Ministry Beyond Brick and Mortar

How one church uses technology to make disciples

The pandemic forced many ministries to live stream their worship services out of necessity. As ministries were using technology to bring worship to their people, one Indiana church pivoted to implementing an online campus, reaching a new audience for Christ. And according to Outreach Magazine, they are one of the fastest growing churches in the country.1

“The goal is to leverage technology to engage people and make connections, ultimately sharing the hope and help found in Jesus”
Nick Durm, Online Campus Pastor - Traders Point Christian Church

Prior to the pandemic, Traders Point Christian Church in Indianapolis had a two-year plan to implement an online ministry experience, or online campus. “We had just launched two new brick and mortar campuses, and I was leading one, but that was three weeks before COVID hit,” said Nick Durm, online campus pastor for Traders Point. The pandemic compelled the ministry to dramatically accelerate their timeline. In a matter of a few months, Durm went from being a traditional pastor to the ministry’s new online pastor.

The concept of an online campus goes far beyond simply using digital tools to stream services. “The goal is to leverage technology to engage people and make connections, ultimately sharing the hope and help found in Jesus,” offered Durm. Their team includes a guest experience director and a groups minister, and they’re working to create access to a healthy church experience and developing content specifically for an online audience.

First – You Need a Strategy

One of the first steps before starting an online ministry is thinking about who you want to reach. Many ministries had to start an online presence because they didn’t want to meet in person. They needed a way to connect with their own people. Durm explains that it is entirely different when you’re starting an online presence to reach people who aren’t currently being reached. You need to solidify who your audience will be.

“When thinking about who you want to reach, it’s important to consider what they value, what they’re looking for, what their felt needs are, and where they hang out digitally,” offered Durm. “That is where you begin to build your strategy.”

It takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people. Durm emphasizes that effectively doing online ministry takes a lot of investment and work, but it also takes a calling, so not every church will feel led to have an online campus. There are challenges to being online, but there are also some incredible benefits. “We recently had a young lady get baptized as a result of her getting connected with our church because of Trader’s Point Online,” added Durm.

Part of Traders Point’s strategy is to avoid creating consumers. Their goal is to help people find Jesus, follow Jesus, and live on mission. “We really see the online campus as a huge vehicle to get the gospel to the ends of the earth,” emphasized Durm.

Focus on Creating Community

Community is key, and it should be a central component of your plan. Community happens when people share common goals, struggles, and successes. Even in an online setting, community includes gathering as a body. This can happen in several ways. Traders Point has watch parties happening at colleges around the state. “We also have people who are hosting gatherings at residential facilities, rehab centers, domestic shelters, and a local jail. We’re empowering those people to gather physically as they’re able, and to watch and engage our online services,” said Durm.

It is possible to build relationships, be a missionary, and point people to Jesus online. “Paul used the most advanced technology available to him, which was writing letters. We’re leveraging technology to reach people for Jesus,” said Durm.

The ministry’s goal is to introduce people to the Gospel anytime, anywhere.  While this can be challenging in an online setting, Traders Point is concentrating their efforts on creating a wide-open experience that’s focused on helping people live on mission and making ministry happen anywhere in the world.



1. 2020 Fastest-Growing Churches in America, Outreach Magazine. churches-in-america/2020. Accessed October 2020.

Posted December 11, 2020