A reported 72% of Americans say they’ll hit a mental breaking point if stay-at-home orders continue into June. The same survey found 16% of people have already reached their breaking point. That is very alarming. People are hurting. Your congregation needs your church community more than ever.
While some states have started to reopen, the reality is reopening will be a slow process. It will be a long time before things get back to normal. Life will probably never be fully the way things were. Our team at StreamingChurch.tv is involved in our own local churches and encourage others to implement unique ideas for strengthening your online church.
1. Round Table Gathering Style
Have a round table discussion with your pastors and other church staff, or other leaders on various topics. You could live stream, upload a pre-recorded video, or set up a Simulated Live. The goal is to be conversational in nature so people feel included while watching. If you use live streaming or Simulated Live, online visitors will also be able to comment. Setup a chat host so you can moderate visitors' comments and welcome them to the gathering.
2. Post Service Chat with your Pastor(s)
This could be done using Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, or other platforms that enable two way conversations online. Allow members to gain further insights into your worship service by holding a chat with the pastor afterward.
3. Drive-In Church
While this idea has been around for a long time, (Robert Schuller), it is coming back for some churches that are not meeting. You could use a low power FM transmitter as people sit in their vehicles in the church parking lot.
4. Simulated Live
As mentioned in the round table gathering section, a great method for easy streaming is using a pre-recorded service. See here for more details.
5. Communion Online
If you typically do communion during your in-person worship service, there's no reason you can't continue it remotely. Setup a virtual version of communion online by reminding people beforehand to acquire the elements needed and then lead them in it.
6. Mid-Week Going Deep Q&A with Pastors
This could be a live stream from a pastor’s home or the church facility with others allowing for live chat. Encourage involvement on the chat of social streaming platforms or if your streaming service has an interactive video/chat platform. Learn more about our chat and other platform features here.
7. Community Prayer / 1 on 1 Prayer
Make sure you have a prayer request form easily visible on your website and including all the information you usually collect for prayer requests. SCTV and other video/chat platforms have private prayer that allows folks to participate in prayer via private chat feature.
8. Video / Audio / Vlog of Daily Devotional
Post a quick 3-5 minute devotional to provide daily encouragement and inspiration. You can deliver this devotional through a newsletter, posted it on your church website, and/or social media platforms.
9. Give Online
Giving is part of worship and people who love their church want to give. All of the changes to everyday life can make it easy for members to forget. Make sure you gently remind them they can still support the church by giving online or even mailing their checks in. If you don't already, add a Donation button on your website homepage and navigation menu.
10. Small Groups Online
Churches can use Skype, Zoom, Google Meet to gather folks online using their mobile devices or computers. Meet once a week and fellowship together! Keep the breakout groups small enough that everyone feels heard and can participate fully within the time limit. Have someone from your church staff orchestrate the meeting and aid the small groups when needed.