Virtual Fellowship Ideas For Church Streaming Services
Virtual fellowship ideas can be hard to come up with as Church streaming services may sometimes feel limited in how engaging they can be. However, any virtual church, with the right goals, engagement ideas, and tools can completely create a shift in how a church welcome may be received by new comers.
How Church Streaming Services Can Improve With More Engagement
Many churches struggle to see the numbers in their online services and events in the same way they do when hosting in-person.
But why is this? With online services, wouldn’t it be easier to join in from anywhere?
Convenience and accessibility are a real upside when it comes to virtual church. But in the same way that you need to create an interactive experience for your in-person attendees, this is just as true when it comes to engagement in your online community or live stream ministry.
How to Deepen Fellowship Engagement for Church Streaming Services
The Problem - What’s happening:
What are possible reasons that you may be seeing a lack of engagement? Here area few major ones that we've observed:
- Your church doesn’t have clear goals for its community
- Your church is having trouble thinking of ideas for fellowship or engagement
- Your church lacks the right tools or resources
The Solution - What to do:
Now you’ve recognized the challenges your community is facing. What should you do to fix them? Remembering the GET acronym, you’ll want to consider these three key factors to grow and maximize the effectiveness of your community fellowship.
How to have more engagement and fellowship:
- Goals: Pin point the goals for your community
- Engagement: Research, plan and implement ideas for engagement
- Tools: Research, test and invest in the right tools and resources
💡 Tip: Seeing a decline in attendance in your virtual church? These might be a few reasons why people aren’t coming to your online services.
1. Practical Goals For Your Digital Community
If you church doesn’t have clear goals for its community, it will be important to pin point these. You can begin by asking yourself key questions:
- What was the purpose of this ministry when it first began? Has that changed?
- What are goals that we have set before in the past? Why did we work toward them and what worked and what didn’t in helping us get there? Does the same apply now?
- In what areas do I hope to nurture this community? What areas do they need to be nurtured?
- Who is my audience currently?
- Where do I see a need?
- What changes need to be made in order to achieve the kind of growth we are looking for? What steps do we need to take to get there?
2. Virtual Fellowship Ideas for Online Engagement
How to increase online engagement for church:
How can you make live streaming church services really connect with your congregation? Instead of asking everyone to simply watch your stream like a movie, it’s important to think of ways to really engage with your community – regardless of where they may be locationally. Here are a few important things to think about as you come up with ideas:
- Consider what you’re doing in person… what’s working? How would you replicate this online?
If your church has a coffee hour after the Sunday service, why not do the same online? In platforms such as Altar Live, move members to the lobby tables to chit-chat and catch up over coffee.
- How might you utilize special interactive features to encourage engagement within the service?
- It may be easier to consider engagement in your online church ministry in three key aspects:
- Hosting Events + Activities: Events and activities create more of an outreach approach. They have the potential to reach the broader community, involving regular members of your church as well as new comers.
- Creating Community: Nurturing community involves making individual members and families feel a part of the church. This is the more personal welcoming work that your church does.
- Engaging During Service: : A weekly online service is central for most churches and is the core of many digital ministries. Church streaming services allow you to broadcast church service, but creating an environment where attendees can interact and be participants in your service is another thing altogether.
Virtual Fellowship Ideas For Live Stream Ministries
An important step is to come up with ideas for online events that encourage fellowship. Small group meeting and church fellowship events can require a lot of creativity, thinking and planning. Here are a few examples to get you started:
A virtual welcome party or holiday party
Whether it's holiday games or a gingerbread house making competition, an online holiday party is great way to deepen fellowship and spread holiday cheer! Be sure to download our free Christmas Digital Community Engagement Guide for over 20+ fellowship ideas for the holidays!
📝 FREE RESOURCE: Download the 2022 Digital Community Christmas Guide for fun holiday fellowship ideas!
