With Covid-19 still plaguing the streets, it is still unsafe to make contact with other people. Now services have become harder with new quarantine and social distancing protocols in effect. Churches may have to transition back to online services to accommodate people stuck in their homes. The problem is online services don’t quite get the ‘feel’ of in-person worship services, and the reach may or may not be that great. Yet, there are ways you can make your members and guests feel welcome and ease the transition of attending an online service. With that, here are some tips to help you prepare when you start transitioning back to online services.
Utilize online platforms
With the current pandemic, it has become more important for people to attend sermons. Utilizing certain streaming services will help you spread the word and reach audiences easily. Zoom calls can be used in streaming the service for your church members and guests. You can also create Zoom rooms to have a welcoming area for guests and Sunday schools.
Using Facebook Live is more accessible since many people have accounts on this platform. Having a Facebook Live is much easier and convenient for people who don’t want to join a Zoom call. Discord, on the other hand, could be set up as a lobby or prayer room. Yet, it requires transition, as not many people use Discord regularly, but this can be really helpful and a powerful tool when learned.
PhoneLiveStreaming is a service in which live streams are recorded and then converted to regular phone calls. Much like podcasts, they can be listened to by just dialing the phone number. The service will provide for the live stream. Users can be called, and when they answer, they’ll be connected to the live stream in real-time. This service is especially useful for the elderly and those who are not tech-savvy enough to join live streams and zoom calls.
Use music/podcast streaming services for those who want to just listen.
You could get your audio file from the recorded meetings, sermon, Sunday school, speeches, etc., and upload it on Spotify and SoundCloud. This option is perfect for those people on the go or for people who just want to listen in their homes. You could also utilize the service for other features like uploading talks, empowering messages, worship songs, and the likes.
Make use of Social Media, like Instagram and Facebook.
Create a Facebook Page (if you haven’t already) and an Instagram account for getting in contact and reaching out to new followers. Having a presence on social media is one of the best ways to gather traction and participation for church services and events.
Create a website
Creating a website would solidify your presence online. Not only does it add professionalism to the church but also credibility. Websites also can gather new members and attract audiences. Along with social media, having a website would act as a centralized hub for the activities and events of the church, separating it from other distractions like the online news feed from different platforms.
Save your videos on video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo
What better way to have your recorded videos be watched by people than to share it with the world? Upload your videos on YouTube and Vimeo, so videos of sermons, Sunday class meetings, and more can easily be shared and watched. Plus, it can attract viewers too as long as videos are easily searchable with the correct title, marketing and description. YouTube may be the most accessible, but Vimeo provides better quality and compression so a copy could optionally be uploaded here.
Use recording and editing apps
Transitioning to online services will require recorded videos. Uploading these videos to various sites could become a hassle, especially if they require a few minutes or an hour-long, and it could take huge amounts of space in your hard drive. Now with Handbrake, you could shrink the size of these videos without compromising their quality! Handbrake compresses the size of your videos depending on your liking. It is easy to use and even has presets for the quality and compression you could use. OBS, on the other hand, is a recording/streaming app with customizable features and multiple videos and audio settings. It is mostly used for streaming but it could record videos as well.
Above are some helpful tips to establish or reestablish your church’s online presence and make your services be available online. I hope this could help with your preparation in transitioning back to online services! The most important thing is to remember our main mission, which is to reach out to people and share the Word of God. Stay safe and remember to keep social distancing!