Technology & Communications Toolkit
Many congregations are pre-recording Sunday worship and some have tried or are considering live streaming as a more permanent solution. The following information provides some options for both in addition to suggestions for taking your online church experience to the next level in terms of making the experience more polished.
LIVE STREAMING AND PRE-RECORDED WORSHIP
Streaming from social media, using an iPhone, iPad, or Android phone.
This requires wifi or hardwired connection, a reasonably new smart phone, and a Facebook page. for your church. Tools for streaming with live or precorded worship:
- Live Streaming: Setup a Facebook Page, and then Stream Live to Facebook or schedule your broadcast. A video on how to get up and running this way is available here. If you want to try an affordable option with switching between multiple phones or tablet devices, look at SwitcherStudio.
- Pre-recording worship can be done using a mobile device or tablet, with a tablet, tripod, and external microphone.
- Edit the video using software such as iMovie, Movavi, Filmora Pro, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, or a mobile editing app such as Kinemaster.
- The video can be uploaded and scheduled to YouTube or Vimeo, and cross-linked to Facebook.
Streaming through a streaming device.
Services such as Boxcast sell a streaming box that you can connect to a mounted or tripod video camera as well as sound from your audio mixer at your church. This solution enables a church during the broadcast to add text overlay, pictures, and stream to multiple content platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. A volunteer or contractor can easily set this up.
Multi-Camera Setup with Switching
A more complicated and expensive setup may involve multiple cameras, and a device or computer that enables switching between the cameras and encodes the camera feed that can be streamed to multiple locations online. Some affordable integrated options include SlingStudio, options from Boxcast, and DataVideo. It is advised to hire an AV contractor to install and configure this type of system.
Zoom has become widely used in parishes prayer services and Sunday worship. Many parishes are using Zoom for evening prayer and compline, and pre-recording Sunday worship. As congregations begin to look toward phased re-openings with limited gatherings, installing permanent live streaming where possible to continue to reach parishioners and those in the online community is encouraged with one of the above options. Zoom is an optimal system for Sunday Worship where access to the church sanctuary is not possible, or where a prayer service makes it a more appropriate system. Some instances of individuals hijacking meetings with abusive or hateful content have been reported using Zoom, prompting the vendor to introduce new security measures and best practices. These are available here. See below for additional suggestions on using Zoom to take your worship experience to the next level.
Taking Online Church to the Next LeveL
- Review the congregation's strategy to pivot toward embracing and integrating a permanent place for online engagement in the worship life and outreach. Consider making online prayer and worship an official ministry of your congregation and assigning volunteers or staff to this ministry. Online worship is a team ministry and requires an ongoing commitment and developing new communities as well as sustaining existing ones. If your congregation includes youth and young adults, consider asking for their involvement for establishing and setting up online prayer and worship ministry. This may also be a means of including youth and young adults that previously were not engaged in the congregation or participating actively.
- Lutheran Pastor Bryan Wulfmueller offers tips for pastors on improving quality and engagement of online worship.
- To further enhance pre-recorded worship, consider using the free Church Online Platform. Pre-recorded or live worship videos can be embedded and scheduled in your own custom template which provides a portal for your parish online worship.
- 9 Ways your Church can use Facebook Live: almost 8 in 10 adults online use Facebook. Read about some ways your church can use Facebook Live to expand ministry and reach people online.
- Try a teleprompter: many teleprompter apps are now available such as BigVu , Prompster, Teleprompter for Video to improve the quality of recorded sermons
- Create attractive slides for services using Zoom rather than scrolling through a long document. Slides can include pictures, audio, and other features that can make the experience feel richer and more polished.
- For Zoom worship, assign volunteers (ushers, vergers, etc) to roles to assist with helping manage the Zoom worship session, including granting access to people joining the session, muting and unmuting participants, and providing assistance to people who are calling in.
- For bible study groups, coffee hours, children's ministry, try the Breakout Rooms feature in Zoom after the service. Again your volunteer ushers can be helpful in coordinating this and ensuring that newcomers are welcomed.
- Think about offering "digital connection" cards as part of live streamed or pre-recorded Sunday Worship. For Facebook or Zoom services, send a link to a form (eg Google Form) and be sure to reply with a welcome and thank you, and perhaps a gift card.
- At the offertory or end of the service, be sure to mention or include on the screen ways to easily give to the church electronically. The Diocese has an agreement with Vanco Payment Services to offer online and text giving with no monthly fees and discounted transaction fees. mention these options in emails and in other communications. Encouraging recurring gifts will assist the parish with financial sustainability. Consider monthly video and email messages to the parish relating to stewardship, and recruiting stewardship volunteers to provide assistance to those in the parish who may be nervous or unsure about how to set up online giving.
- Podcasting with multiple people in remote locations: apps such as Record with Friends 2.0 or Soundtrap.
We invite and welcome information about your experiences and any suggestions you may have as parishes seek ways to take their online church experience to the next level. Contact Peter Turner with your suggestions questions or concerns.