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Nearly one-third of Americans have watched a religious service online or on the TV.
Because of the pandemic, online church services have let communities still practise their faith and stay in touch with their community. Perhaps you host a weekly virtual service and you want to know how to make it more engaging.
Sound familiar? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s how to host a fantastic online church service.
When devotees watch church services online, they want to feel welcome and seen. During your live church service, you must personally greet everyone as soon as they join. Every attendee may have an @username that says their name so you could say “Hi @juliaw, so happy you could join us today!”
Further, you should ask questions to engage viewers. For instance, ask them if they can access the sermon page or if anyone is watching outside of your state.
Once you’ve finished your announcements, ask everyone to share more about themselves because when they share their stories, they’ll feel known. You should also let viewers know that you’re available either via social media, your email, or church admin.
It’s important to have a hospitality team so they can answer any questions users have commented on. But the team must be personal so instead of replying “online church services are 10 AM every Sunday”, you should say “Hey [person’s name]…” so they feel more engaged.
You should also move your camera closer and make sure the shot is head-on (not from above or below) so viewers feel engaged. Plus, you must always look directly into the camera because worships will see you looking directly at them, making them more connected to you.
Be Less Formal
Even if you’re a high church congregation, it’s important to ditch the robes, banners, and vestments when you’re hosting a Livestream. You can even switch from organ to a more casual acoustic guitar for the songs.
Streamline what’s on your table so there’s only a candle, Bibble, and the basic communion elements so it doesn’t overwhelm viewers. And if anyone voices their concern about the changes to their traditional worship, remind them it’s only temporary and the service will return to normal when you’re in person.
Offer Private Sessions
There many are attendees who want to discuss a sensitive issue or need to pray with you one-on-one. To accommodate this, create a Facebook Group where you can invite them to a private conversation so you can immediately respond.
Plus, when your church service has a group then everyone can access your Livestream, blog posts, or any further reading. This is a great way to cultivate conversations so people can share their stories and interact with your staff.
Once your online community is thriving, you can consider giving it a unique brand especially if you’re determined to grow your church streaming services so participants feel more like a family.
Simplify Your Liturgies and Songs
Aim to use well-known songs or hymns that participants likely know by heart because it’s unlikely they’ll download and print the lyrics. You should also use repetitive phrases throughout your sermon to increase participation. And if any worshipers are struggling then make sure your hospitality team either sends a link to the lyrics or can answer their questions in the comments.
You can also promote virtual participation by lighting your candle at the beginning of the service and invite attendees to light their own and follow your lead.
Host Special Events
When you live stream church services, you must hold special events to keep everyone engaged. Schedule a time outside your weekly sermon to have a virtual coffee morning where attendees can catch up with one another. Or create a webinar dedicated to learning about a specific topic.
Stumped for ideas? Then post a survey to your Facebook group and find out what the community is interested in exploring so you have content ideas.
Consistency is key so make sure you can regularly connect with attendees. Don’t overcommit to high-levels of streaming production that you can’t keep up with. Instead, decide what you can do every Sunday and how you can deliver a fantastic service.
Remember, your goal is to create and nurture relationships so show up every single week so your audience does too.
Create Thoughtful Content
If you’re stuck with content ideas, figure out what would add value to the audience’s lives. Ask yourself:
- What do people in the audience need?
- How can I help expand their knowledge?
- What will make this content engaging?
Once you’ve created informative content, it’s important to create a regular schedule. You should schedule a Premiere for your online church services and send a direct link so your audience knows what time to join in. You should also give them instructions on how to invite their sends and send a text 15 minutes before to remind them that it’s starting.
Enable Virtual Giving
Like with a conventional church service, you should enable donations from worshipers whether it’s a one-time payment or a recurring online gift. You can either use a faith-based software or PayPal so attendees can take donations every Sunday morning. Plus, give attendees the option to cover transaction fees so that 100% of their gift goes towards your church.
Now you know how to hold a successful online church service.
It’s important to greet everyone by name, keep the stream casual, and encourage participation whether it’s asking or answering questions. You should also offer private sessions if any followers are struggling and make sure you reply in a timely manner.
Most importantly, be present and consistent so worshipers know when and where to find you each week. Good luck!
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