Has your church been using live streaming to grow community and improve discipleship?
Over the last 18 months, the church as a whole has significantly shifted its perception of the Internet and digital methods for evangelizing and engaging with church members. Odds are, your church shifted from physical services to digital services and is now trying to figure out how, and if, the church should continue digital ministry while returning to physical services. The answer to this should be an unwavering, “Yes;” however, this is an opportunity to evaluate the church’s audience and ministry context to determine how best to continue.
How have you been using live stream for your church?
Maybe you’ve spent the last year live streaming your Sunday service –
- Altar call
Perhaps, throughout the week, you’ve done a combination of –
- Live streaming services
- Short prayer
- Devotional services
- Kids’ services
- Small group content
Regardless of where your church is along that spectrum, I’ve had a front seat over the last year to some creative and consistently engaging content from churches around the world. As you plan out what’s next in this new chapter, there are three categories that have shown consistent engagement and positive feedback from viewers over time. Each of these areas focuses on engaging the church community outside of Sundays and intentionally focuses on biblical discipleship across the family.
3 Ways Your Church Can Use Live Streaming To Improve Discipleship Outside of the Sunday Service
1. Mid-week “Ask the Pastor”
This category is a natural extension of the Sunday service and contributes to several common church goals, like increasing:
- Attendance or viewership of Sunday services
- Interaction between pastoral staff and attendees
- Biblical knowledge and life application individually and communally
Make the most of your Sunday sermons by repurposing the content and utilizing great research that was left on the cutting room floor. The format: expand on one sermon point at a time, adding new insights and reiterating points. On Sundays, make a habit of encouraging the church to send questions they have about the sermon several times during service and then pick a few to answer throughout the week. (You may have to come up with questions yourself the first few weeks, but if done consistently, people will start asking questions.) In addition, these videos are some of the most flexible and simple to create.
5 Tips For Your “Ask the Pastor” Live Stream
- Go live from your phone in the car for an approachable, low production vibe
- Set up a live stream from your sanctuary or other well-lit area of your church
- Share the load! Have pastors, staff members, small group leaders, or deacons take turns answering questions. This provides an opportunity for the congregation to meet key church members and hear different voices on a topic.
- Have one person go live and talk to the camera, spending 5-10 minutes answering a handful of questions
- Go live with 2-3 leaders discussing questions and their answers
This content should be short, frequent (weekly at a minimum), and should point people back to the message for the bigger context. Above all, use this unique opportunity to expand on more meaty content and life application.
2. Weekly Bible Story
When you hear weekly a Bible story, the first thing that probably comes to mind is kids’ Bible lessons. However, telling Bible stories is so much more than that.
Take a look at these facts from the State of the Bible 2020
- 9% of US adults engage with the Bible daily
- 22% engage with the Bible weekly.
Although, reading engagement is not only an issue in the Church. Today –
- 27% of US adults have not read a book, in whole or in part, in the last year
- 20% of US adults are considered illiterate
“Bible storying” is a common evangelism and discipleship method in international circles and is gaining popularity in the United States as a means for drawing people into the scriptures. Ministries like BibleTelling.org, BTStories.com, and Two Minute Bible provide narrative retellings of approximately 70% of the Bible. The Bible has a long history of an oral tradition and exploring ways to share and teach scripture through stories introduces the Scriptures in ways that today’s world relates to. Above all, we are an audio visual culture.
Sharing one Bible story a week by live stream with your church provides an opportunity for individuals, families, and small groups to engage more closely with the Scriptures. Teaching strategies on how to remember the stories, retell them to others, and apply them to daily life builds confidence in knowing one’s faith and sharing it with others.Use live streaming for your church to engage in Bible storying. This marriage of new and old combines the oral tradition of storytelling with a 21st century mode of connection, all with the goal to improve discipleship. Click To Tweet
3. Kids’ Connection
The first two categories are ones that apply broadly to the whole church. However, this one is a bit different in that it meets a very specific group in the church: parents that want to provide a solid biblical foundation for their kids.
Not everyone is comfortable returning to physical services and I’ve heard from many churches how their families have missed children’s church. This idea comes from one of those churches.
- Recruit your children’s pastor(s) or kids’ ministry worker to teach a short Bible story
- Consider broadcasting live based on age groups.
- Include links and examples of related crafts, printables or activities (or all of them!)
After that, repost your video to your social media channels and TV apps. This way, parents have access to a 5-15 minute lesson designed specifically for their kids to use as their convenience.
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There are many creative ways churches are blurring the lines between physical gatherings and digital interaction. When your faith community comes together over and “ask the pastor” live stream, a weekly Bible story, or a children’s connection, you are setting an example of innovation and adaptation within your church’s ministry context.