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Churches Social Media Toolkit

Created by Rev. Caleb J. Lines

 
It is extremely unfortunate that the coronavirus is negatively impacting so many (especially those who are elderly or living in poverty) and disrupting our day-to-day lives, however, one valuable insight that may result from this disastrous virus is congregational awareness about the necessity of technology. While many congregations are canceling in-person worship services for the next few weeks, it is still very wise for churches to encourage people to participate in the service digitally. By clicking on the links below, church leaders will find resources to utilize social media as a tool during this time when it is difficult to meet in-person.

For congregations that have never Live Streamed
1. Congregations should set up a Livestream. While there are multiple platforms which can be utilized, Facebook makes the most sense. Public Facebook Pages can be viewed without a Facebook account, can be easily integrated into many church websites, and can be shared by viewers who have Facebook accounts.

2. If your congregation does not have cameras or a Livestream system, simply set up a smartphone or tablet on a tripod (tripods are important for stability and a professional presentation). Be sure to set the smartphone or tablet near the front (perhaps in the first pew) where everyone leading worship is visible. Have a volunteer monitor the camera and focus it on the person speaking. If it is possible to connect the soundboard to the Live Streaming device, viewers at home will likely get much better sound.

3. Once the smartphone or tablet is set up, press the “Go Live” button a few minutes before the beginning of the service.

For congregations that have Live Streamed and want to step up their game:
1. Over the next few weeks, consider investing in a multi-camera system. This will allow your viewers to have a more pleasant and worshipful experience. Our congregation uses Sling Studio with 2-3 cameras and has had a very positive experience.

2. Have someone curate the feed. Interact with viewers in the same way that you would with parishioners who are in a physical church building. Ask who’s watching and welcome them at the beginning of the service (acknowledge them both in the feed and orally in the service). Ask for prayer concerns and relay them to the pastor so that they can be lifted up during the prayers, if that is a part of your tradition. Ask engaging questions on the feed during the sermon and respond to any comments.

3. Consider investing in technology that allows for banners across the bottom of the video or that can display any slides on the Livestream that are shown during the service.

Engage people during the week:
1. Pastors should consider going live or recording a video to tell their congregations what church leadership is doing to protect people in the congregation and to inform them of what community gatherings will look like over the next several weeks.

2. During the worship hour, there should be some sort of worship presence on social media. If a congregation has already invested in livestreaming equipment, then congregants should be reminded how to access it and how to participate. If a congregation has never tried Live Streaming, this is the time to give it a try! A pastor could go live or upload a video and set it to start at the normal worship hour, so that people can stay in their regular Sunday morning routine. Pastors could just offer a sermon or lead an entire liturgy (like the one below that engages participants). Whatever individual churches decide to do, leaders should inform the congregation of what will be happening, so that they’ll be prepared to participate.

3. Congregations should be prepared to continue regular activities over the next several weeks without people actually coming onto the church’s physical campus. Congregations ought to go ahead and have church meetings, bible studies, etc., but should ask people to join a video conference if they have access. There are multiple options such as Zoom, Go to Meeting, and Google Hangouts. Google Hangouts is free, automatically integrates with Google Calendar and people can call in by voice if they don’t have access to a computer, tablet, or smartphone. More than anything, keeping meetings on the calendar ensures that people remain engaged in the life of the church.
 
Click here for Live Streaming Tips
 
Click here for 10 Social Media Commandments
 
Click here for Sample Social Media Policy
 
Click here for Digital Liturgy
 
Click here for Minor Photo/Video Release Form
 
Permission granted for re-use/re-print by:
Rev. Caleb J. Lines
University Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) UCC San Diego

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