6 Ways to Get More “Phygital” in 2021 – Part 1

Portmanteau words are blended words, the result of combining two words to make a new one. The new word represents elements and meanings of the two words used to create it. Here are a few examples of pormanteau words you already know:

  • Hangry (hungry and angry)
  • Brunch (breakfast and lunch)
  • Chillax (chill and relax)
  • Spork (spoon and fork)

Add the word “phygital” to the list above. Phygital is the combination of the words physical and digital. Phygital reflects the ways that physical and digital elements are being experienced by people today (phygital appeared in the world of marketing to describe the ways marketers created experiences in physical retail shops that combined with digital ones (kiosks are one example – you walk into a store, then use a kiosk to either order or design the exact product you want).

As we begin 2021, groups and group leaders should consider how and why they should become more phygital. See Carey Nieuwhoff’s blog post about how churches have grown during COVID-19 by getting more digital.

Here are some ways your church and your Bible study group can become a bit more phygital in 2021. Remember that to do this, we are combining physical and digital elements to experiences familiar to us. The first three suggestions are below; I’ll share the final three in part 2 of this post:

  1. Take a step toward digital curriculum. As we continue to navigate COVID-19 spiking while people get inoculated, groups that began meeting in person again in late 2020 are now reverting back to online meetings until things settle down (my church just did this). Digital curriculum makes this transition easier because every group member can access their study guides on their smart phones, computers, or tablets. My company, Lifeway Christian Resources, produces digital versions of all print products. To learn more about our digital curriculum options, click here.
  2. Embrace online training. Training makes a difference. Churches that regularly train group leaders have been proven to grow at a faster rate than churches that have less frequent training. Because online meeting tools like Zoom make gathering for training a lot easier than gathering people for an on-site training event, savvy churches are now establishing monthly or quarterly training that takes place virtually. Expenses are reduced (no meals or childcare is needed) and if recorded, group leaders can watch the training “on demand,” greatly increasing the convenience factor. If you are reading this post and you’re a pastor or other leader in charge of your church’s Bible teaching ministry, lead the way and train digitally in 2021.
  3. Encourage classrooms to become Zoom rooms. There are people in your group who appreciate the ability to meet virtually. It may be because of convenience, or because they are not ready to meet again in person until COVID-19 is defeated. But regardless of the reason (or reasons) we should not forget that there are members and guests who need (or want) a digital option for meeting in groups. On-campus groups can involve people who are not on campus by using a smart phone, tablet, or computer. If your group does this, you’ll want to appoint a host to serve as a liaison between the group leader and the people who are online (more on that role and other roles for the new phygital world we’re living in in part 2 of this post!).

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