As pastors, it's becoming increasingly important to utilize the latest technology in order to reach a wider audience. Live streaming is one of the most effective ways to reach community members who do not attend your church, and with many of us still dealing with the effects of Covid-19, there are now more opportunities than ever for churches to leverage live streaming for community engagement.
With the right tools and guidance, you can create a seamless live-streaming experience for your church's members and even those that haven't physically visited in person yet.
Here are three unique ways to use live streaming that can increase engagement with those who don’t currently attend your church:
1. Host an online Q&A session.
Live streaming Q&A sessions allows you to directly engage with viewers and answer questions they may have about faith or your church.
By answering these questions, you can ensure that your followers feel heard and valued. You can create a series that covers various topics related to faith, church life, and current events. This will help to create conversations and inspire meaningful discussions that can lead to deeper connections between members of your congregation. Additionally, you can use this series as an opportunity to connect with other faith communities or organizations in your area.
See how far you can go with online conversations around faith topics – invite speakers from other parts of the world, host a Q&A session with authors of faith-based books or have discussions about current events from a faith perspective. There’s no telling what kind of powerful conversations can come out this type of engaging environment.
This type of event provides an opportunity for pastors to interact on a personal level with someone they wouldn’t normally be able to connect with, allowing them to form deeper relationships with their congregation.
Here is a list of creative ideas to help facilitate a Q&A live-streaming session online for your church members:
1. Create a hashtag for your live-streaming session and invite participants to post their questions using the hashtag before or during the stream.
2. Invite participants to submit their questions ahead of time via an online form or email so that you can review them, select the most popular ones, and answer them during the stream.
3. Create a dedicated live streaming page on your church website as a central hub for the Q&A session, and use it to provide additional information about the topic or any follow-up resources.
4. Encourage participants to leave comments or questions during the stream that can be answered in real-time by you or members of your team.
7. Use polls or surveys during your live stream to better understand your audience and get valuable insights on how to curate future topics for Q&A events.
2. Create a virtual “coffee shop.”
Gather a few people in your congregation via video chat and open up conversation around faith topics or scriptures. Make it easy for non-members to join by creating a simple signup form on your website and sending out the link via social media or email.
Consider using a platform like Zoom or Google Hangouts to facilitate the discussion. Have different people take turns leading each meeting, and plan ahead by selecting topics in advance. This will keep your chats engaging and help build relationships among members of your faith community.
Additionally, make sure to provide plenty of opportunities for discussion and interaction. Ask questions and invite different members to share their perspectives. The use of technology can also help create a sense of intimacy and connection that can be hard to achieve online. Share stories and experiences, provide audio or video clips, or even host virtual game nights to further create a sense of community. By providing meaningful connections and interaction, your church will be able to cultivate a virtual relationship that is equally as strong as an in-person one.
Finally, make sure to provide ways for members to stay connected outside of virtual services and events. Create online groups where members can share stories, updates, and prayer requests with one another. This will help foster personal connections between members and help everyone feel more connected to one another.
By leveraging technology, your church can create meaningful connections and relationships that will last far beyond the virtual service or event. These personal interactions will form a strong bond between members, creating an even deeper sense of community within your church.
3. Stream a prayer session from your church office or home office.
Invite people from all around the world to join together in prayer at a specific time and date through live streaming technology like Zoom or Hangouts or Altar Live. Here are 11 tips for prayer sessions via live streaming:
1. Make sure to choose a time convenient for as many participants as possible. You might survey your community, as well as test different days and times of the week to host them.
2. Ask each person to bring a specific prayer topic or focus that they would like the group to pray for.
3. Before you start, ensure everyone is aware of the resources available and how to access them. This could include links to past recordings, live streaming platforms, or worship music.
4. Consider introducing new elements such as discussing prayer topics, testimonials about answered prayers, or a scripture reading to engage your group in meaningful discussion and prayer.
5. Encourage participants to share prayer requests, either verbally or through a chat window.
6. Provide opportunities for participants to express gratitude and thanksgiving for answered prayers.
7. Invite special guests or guest speakers who can bring new insights or perspectives about the power of prayer.
8. Make sure that everyone has time to pray in their own individual way.
8. Give participants an opportunity to share what they take away from each prayer session. This will help others to gain new insights about the power of prayer and how it can affect us all.
10. Conclude each session with a closing prayer before ending the call or virtual gathering
11. After your session, follow up with participants to see how they felt and what feedback they have. Ask them what worked, as well as what could be improved for the next session.
Consistency Is Key. Don't Give Up Too Quickly.
As with any new initiative, you have to be committed to it to get traction. You may not get that many people attending these live-streaming events at first, but if you stick with it and are consistent in both hosting, but also in promotion, you will find success in cultivating communities around these offerings. Additionally, it is important to ensure that you have the necessary technology in place to ensure a good user experience. This will also help bring in more viewers each time and encourage them to stay with your church’s streaming events. It is also worth noting that live streaming events can be used as an effective way of engaging members who may not be able to physically attend services.
These are just three ideas for leveraging live streaming as part of your overall outreach strategy for engaging both members and non-members of your church during this post-COVID era. Investing some time into exploring different ways you can use live streaming tools will help you better engage with those in the community outside of regular worship services and events held at your church building location.
You can also expand your reach in other ways such as creating interactive Bible studies or Sunday school classes that could be held virtually. This would allow individuals from all over the world to interact with each other, ask questions and learn together in one space. If you are looking for a way to bring those who may not be able to attend physical