We know that setting up and handling online service engagements like Facebook pages, posting, live-streaming, etc., is a lot of work. But through hard work and teamwork, everything is possible. Sometimes, everyone will be operating their own stations, and we need all the extra help we could get, like volunteers.
Volunteers are beneficial because they can engage with fellow members and attendees without authority figures or presence, so other members can easily engage with them. But handling them could be challenging when you don’t know where to start. So here are some ways to effectively set up and manage volunteers for your church’s online engagement and services.
Assigning and training them as Chat hosts
Volunteers would make great chat hosts, especially when instructed and trained well. Chat hosts can comment or chat as the church or as themselves. Be sure to establish restrictions or be specific on what they could only do, as they will have more access to the church’s tools and official accounts. As chat hosts, they will be able to share church materials, scriptures, and prompts. One important job of chat hosts is to keep the conversation flowing and moving, so it’s better to interact independently. Chat hosts can be assigned to live-streams, group chats, and online discussion or prayer rooms. This will help boost interactions from your congregation, especially during services, to help boosts your online service engagements.
“We have one host per service that is commenting as our church. (They can say who they are if they want.) They share official prompts that we’ve prepared for them for that specific service and then comment on their own and interact. We keep them on all the time. We are specific about who is in this role since they do have more access than most. I encourage them to adjust their notification settings if they don’t want church notifications…” – Tika Marie Siburt.
“We have people who are our chat hosts from their houses. They use our Restream chat that shows the chat from FB and YT and comments as the church. We trained them with life. church materials and they have a pdf of scriptures with different topics they might encounter for prayer.” – Ryland Russell
Having them as Virtual Ushers
Ushers are needed at whatever event the church is holding–whether it is an online sermon, a charity drive, online Sunday school, and more. We need ushers to maintain orderliness and keep everything organized. On online services, it is helpful to appoint ushers who will greet the people, provide support, and manage online rooms. This will help boost your online service engagements. Your volunteers could be a virtual usher for live-streams of sermons or events; they can also assist your moderators and help keep the live stream flowing. A sure way of people finding or knowing who the user is is to post or pin their introduction at the top of the comments. This will clear unnecessary engagements and also help people know who to call for help.
“We live stream via Zoom and push to Facebook. Every service has a “virtual user” co-host. The usher is named at the beginning of the service and primarily provides technical support, managing the waiting room…” – Jan Hames.
Moderators are the bunch’s all-around workers; they mostly have more access than chat hosts and virtual ushers. Their jobs consist of managing the church’s profile, checking and managing online comments and conversations, keeping live-streams in order and organized, and sometimes they take up the work of being an usher or chat host too. Most moderators represent the church and use the church account on online engagements, so it’s better to train them well on the church’s guidelines and policies and introduce themselves when handling engagements. Not all moderators have to use the church’s account; some can be trained to moderate chat rooms, interact with everyone, and provide remarks on songs, speeches, sermons, and more.
“We have a team of moderators that take one service a month. They are designated as moderators on FB. We have a policy and guidelines on how to use our page appropriately, and we train each one to make sure they don’t accidentally use our page for personal posting. So far, it has worked very well. In the beginning, they post a welcome message and include their name in that message, but all responses appear to come from (our church) Grace Point.” – Niki Maloney.
There are many ways to manage volunteers and effectively assign them to specific tasks, yet it all boils down to what you need as a church. Be sure to have a weekly or monthly rotation for the positions so everyone will have a chance and give appointed ones some time to rest. After all, they are your volunteers, and you must show gratitude for the time they are offering freely.