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We get that virtual worship services are different from the traditional ones we do on our campuses. The atmosphere just isn’t the same. As most church leaders, this kind of worship is still relatively new. We want to interact with our members and recognize them even if we don’t see them in person. We want to feel our congregation’s presence. One thing that helps generate this is engagement through livestream chats.

 Here are some tips from members in our Church Communication Facebook Group

Comments:

“Maybe you could have someone in the video—pastor or announcements presenter, etc—ask an open-ended question and direct people to the chat?” Brandon Caples

“+35% of our viewers are watching on TV (no chat) many others will be full screen. They are there though, every now and then we’ll do something in service (like a baby dedication asking the congregation to say ‘we do’ or amen) and new names will comment.” Simon Young

“Build a team. Ask three or so people to intentionally respond and engage in conversation. Eventually more will catch on. It can be weird for people who aren’t used to it. But the comment section is the new church lobby. Help them be social by modeling it and don’t get discouraged when it doesn’t happen.” Katie A. Matthews

“Time, patience, questions from the pulpit and from the online engagement team, speak to people by name, acknowledge everyone that enters the chat, comment on posts from those who speak up… time and patience again. It’s happening! During experiences our Facebook group talks all the time! It’s cool! Our website not so much. But they’ve been warming up and it feels communal.” Shari Ponder

“We have great engagement in the chat, we changed how we do the service to create the engagement. We have a pre-service time (15 minutes before the service) that is 100% to get people talking in the chat. Our hosts ask questions and read people’s answers, which causes more interaction. We have 1-2 people per service who are chat hosts. They answer the questions, reply to every person, etc. We use Mentimeter for polls, which allows for people who don’t have the chat showing to engage in the service.” Katie Kregel

Closing Thoughts

Our current situation encourages us to be innovative and make this experience for our members as interactive as possible. With the months that we have spent doing online worship, we hope that these experiences from others give you an idea how to get more engagement through Livestream chats. 

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