During COVID-19 we have been faced with many changes to our way of life. Our churches haven’t been immune from this change. We have been practicing social distancing in order to obey our authorities and care for our neighbors, friends, and teams. This has opened up an opportunity for the church of Christ to use online streaming methods to bring us together, encourage our hearts toward hope in Christ, and challenge our souls in God’s unchanging, unfailing word!

As I have watched this change over the last few weeks some things have really stood out to me. Due to this shift there are some things that we as the church can do to connect well with our people and set up our online services for success. In this blog I want to discuss the methods of uploading along with some options to enhance the user experience and then I want to also provide you with a simple service flow template.

FIRST, LET’S DIVE INTO SOME SETUP TIPS. 

1. Setup in a Living Room or intimate setting at your church.

We are finding that if your church continues to record from your stage there is a disconnect for the people who are watching. They aren’t in your room so seeing the stage almost separates them and reminds them that they aren’t there and at home. A homey environment goes well on screen and connects with your congregation who is at home in quarantine.

(Photos from CityView Bible Church and NewSpring Church)

2. Record your pastor’s message seated at his home or in an intimate setting.

Pastor’s on-screen who are sitting and engaging with the camera from a table or small lectern almost helps push the in-home bible study/worship time. This works really well.

3. Do a smaller acoustic set or small band. 

We as the church need to be careful. Asking our people to stay home and social distance but then bring a 10-15 piece band in. This doesn’t help communicate the message we are asking our people when we as the church are bringing in our massive teams to do worship. Let’s scale back and pare down for a time.

4. Caption your service

You can use Zubtitle.com or Rev.com or adobe premiere to caption your service. This is so helpful with families with loud kids and also hearing impaired.

5. Pre-Record or SIMLIVE your event

Reasons to do this are you can package the content better for the medium. There is less chance of error with Facebook Live or YouTube Live going down or messing up.

We would recommend you still use your streaming platform for simulated live events.

For more information on how to do this pickup this $1 Ebook: Upload A Step-by-Step Guide to getting your Pre-Recorded Video and Media Content Online.

6. Have a Website landing page for your Primary streaming source.

Don’t sent people to Facebook or YouTube. Send people to a landing page with your stream. This will help capture and keep engagement better. You can use Freeonlinechurch.com and if you want help setting this up check this video out!

SECONDLY, LET’S DIVE INTO A SUGGESTED ONLINE SERVICE FLOW:

  1. Start off with a 5-minute countdown with announcement graphics that fit what is currently happening and any video content you can make is a great extra touch.
  2. Start with a 2-3 min intro from a pastor or couple of pastors.
  3. Do an Acoustic/intimate worship set with all lower third lyrics.
  4. Roll Into a :30-:60 sermon bumper video to transition to the message.
  5. 15-20 minute message from your Pastor
    • Have your pastor preach directly to the camera. Being in an intimate setting will help with this but focus on the camera. Do a one-camera shoot. Prepare lower thirds for the sermon and input them during the initial recording or edit them in during post-production.
  6. Closing 1 Song Acoustic/Intimate worship set with lower third lyrics.
  7. 2-3 minute close form pastor or pastors who opened the service with direct prompts for connecting with your people.
  8. :30-:60 “How to stay connected” Video.

The goal with all of this isn’t to be the flashiest and best. 

“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” 

Romans 12:10

During this time the temptation can be to compare and contrast. Really our goal needs to be how can we humbly serve our people well, using every means available to us, and obeying our authorities in this matter.

If our production is the best ever, but your people don’t feel loved, then we are missing something. It’s not about production but instead it’s about caring for your people and connecting with them and where they are at. Find ways to enhance and connect with your people that are within your means, seek to enhance what you are doing, but most of all connect with the people who are disconnected from us right now. 

I think if we challenge ourselves to work together remotely well, connect with people by putting content together in a way that serves and builds up our people and our teams then I think that is where we will see the greatest wins. 

Download the ONLINE SERVICE FLOW pdf for free here

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