves a few questions: 

  • Who? Identifying who you want to reach or keep in touch with is important for knowing how to move forward. Is it family members, friends from work, or a group of women from your corps?  
  • What? Here is a list of what you need to build an online community.   
  • A phone, tablet, or computer with internet access*.  
  • Text and video messaging apps such as Facetime (for iPhone), Zoom, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Facebook Messenger.  
  • A calendar. 

Once you have these items, you are ready for the next steps of organizing an online hangout. 


If you are a millennial like me, your version of planning is waiting until the very last minute when you have finally gained a small burst of inspiration and motivation to get things done. However, successful hangouts do not happen organically. The most successful hangouts are scheduled and intentional.  

Here are a few suggestions to consider when planning an online hangout: 

  • Be intentional. Building a community, whether it be online or in person, should always be based around intentionality.  
  • Be considerate of others’ schedules and lifestyles.  
  • Set a time limit of one hour. It will be difficult to get people to commit to less or more than one hour. 
  • Honor time limits. 

Consider your audience when building an online community. Who is attending? What are the age demographics? What type of group will it be—a discipleship group with biblical material to facilitate conversation or is this just a group that touches base with each other? Whatever the case, knowing who you are reaching will help you know what kind of structure is needed. For more information on best practices for virtual meetings, check out 

Building Online Community 

Jesus was intentional about living life in community, whether it be in person or virtual. He wants us to have intentional relational living. The Internet provides a way by which we can build relationships with others for God’s glory. 

According to a study done by Barna group, only 33% of habitual churchgoers between the ages of 18 – 29 are connected to a community of Christians. With access to technology, we have a real opportunity to change that percentage. Here are some ways we can be intentional in our discipleship with others online:  

Book Clubs: Book Clubs are a great way to build community as you walk through the content together. Below are some suggestions for books with study guides: 

  • “Emotional Healthy Spirituality” by Peter Scazzero 
  • “Faith for Exiles” by David Kinnaman & Mark Matlock 
  • “Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyer 
  • “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan 
  • “Goliath Must Fall” by Louie Giglio 

Virtual Game Night: The app store offers group games to help you stay connected with friends. Pictionary, QuizUp and Jackbox are just a few of many options. 

Virtual Bible Study: YouVersion Bible app offers group studies and reading plans.  

Worship: The Holy Spirit is not limited to a space. It is possible to have meaningful virtual worship experiences. In my small group, one person plays guitar and leads worship while we all worship together. While it may seem awkward, there is something really special and memorable about those worshipful moments. 

Helpful Suggestion: When playing any sort of audio online during a virtual meeting, be sure to ask everyone to mute their mics. This is crucial for everyone being able to hear without the audio breaking up or losing quality.  

Devotion in a New Way 

Life is very complicated—now more than ever. It can be easy to call oneself a Christian but much less common to find deep joy in Jesus. How do we become resilient disciples in these days? How do we go deeper when all that we have known as church is put on pause?  

We have been faced with the putting away of “religious clutter”—the legalities, so to speak. No church building, no Sunday School, no pews, no brass band, no songsters, no uniforms.  

Isaiah 43:18 & 19 NIV says, “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” 

We have a real opportunity as an Army and as disciples of Jesus to open our eyes to see the NEW that God is wanting to do in and through us. Let’s not dwell on past things or worrying about when we will “get back to normal,” but let’s have open palms, open hearts, and minds to the new way God is making for us in the wilderness.