Creating an Online Community with Your Congregation

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed churches into an Online Worship Experience where many haven’t had one before. You might be at a church like this. Your church might have very little online presence if any at all. You might not know where to start. You might not be a “techy” person. You might not know how to engage with your church family online. That’s okay.

If you haven’t been jumped into the Online Church game yet, let me give you 3 Quick Tips for Getting Started:

TIP #1 = Start with what you have. 

My friend Kenny Jahng says it like this: Version One is better than Version None. Start somewhere. You can always improve. Streaming with your smartphone is a great place to start. You have an amazing camera in your pocket. Use it. Even it is just your phone and Facebook Live, use it. As you start building momentum and doing more, you can add more bells and whistles. You can add audio, lighting, bigger cameras. You can make improvements, but Version One is better than Version None. Start with what you have.

TIP #2 = Pre-Record your Worship Experience and Simulated Live on Facebook and YouTube.

Here are my reasons why I’m suggesting this:

  1. You can record multiple services in one setup if you needed. This might save you trips to the church or trips to someone’s house, that sort of thing.
  2. If you’re streaming provider goes down or has any glitch (and several have over the last few weeks), you’re sunk. If you have a pre-recorded video, even if you’re simulated Live stream goes down, you can easily point people to your website to an embedded full video of your service and you’re back up and rolling quickly.
  3. You can still Simulate Live so that it is still an event that people attend.
  4. You can make it look better. You will have more control over what is on your video in post-production.
    1. If you have trouble putting your service together, we are happy to help you at 1230.media if you need help editing your service together.
  5. You can involve more people. And involve people that might not normally have a role in your service.
    1. More people can submit videos that are fun and engaging.
  6. Your pastors can be in the comments engaging with people during the service.
  7. It can reduce stress on streaming day. If you’re a pastor or leader, to record your piece of the service ahead of time relieves the stress of you having to come to the church building and gather your team every week.

TIP #3 = Test Your Stream Before Sunday.

Test everything you can. Test how your streaming provider interacts with Facebook or YouTube. Test how the stream goes to your website if you’re using something like ChurchOnlinePlatform.com or FreeOnlineChurch.com

You can test your stream privately by sending it to a page or place that your congregation can’t see. One thing our team has done that might work for you is to create a Dummy Facebook Group. The only people in the group are your core team of testers. You can set up your stream and Go Live to that Group to make sure everything functions the way you want it to.

Another idea, especially if you are testing a new system is to do a Live Stream Test that is Public. Our team recently helped produce the graphics and video for Easter Across America, which was a Live-streaming event that was going to millions of people. The team did a Live Stream Test inside a Facebook Group for a few minutes to test the stream. So, test your stream either privately to a Dummy Facebook Group or publicly a day or days before your event.

Testing your stream will allow you to walk the process out to get familiar with your software and what to do. It will also help you identify any problems with audio, formatting and making sure everything looks like you want it to. So, this may sound like a no-brainer, but test your Livestream before Sunday.

Those are just 3 quick tips for getting started with Church Online.

For more information and ideas on how to Craft your Online Worship Experience, you can check out our 75-Page Church Online Guide here.

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