Things To Consider When Starting A Church Today
When most online churches took the scene, it was out of necessity or an option. Now, the online church is becoming a new form of community expression. It’s not just an option anymore, it’s a new way to start a community.
July 22, 2022
It’s no secret that virtual events are the new normal. From work-from-home culture to online church, our tech world has catapulted into the future. When most online churches took the scene, it was out of necessity or an option.
Now, the online church is becoming a new form of community expression. It’s not just an option anymore, it’s a new way to start a community.
So, if you’re ready to hop on the bandwagon, here are some things to consider when starting a church online.
Starting A Church Online: What You’ll Need
Before launching your virtual church, there are a few decisions that need to be made and a few technical elements required, but don’t worry. We explain exactly what you’ll need below - let’s take a look:
Decide If The Service Will Be Pre-recorded or Live
This step may seem simple, but it is very important to decide if your online church service will be pre-recorded or live. his will help you map out the production process and give you a clear vision of the flow of the service.
Both types of services have their benefits.
If the service is live, it allows for real-time connections with your community and less editing. If your service is pre-recording, it allows you to fine-tune your message, record ahead of time, and edit in or out necessary portions. Both options are great and you can switch back and forth between the two.
Decide on a Camera
Probably the most essential step when starting a church online is deciding which kind of camera to use. While It’s perfectly fine to use the built-in webcam in your computer you can also opt for something more functional and high-quality. Though they can be a bit pricey, video cameras on a tripod work well and can really bring your online church service to the next level.
5 Types of Cameras to Use
A webcam is a camera that is connected to your computer. Most computers have some sort of webcam built in, but there are also external options you can connect through USB. Here are some options.
Streaming doesn't have to be a complicated high-tech process. It can be as simple as using your smartphone! With a smartphone, you will be able to have a pretty good stream quality. iPads also can work too!
Wireless cameras allow more movement and are easy to transport. Some wireless cameras can be controlled by an app and are relatively cheap.
While IP cameras are a little more complex and high-tech, their versatility allows so much flexibility. IP cameras connect through Ethernet and include power through it as well. This means you can run the IP camera 24/7. One complicated aspect of IP cameras is that it requires an encoder. These types of cameras are also pretty expensive.
If you want to use an IP camera for your virtual church service, check out the Panasonic AW-UE100W/K.
5. Professional Quality
Professional-quality cameras such as HDMI or SDI cameras give the best streaming quality. With these cameras you can change and upgrade lenses, zoom in, use a wide-angle focus, and so much more. While these cameras have a lot of features and flexibility, there is a learning process and some may find them very complicated to use.
Have a Good Internet Connection
For live virtual church services, a good internet connection is an absolute must. Don’t risk having glitches during your service. Prior to your online church service, test the internet speed using different services like: testmy.net. This site will show you two numbers that indicate how fast data can be sent (Upload speed) and how fast it takes to receive it (download speed).
To have a successful online church service, you should have an upload speed of at least 1 Mbps (Megabits per second) but the 2-5 speed range is much more reliable.
Don’t Forget the Microphone
Using the built-in microphone in your camera or computer is a great low-budget option. It also may be beneficial to purchase a microphone to help with the sound quality. For mounting on the camera, “Shotgun” mics are helpful. Using clip-on mics and hand-held microphones can work too. Using these mics during your online church service will enhance the audio quality of live music and speakers.
Where Traditional Churches And Online Churches Meet
When the topic of online church comes up, it seems like people like to immediately point out the differences between the two, causing the gap between online and in-person worship to grow further and further apart.
People like to see online church and in-person church as two completely different forms of worship rather than seeing the similarities and unity online church brings.
While there is no doubt some people do use online as an excuse to passively consume content, online church is just as impactful as in-person church and makes the word of God accessible to everyone.
To fully understand where traditional churches and online churches meet, you have to understand the meaning of church. While one definition is a literal brick-and-mortar building or a house of worship, the other definition is The Universal Church, Christians, mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:13:
“For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
This definition also goes hand in hand with The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus instructs:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
So, where does traditional and online church meet? In the mission, the mission to expand God’s kingdom
We are in a technological age. The internet is how we learn, communicate, and connect. Through the internet, we can engage with people all over the world and have meaningful connections. By holding online church services, we are leaning into the communication tools of our age and going out into the world to preach the Good News.
The disciples used the tools they had to spread the word of Christ, it is time for us to use ours.
Setting Up A Virtual Church Team
Though it may seem quiet when you’re sitting on the other side of a screen, there is a lot going on behind the scenes during an online church service. In fact, there is an entire church hospitality team working hard to bring people together in worship and community.
When starting a church online, you need consider your options when it comes to building a virtual church hospitality team.
The church hospitality team is able to create a welcoming experience for first-time visitors and anonymous guests, as well as regular attendees. They also help with general event management, announcements, and engagement.
Who Would Make a Good Church Hospitality Team Member?
Virtual church team members have the power to create a meaningful experience for attendees during any online church service. Keep in mind that hospitality team responsibilities include not only most of the technical aspects, but also facilitating conversation, community, and real life that is happening online. Greeting people is only the first step.
As you launch your church online start thinking about who you want on your hospitality team. Choose people who are not afraid to jump into a conversation with attendees. Look for someone who is willing to welcome people and also form a connection with them. Members of your hospitality team should be trustworthy and have a gift for forming fast relationships. I bet you already have some people in mind!
What Does an Event Look Like for a Church Hospitality Team Member?
The church hospitality team’s mission is always to make people feel welcomed, seen, and truly a part of the community. Whether it's someone's first time or their twentieth time, the hospitality team has the power to connect and impact each person’s life.
A successful event can take many different forms. Check out this guide for Altar Live to learn more about hospitality team best practices for your online church service.
Choosing The Right Church Live Streaming Platform
If you’re starting a church online, you have to choose the right church live streaming platform. While there is a plethora of video-conferencing software and live streaming platforms, how do you know which is the right platform for you? Sure, you can always use Facebook or Zoom, but is there anything better?
What if there was a live streaming service that understood the needs of church communities?
There is, and its name is Altar Live.
Altar Live is an online church platform designed for faith communities to stream and host interactive and engaging events and services. Our simple, intuitive platform gathers your people together online where they can worship together in watch parties, freely socialize at virtual tables together, and find private places to pray with each other.
With a church platform like Altar Live, anyone can easily create an engaging online church service that has the ability to bring people together regardless of location. The Altar Live team is honored to be able to provide video conferencing software, consulting & training for churches, reach every person on the other side of the screen, and create a community online.