Spending time online, especially during a pandemic, is hard for us. We can’t focus our attention on one thing; our mind is always somewhere else. As much as we want to concentrate, it is just too hard when there’s so much going on around you. Fear and anxiety are always waiting for us just around the corner.
This also happens when attending online worship. Some of our church members are having a tough time going through the whole thing because they have other stuff to listen to — family, work or school, and more. Because of this, is the service duration a factor that we should consider changing to bring more views in our online worship? Here are some of our members’ experiences and suggestions regarding this dilemma.
“Pre pandemic we were at 90 min as well. We have worked it down to an hour max on Sundays; I still feel that’s pushing the online view-ability. But we saw an uptick of engagement on the shorter. When we return in person we are talking about doing a prerecorded shorter service online still then expand to 75 min in house.” Dustin Anderson
“We are doing 40-45 minutes, down from our usual hour, hour and 15. It has helped tremendously. We cut our liturgy, reduced the number of songs (and shortened the songs), and shortened the sermon. A professionally produced tv show is 42 minutes. It is so much harder to stay engaged virtually.” Renn Serna
“We have less songs and not all in a worship set; just 2 or 3 with prayer or scripture in between. Message at the end. Total time is 40-50 minutes. Going to see if I can check viewing stats too. Noticed views during our live premiere are low but jump up later.” Shelly Spencer
“Early pandemic we were at 20-30 minutes. Now we are 40-50 minutes. Views have fluctuated more, I’m not sure if it is the longer service or Covid-19 fatigue. I think 40-50 minutes is the max attention span for viewing.” Brian Armen
“We cut out announcements. We do a shorter worship set and a 22-25 min sermon. Our online numbers average about 1,100.” Brian Alonzo
“Although views are an important metric, I would look at engagement as the bigger metric. This is one of the factors that organically boosts your posts on FB (as does the fact that you’re doing a “live” post). I believe time is also a factor as well. Even now people are logging on to watch, I think most people’s attention span is dwindling. Our church struggles with this as well.” Zane Powell
We are in a different situation right now. Online service experiences are not the same as in-person worship. In our buildings, we have the advantage of being less prone to distractions, unlike when we are at home, where all our responsibilities are waiting for us. We always have to consider making changes for our the Gospel to reach to the ends of the earth.