During COVID, in the space of a few weeks, thousands of churches suddenly found themselves unable to meet in person and forced to look for other solutions. At this point, most churches are back to meeting in person, a few are still fully online, and many have decided to do both. If your church has decided to continue broadcasting online worship services, it may be time to re-evaluate your processes and think about what’s next.
To start with, there are two ways to broadcast an online worship service. You can either pre-record your service, or you can live stream it. Here is a quick breakdown of the equipment you’ll likely need for each.
- video input device: smartphone, camcorder, or webcam
- a place to upload your video, such as YouTube, Facebook, or Vimeo
- tripod to hold your recording device (optional)
- video editing software to place overlays, such as text and slides, OR broadcasting software (optional)
- video input device, e.g., webcam
- laptop or computer
- video capture card (if you are not using a webcam)
- tripod (optional)
- a place to live stream your video, e.g., YouTube, Facebook, or Vimeo
- live-streaming/broadcasting software
Today and in our next blog post we’re going to be looking at how other churches have adjusted to the new online church service norm, and learn from their mistakes and successes. Let’s start with Rev. Andrew Gerber, from Lexington Community Church.
Case Study: Pre-Recording
Lexington Community Church (LCC) had exactly five days to transition from in-person church services to fully online worship. They had no equipment, no processes, and no previous skills. They decided to start with pre-recorded services.
LCC began with an iPhone on a tripod along with a microphone hooked up to a computer (using Audacity for the audio). They recorded the sound and video separately, and pulled them together later using Open Shot, a video editing software. Their simple and efficient setup meant that they only had to buy microphones.
Eventually, they added a Zoom package to their setup and began using it for adult Sunday School classes on Sunday mornings and a fellowship call on Wednesday nights. On any given call, usually anywhere from 8 to 30 people were in attendance. These calls connected their church in a way that was difficult to facilitate over a recording. LCC also stayed in touch through emails and newsletters.
Next week we’ll talk about two more churches and see how they responded to the online transition. Then we’ll wrap up with some thoughts about what this means for your church. We’ll see you then. (If you don’t want to wait until next week, you can watch our free webinar about online worship services here.)