As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, increasing numbers of churches are adapting worship services. In the face of a new normal, churches have the rare opportunity to reimagine how we connect with each other and create space for community.
Chandler Business Group is ready and waiting to help you create an intimate and engaging experience for your worship services. We have many options to fit your needs. We can stream live from your church, or we have a mobile studio where we can create any type of backdrop you’d like to use. With the holidays coming, you can tailor your service to Thanksgiving and Christmas to provide your parishioners to feel like they are in the actual church! We’ve outlined some of the things we can help you to create when you use CBG for your virtual worship needs.
Consider how people are watching your virtual worship. We find that the vast majority of congregants are watching on their mobile devices or on their smart televisions. You need to recognize that we are being streamed into peoples’ living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms—all of which are intimate settings. Church leaders p need to take full advantage of this more intimate medium. It’s important to adapt your worship to be more like a house church.
If you watch a talk show or a televangelist, they are experts at creating this sense of intimacy, and make the viewer feel like they are a part of the worship experience. Let CBG help you create this sense of intimacy using your vision and our creative set and lighting designs.
Move the Camera Closer
When you use a camera from far away from where you’re actually performing a service, this translates into emotional distance. Your best shots will be head on, not from above or below, and as close as possible. Frame your shots with close-ups of your upper body, this helps to make people feel like they’re sitting with you, rather than just watching.
Chandler Business Group has built simple, but effective ways to make viewers feel like they are a part of live streams and videos. We can customize to your sermon topic and make it feel just like the viewers are in the building.
Look into the camera
This can sometimes feel awkward because you don’t have congregants sitting in the pews. But when you look at the camera, they will see your eyes and look directly at them as they watch on the screen. Be deliberate about creating your virtual worship space. Arrange things that you feel are critical to conducting your worship, like a table, lectern, or musical instruments and consolidate them into a smaller area. You can also have “stations” for each of these parts of the service while maintaining your own social distancing. The camera can pan over to a musician during a hymn, then move to the lectern for the sermon.
With a little imagination and direction, Chandler Business Group can create these stations to be unique and handle all the videography and sound to make it sound as if the worshipper is in the church with you.
Keep your physical footprint as small as possible
Consider creating a “living room set” with couches, tables, lamps, etc. Make your service more conversational. Nothing creates separation between a worship leader and the audience like standing behind a massive object. Move out of the pulpit or altar and use open body language. Consider using a music stand or a hand-held tablet if you are a manuscript preacher.
The less formal, the better
This can be difficult depending on your normal worship service. If it is highly structured, or an interactive experience with a lot of response and interaction with the congregation, you may find streaming actually distances your congregation instead of drawing them in.
Consider wearing more casual attire rather than robes or vestments, limit the banners and symbols in the background. If you normally use an organ for hymns, consider a piano or an acoustic guitar. Think carefully what is necessary for your service and create your live stream to match. Remember this is all temporary. Remind your congregants that while this may feel uncomfortable now, that you will return to “normal” worship when you are able to gather again in person.
Most church live streams don’t provide the viewer with much opportunity to engage in the service. To create a more interactive experience, most live stream platforms allow you to “see” who is attending. You can welcome them by name, encourage your congregants to greet each other through a chat program. You can also designate someone on the stream to announce upcoming hymns, bible passages, and different parts of the service. Invite people to lift up names for prayer and acknowledge that you received the request and add that person during the service prayers. Using the chat function deliberately, you can create a feeling of fellowship even if everyone is apart.
Promote Virtual Participation
Invite your congregants to create a table or area with things that they can use during your service. Send an email, text, or post on social media a few days in advance so they know what to set up. Light a candle at the beginning of worship and invite viewers to follow along. Consider a virtual communion, have congregants use bread and wine or grape juice, whatever is handy, so they can share in communion with you.
Simplify liturgies and songs
Even if you choose to provide a downloadable order of service, understand that many people will not download or print them. Consider adjusting your order of service, using simple and repetitive phrases in responsive readings, use well-known songs or hymns that can be sung from memory.
Note: When choosing hymns and songs, if they are not original to the church and may be licensed in any way, make sure you have a license to use the music if you are using Facebook Live or YouTube Live Streaming. If the license is not held, the service may be paused, deleted, or muted. Currently, OneLicense is offering free licenses for music to churches so they can legally stream music. If you are going to post your worship on YouTube for viewing anytime, make sure you include a disclaimer with your permission/licensing so your recording is not removed.
Chandler Business Group can help you obtain and manage your music licenses, create a playlist, and embed the music into your live stream and service. This will save you time and ultimately help you create a more inclusive experience for your worshippers.
Allow time for virtual giving
Set up a text-to-give number or some other way of taking virtual tithes and giving. You can set up a PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, or other type of electronic money transfer method. Take a moment out of the service and ask for congregants donations, just as if you were at an in-person service. If there are multiple ways to give, make sure to inform people that they can send a check, use one of the electronic money transfer sites, and make sure there are instructions on your website or facebook page on how to use the service.