We’ve talked a lot about engagement on the blog recently. Partially because this is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome in your digital church experience. Especially now as you have to work to bridge the gap between your in-person and online services. But once you’ve built an understanding of how to live stream, the doors open for you to tackle events beyond Sunday services.
There are two key principles you want to strive for with your live stream content. The first is that your content be accessible. Meaning easy to find, understand, share, and adheres to best practises for accessibility. The second is to make it digestible. Shorter content is easier to consume and process, which is great for our internet brains.
When content is accessible and digestible, we go back to it again and again.
Below are 7 ways you can get creative with short, sharable content beyond Sunday services. Any of the following will help build continuity and community in your online church presence.
A short, simple, sharable piece of content that can connect you to your congregation every single day is a morning prayer. Pick a prayer time that works for your congregation and invite them to join you as they start their day.
Starting the day with grace and gratitude is nurturing to both spiritual and mental health. Similarly an evening prayer can be a way to calm the mind and soul after a long stressful day. Whichever route you choose (or both), you create a regular, daily habit that can provide long-lasting impact and connection.
Weekly Check In
Imagine giving 15 minutes a week to your congregation just for open discussion. A weekly check in that occurs at a predictable time each week is an interactive opportunity for your parishioners to gain face time with you outside of a sermon.
Prepare to fill the space with feedback on your week, direction on the upcoming service. As you gain the attention of your congregation, you can offer this as a space for two-way communication. Here you can take in feedback, prayer requests, or even answer questions..
Small Group Shares
If you have small groups that are already connecting, you could consider having these groups volunteer to lead a weekly live session. This could help others see the different ways to connect with your church and other members of the congregation.
Small groups often have dynamic and deep conversations, so a shareable version could be more of a reflection from the latest meet-up or a short invitation from the group. You don’t need to live stream to make this content useful. Pre-recorded events also work.
Youth Story Time
Either you or your youth leader could provide a weekly story time for children. Young children especially enjoy taking part in online readings with adults they know and respect.
Children especially enjoy books with pictures and dialogue. Make it more fun by adding an interesting temporary background to your video that goes along with the story.
Since kids are now back to school, this might be best as a pre-bedtime tale or a Saturday morning starter for the day.
Monthly “Ask a Question” Roundtable
If you have a large leadership team, you can host a monthly leadership conversation. Using Zoom or Google Meet, leaders address a topic or question that a member of the congregation submits. Taking this single topic, leaders engage in an open-ended conversation that helps reflect the values and intentions of the church.
Helpful Content and Lifehacks
We all have our hobbies, interests, and other expertise. You could create a regular series of tips that you think would be useful to share. From parenting tips, to personal finance, gardening, or even health and fitness.
Weekly how-tos could feature multiple members of your clergy or congregation.
Testimonies and Good Samaritans
Depending on the size of your parish, there are a number or people you could “interview” in a series that helps personalise the individuals that make your church a home. Many of us are eager for an opportunity to connect and share our stories, All you have to do is provide the platform.
Using your bulletin or social media, reach out and see who among your congregation has a story to share. Depending on the interest, this could be a fairly regular feature.
Remember, there is no need to attempt all the suggestions at once. It’s so easy to burn out by trying to do too much at once. Keep it simple and work on the content that you and your team enjoy creating the most.