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Technology for Virtual Congregational Life

Resources

8 Resources
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5 of the Best Church Online Giving Platforms
This article compares online giving platforms in a format that’ s easy to read and...
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Seder2020
This clearinghouse for virtual seders allows you to create your own or join another.
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Helping Your Church Respond to the Coronavirus
This United Methodist resource page offers a variety of information and trainings to help...
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Being the Virtual Church: Resources during the COVID-19 Pandemic
This hub of information from the Texas Methodist Foundation offers innovative ways to create...
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Resource List for Online Church
Written during COVID-19, this succinct guide quickly empowers congregations to transition to...
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Introduction to Live Streaming
This engaging webpage offers simple steps and video tutorials to start streaming your worship...
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How to Live Stream Worship Legally
This succinct and thorough summary of copyright law helps congregations stream worship...
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Virtual Ministry Opportunities: Online Technology Resources
This resource page by The CME Church explains how and why to use online platforms during...

About the Contributor

Contributor
Kate White

Kate is the associate director for resources at the Center for Congregations. She manages educational resources and works to get the best resources into the hands of congregations.

Virtual Worship

Over the past several years, virtual worship has become a highly discussed topic and a keen area of interest for religious groups everywhere. Thanks to the power of the internet, there are even more resources available online than ever before. And so, a lot of people have already begun discovering the benefits of looking for religious services in the virtual world. Whether someone is traveling on vacation, working on the weekend, or is otherwise unable to go into a physical building, it is still possible for people to have access to their religious services through the use of the internet. And over the past few months, virtual worship has only become even more popular.

At the same time, though, it can be hard to deny that worship services taking place online can be a bit different from those that take place in person. This is where creative worship ideas can be helpful. When religious groups and leaders begin to look into live streaming solutions, their benefits, and the process of setting up streaming services for religious purposes, they may quickly find that while there are numerous platforms available, each of them can also have their own unique sets of benefits and drawbacks. With that in mind, it can be good to figure out things such as how many people will attend each service, how large the reach of the platform will be, the quality of the audio and video services, and how their specific congregation may respond to virtual worship services. Doing so may place these religious groups into a position to be successful when they pursue worship in a virtual manner.

Online Worship

Online worship has become more and more common. When it comes to attending congregations online, it can naturally be a little bit different from attending a service in person. People might have difficulty in interacting with other members of the congregation in a virtual manner. Furthermore, people can also have different comfort levels, when it comes to using technology for religious purposes. Thus, it might easily make sense why some people are going to have questions, when they are trying to use a virtual worship app.

At the same time, it may also be worth noting that online worship can be as good, or as frustrating, as people want it to be. Anyone who is trying to worship virtually for the first time might want to check out what sort of team resources are available to them. The vast majority of congregations can take steps to make resources available and make it easier for members of their congregation to access worship services online. It can be very possible that the practice of worshipping online might take some adjusting to, at first. Once religious organizations have had the time to go through a few weeks or months of online services, though, the members of their congregation will likely become more comfortable with this platform.

It can also be helpful for congregation members to have a certain area in a room of their home where they can go for worship every Sunday. For example, it might be a good idea to test the internet connection ahead of time, place a few religious items in the room, and have an audio system set up so that they will be able to hear the service clearly. These simple steps can go a long way toward improving the quality of online worship services for members of a religious congregation.

Virtual Choir

Singing and music make up one of the key aspects of religious services. In fact, singing in worship can often be seen as one of the most central parts of nearly all religious faiths. This can also prove to be one of the best ways for making sure the congregation is able to stay involved with the service. At the same time, having a virtual choir can also turn out to be a bit of a challenge. Particularly when every member of the choir is located in a different area, it can be hard to keep them in unison. Even if all the members of the choir are singing in a single location, they are still being broadcast virtually. Therefore, it can be a good idea to make sure they are able to be heard clearly.

When it comes to having a virtual choir, there are a few pieces of special equipment that might be needed. In addition to the background music, it could also be beneficial to invest in special microphones, virtual choir editing software, a specialized webcam, and USB connections for all microphones. The vast majority of people still use Adobe Flash to help them with their virtual music performances, including virtual choirs.

Finally, it can always be helpful to test all of your equipment ahead of time. When possible, you might consider making sure the choir rehearsal includes a technology test, as well. It will likely take everyone some time to get used to this equipment. Thus, the more practice people are able to have ahead of time, the better it can go on the actual day of worship. During this time, you might consider taking the time to ensure that each individual member of the choir can be heard. Depending on where the microphones are positioned and the individual volumes of the members’ voices, the choir might have to be rearranged.

Virtual Church

When it comes to holding virtual worship, this is something that can prove to be quite an adjustment for everyone involved. Many people who go to worship sessions are used to sitting in pews with people whom they have come to know over the course of many years. With this in mind, when it comes to holding services virtually, trying to ensure that everyone is able to stay together might be a worthy goal to focus on.

When it comes to virtual worship ideas, a good point to keep in mind may be that the entire congregation has to stay together. It can be much easier for people to stay connected with one another when they are going to church each Sunday. Now that people are attending sessions from home, though, the congregation can start to feel a bit fragmented. Therefore, you might look into investing in social media, and posting pictures and videos on a regular basis, which can help remind the congregation that their religious leaders are always available to help them during difficult times.

Remember, it is possible to invest in strong virtual fellowship ideas. Religious studies can still be held virtually. Sunday sessions can still be held virtually, as well. The more people are able to stay involved with their congregation, the better off the group is likely going to be. When the group lets people know that religious leaders are available to help them during their emotional, mental, and spiritual challenges, the congregation as a whole can have an easier time sticking together - and the turnout for Sunday services might also go up.

Worship Music

Worship music is often considered an essential part of most religious services, and it can be good for congregations to make sure that they still have access to worship music, even when holding their services virtually. When it comes to having a virtual worship band, making sure that you have the right equipment present can be a good practice to get into. The vast majority of worship music online is likely going to depend on things like USB microphones, webcams, and video editing software. It can also be helpful to invest in worship multitracks, which make it possible to combine tracks from different instruments together. From there, they can all be edited at once.

It can be a big challenge to make sure that a virtual church band sounds good during services. One thing you can do is try and get everyone together to rehearse once per week. It will likely take some time to get used to this software; however, with A/B testing, it is possible for virtual worship bands to sound just as good as they would in person. Remember that some instruments and voices are going to sound louder virtually than they would in person. Therefore, you might also consider making sure that each instrument and member has access to his or her own individual microphone. Then, you can adjust the volume of the microphones, to reduce the burden on the editor once the rehearsal is finished.

Online Worship Ideas

It might also be good to think about online worship ideas ahead of time. Coming up with virtual worship ideas and interactive worship ideas can help congregations and religious groups perform better virtually.

First, it might be good to look at going beyond the livestream. While it can be helpful to think of this as the backbone of virtual worship services, there are other ways to potentially get people involved. Virtual small group studies, virtual schooling for children, and other online gatherings throughout the week can all be helpful for keeping people involved with the congregation. It can also be helpful to record videos ahead of time, which can then be posted on social media.

Second, you might also try and avoid having wide shots of the entire building, instead opting to get the camera view in closer. You might also take steps to ensure that the room is well-lit and the microphone is loud enough. The closer people are able to get to the camera, the more engaged the audience can become.

Finally, you might also update the website on a regular basis. The website is likely going to act as the virtual storefront of the organization, and by ensuring that you have updated, accurate information present, this can go a long way in helping you make a good initial impression.

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