Digital Tools for online worship

There are a multitude of tools available to you to help you connect with your congregation and the wider community of your parish. The focus is around providing access to worship, being part of the community and supporting those who could do with a bit more help. 

You may already be digitally savvy as a church and have lots of these capabilities, if not we have collected a few free tools below for you to consider. 

Services and church gatherings 

Live streaming options are available to reach your congregation with encouraging messages and sermons, which are helpful in times of not meeting, so you can keep sharing what you feel God is saying for your church. Here are some tips:

  • Your content could include slightly reduced sermon, news for the church and prayer for all those watching (which might include those without faith, who would appreciate the prayer at this time). 
  • Use a smartphone or computer to run this from your home. 
  • Tell people how to join. Send an email, post on your Facebook group/page, share across other social media and phone people to let them know when and how to access the service. You can also use social media as a way to invite people to join you who are not part of your church, but might be finding these time worrying and would find a connection to church and prayer helpful. Smaller congregations are using video-conferencing apps like Zoom. It is worth reading and sharing the good advice from our colleagues in Worcester Diocese.
  • Add your event/service(s) to your page, making sure to add the 'live stream' tag. 
    Find those already tagged here.

Labs Learning Webinars

The CofE Digital team have just released a series of webinars including topics such as 'Five ways to keep your church connected' and 'Livestream Question and answer session' (and not so related to streaming, but very pertinent at the moment, 'How to use AChurchNearYou during social distancing'). We're hoping to hear if they will be repeating some of the sessions soon.

And this link is a fantastic 4.5 minute guide to making the best of leading / preaching / teaching and ministering through a webcam rather than a pulpit.

And Tom Pearson of the CofE's Life Events Diary team has passed on a useful link about using video conference software safely:  

More useful links: 

  1. YouTube Live Tutorial
  2. Facebook Live Tutorial and another from one of the diocese's IT partners here (you may need to log in or create a Dropbox account to access it).
  3. Google Hangout – premium version free until July 
  4. Instagram Live Tutorial (from 27'22") - just like Facebook Live, enables viewers to comment and respond
    There are lots of paid for services that offer other functionality 
  5. A beginner’s guide to going live with your service or event for free [Church of England | article] - link 
  6. The most affordable live streaming cameras for churches [ProChurchTools | Podcast] - link 
  7. Recording, streaming and podcasting your services [CCLI | Article] - link 
  8. How to Livestream Your Church Service: A Practical Guide [Gospel Coalition | Article] - link 
  9. How to stream your Church service on Facebook Live - [CBN | article] - link 
  10. Copyright Licensing explained for livestream worship [ ResoundWorship | article]
  11. Songs in the public domain - [CCLI | list] - link 
  12. Some general tips about filming which are equally applicable for preparing and streaming online worship from former Lichfield-Diocese comms officer (via Blackbrun Diocese)

We think #9 is particularly helpful in considering WHAT you should stream, and #10 on HOW to use the most common platform, Facebook Live.

However, as Fr John Stather at Tunstall says, there are significant numbers of people who don't or won't have a Facebook account, particularly among the oldest segments of our congregations. This has driven his decision to persevere with the slightly trickier OBS software alongside a simple webcam in order to be able to stream to Christ Church Tunstall's website using YouTube - it requires no account or login to be accessible.

And one final thought: sound plays (more than) 50% of the substance in most of our liturgy - in the words of our liturgy, lyrics of our hymns and acoustics of our buildings. It is worth making the effort to incorporate a sound feed from a PA desk or obtain a separate quality microphone to put at the lectern.

Please email our diocesan Creative Media Producer Simon Jones for help and advice.

Thanks to Dioceses of Guildford & Blackburn, Tom Pearson and others for highlighting some of these resources

Page last updated: 22nd April 2020 2:33 PM