How One Church Transformed Their Online Church Service
Hope Church was ready to go back in person again after the pandemic. But they realized that they needed to pivot.
The needs of their community had changed. Some were online for good, some were going back in person, and others were switching back and forth.
So they re-envisioned their community. Hope reformatted their services and redirected their church's thinking; Instead of being one church with two locations, they shifted to being one church with two expressions.
By changing the format of worship, their new model could better serve the diverse needs of their congregation, meeting each person where they were.
By using Altar Live, services could incorporate the same interactive elements of in person worship. Members of Hope Church stepped into an online space where they could sit in rows, engage in personal face-to-face-conversations, and connect at Tables in the lobby.
Altar Live was built for churches to grow in community engagement. Using a church platform crafted specifically for community connection in your congregation will go lengths in transforming your online church service.
If you're considering what it looks like to transition from a church live streaming program into real, person to person online community fellowship, we invite you to take a closer look at what this might look like for your church.
A Digital Church Platform That Enables…
It's one thing just to have your church streaming its online services.
It's another entirely if you truly hope to create an online church service that connects, engages, and nurtures your congregation.
This is what that looks like:
... PERSONAL TOUCH: Personally meet & greet everyone
To really connect with your community, this involves creative a welcoming and energetic digital environment, one that holds space for the same connection that comes with being in person.
Seeing who else is worshiping alongside you, having personal conversations that build trust and connection, whether with first time visitors or regular attendees is key to fostering this kind of personal touch within an online church service.
... CONTINUAL ENGAGEMENT: Keep people engaged 7 days a week
Your church streaming services once a week may cause it to feel like the weekly release of a tv series more so than actual community fellowship.
Instead, engaging through both church streaming and video meetings throughout the week can help cultivate connection. Making small groups, marriage retreats, next step classes and staff meetings accessible allows your congregation to know what's happening in your community and stay involved.
... FOLLOW UP + GROWTH: Know who is actually watching & engaging
In your online church service, you may not always know who is on the other side of the screen. Knowing when a new visitor joins you for worship, gaining metrics for meeting attendees, and connecting this data with programs you're already using will help you stay in the know of who is really watching and engaging with you.
But what do each of these aspects look like for real online faith communities?
Take a look at how a few of these communities are using Altar's digital church platform to leverage personal touch, continual engagement, as well as follow up and growth.
Using The Altar Church Platform For...
Creating a personal touch through a digital church platform can take shape in many different ways.
Here are a few of our favorite snapshots of what that's looked like for communities using Altar Live:
For Elim Church's online church service, viewership was great week to week.
But engagement, not so much.
They sensed that their church wanted a community experience, to have the same casual conversations that happen when you run into people in the Atrium after service. So they "ripped off the bandaid" and switched from Church Online Platform to Altar Live.
Altar Live allowed Elim Church to use an interactive, engaging platform without lowering their standards of service or church streaming. Church staff engaged with first time visitors as well as new comers planning to move to their local area. Even regular attendees were able to connect and meet for the first time.
Elim Church took the bold step to turn off one of its Sunday service live streams to help create critical mass for engagement. Switching to Altar Live's digital church platform, a real impact was made in the community. Changing from Church Online Platform to Altar Live, Elim Church was able to create a community experience through online church services.
Digitally mediated connection is the new normal. How we understand small groups has evolved. It's not just about what works, but what's sustainable.
Author, pastor, and small group consultant, Allen White, sat down with us to discuss fellowship groups, theology, and how Altar Live goes beyond just church streaming. When it comes to small groups, White highlighted the importance of specificity, flexibility, and intentionality.
Whether your groups gather online, in person, or in a hybrid format, digital tools like Altar Live create opportunities and spaces to build meaningful connections. As Altar Live is a digital platform designed for fellowship, the platform has presented our communities countless possibilities of creatively and seamlessly incorporating specificity, flexibility and intentionality into meetings.
"People use Zoom for work, for meetings, family reunions... We need something different that is a departure from what everyone is using daily," said Rev. Sharon Moore as they planned the St. Andrew Sister's Conference.
That's when their team began to explore whether the Altar Live platform could support their full-agenda conference.
Sure enough, using Altar Live's single online venue, the conference involved multi-modal participation, direct personal access to speakers, intercessory prayer as well as free time to mingle.
Rev. Moore and her team worked to successfully host a multi-day event, inviting 175 guests, all of whom were new to Altar. They felt this was the next best thing to being there.
📖 Read more: Creative ways to use the digital space
More Than Church Streaming, This Church Continues to Build Community Fellowship Together
Regardless of where individuals might be in their faith journey, or even where they may be geographically, Tapestry Online opens up its online space to welcome all.
But it's certainly not just church streaming.
Entering the Auditorium, members of the community are ready to welcome each attendee to the service, sitting together in Rows as a part of a participatory online church experience. Attendees are invited to worship together, pray together, and on Christmas Eve, candles were even lit together. After the message, the lobby is open for the community to connect and reflect together on the message.
But fellowship does not end there. Through the Altar Live platform, Tapestry provides opportunities throughout the week to connect. These small groups open up a space during the week for rest, reflection, and ongoing connection with the community.
FOLLOW UP + GROWTH
Know who is actually watching & engaging
The Mount's campuses are located near military bases which means a steady flow of congregants coming and going, making it a mission for The Mount to cultivate a warm and hospitable environment.
When COVID struck and their team pivoted online, The Mount realized they had a new way for people to connect to their church even when they were deployed. For a church like The Mount who saw a weekly online service attendance of over 500 people, nurturing relationships was key.
Praying with individuals after the service at tables, meeting new people by inviting them to a row or room and greeting people online by name are all ways they fostered a welcoming online worship experience.
Additionally, higher attendance, keeping track of newcomers and following up isn't always easy. Utilizing tools like Altar Live's metrics dashboard give you insight into who's watching and engaging. Connecting and nurturing with you community ensure that no one is ever just a number.
Tip: Using the Altar Live's Analytics Dashboard allows you to take note of your community - who's watching, engaging and attending each week.
Why Church Live Streaming Will Never Be The Same
We've seen how Altar has impacted personal connection, continued engagement, and follow-up growth in real ways for many communities.
Church is so much more than watching a service through a one-way screen. Altar Live provides space for a living, breathing, engaging online community.
The way we do church is changing, and churches are recognizing this. And because of this, church leaders are being empowered to more fully serve and grow their community.
You may be surprised by how the right digital church platform could impact engagement in your own ministry.
Altar Live was designed alongside churches like yours. Where will you fit into this story? What kind of personal connection, engagement and growth will your community experience?
Ready for a church platform that enables personal touch, continual engagement, follow up and growth?
PERSONAL TOUCH: Altar Live allows you to personally meet & greet everyone
- Create a welcoming & energetic environment online that feels like being in-person.
- Easily see who else is joining your online event with visualized icons on screen.
- Build trust and connection with first time visitors and regular attendees by getting to know them over direct message or connecting more personally through private 1:1 video conference.
CONTINUAL ENGAGEMENT: Altar Live allows you to keep people engaged 7 days a week
- All-in-one platform for your live stream events and video conference meetings - Altar Live Meetings are a Zoom alternative.
- Make it easy and accessible for people to know what is happening online.
- Host small groups, marriage retreats, next steps classes, and even staff meetings with Altar Live Meetings.
FOLLOW UP + GROWTH: Altar Live allows you to know who is actually watching & engaging
- Stop guessing who is on the other side of the screen.
- Get notified when someone joins your events or meeting for the first time so you can follow up with them.
- Get analytic insight into both anonymous visitors and regular attendees so you can understand who is engaging with you online.
- Keep it organized by connecting all this data to your Church Management system with our custom integrations.
Need more resources and ideas on launching your online church? We'll walk you through what you need to start a church online with minimal budget.
➡️ Test it out! See for yourself why churches are choosing to grow their community engagement through Altar Live.