Hosting a next steps class
Invite new comers and church visitors to join in a next steps class! This is a great way for those new to the community to get plugged in, get involved and familiarize themselves with what it could look like to make your virtual church their church home.
Host a church wide worship night! Or for further fellowship and engagement, in meeting rooms, have each member pick a song for a small group worship night. Let each take turns explaining why they chose their song and why it resonates with their faith journey, or how it helps them understand God.
A movie night can be a great way to give a church welcome to new friends through a fun and casual event! Watch a movie together in the Auditorium! For a larger live streaming event, have discussion questions throughout the movie and allow event attendees to discuss with those sitting in their row. Or, after the movie is finished, use small group meeting rooms for discussion!
Video series Bible study
A guided video bible study or book study is perfect to engage with online! Whether its church wide or in small groups, being able to watch and discuss together in meetings or in rows allows attendees to engage with the content (as well as each other!) with ease.
Hosting A Virtual Church Welcome
Just like you take time to welcome new visitors to your church in-person, hosting a virtual church welcome is key to making first timers feel at home. The atmosphere of an online church service shapes someone’s first visit – and first impressions – to your virtual church. Welcome scripts for virtual church can set the tone of your community's online worship experience. Use these church welcome script examples as a launching board to get started!
Hosting a Welcome Party
- How to host an online church welcome party: In a meeting room, invite those new to your community for a half-hour of mingling, games and getting to know your church community.
- What it does: Hosting a welcome party for all newcomers allows those new to your community to feel seen and welcome in a fun way! Celebrate them through this little event.
A Church welcome message example:
[In an announcement or in the chat]
For all those new to our church, you’re invited to our Church welcome party next Sunday, November 5th after the service! We will begin at 1 pm, fellowship together, answer any questions you may have, and get to know each other better! We hope to meet you and welcome you to make Faith Community Virtual Church your church home!
Using welcome messages in chat
How to use church welcome messages: In your service, designate hosts or members of the hospitality team to send personal messages to new comers, welcoming them to the service and the community!
What it does: A quick message upon arrival can make attendees feel seen and welcome to join the community. This offers those new to your church an opportunity to have any of their questions answered and have more personal interactions with the community as they get to know your church more.
A Church welcome message example:
Welcome to Faith Community Virtual Church! On behalf of FCVC I wanted to reach out and welcome you to our church home. Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll be more than happy to help you out!
Having a Virtual Welcome Table
How to use a virtual welcome table: Each week, after the service, invite first time visitors to swing by a virtual welcome table in the lobby after the service! Set up a virtual welcome table in Altar Live by designating a table in the Lobby for first time visitors! Have a member of the hospitality team stationed there ready to welcome first-timers and answer any questions.
What it does: A welcome table gives new attendees a place to drop by to get more information about your church, ask questions and claim their welcome gift without any pressure.
A Church welcome message example:
If it’s your first time visiting us, be sure to swing by the Welcome Table in the virtual lobby after the service!
Offering a Welcome Gift
How to give a virtual church welcome gift: Who says welcome gifts can only occur if you attend in-person? You might consider gifting a “coffee on us” or a free copy of an eBook.
What it does: Just like in person, a welcome gift can be nice gesture for new comers. They can also act as an incentive for further interaction with your church hospitality team or church welcome team.
A Church welcome message example:
If it’s your first time here with us, we’d like to offer you a free gift. For for a $5 voucher to Dunkin' or Starbucks, swing by the welcome table in the lobby after the service and say hello! Megan from the Welcome Team will be there, ready to any questions you may have about Faith Community Virtual Church and our upcoming events!
How to give a meeting invitation: Send a quick message in the chat or in an email! You can easily create a meeting room in Altar Live to get this set up!
What it does: To give a church welcome that’s personal and meaningful, invite newcomers to meet with the pastor or church leadership! This can be a way to not only personally welcome but to care for and nurture new comers, welcoming them to be a part of your church family.
A Church welcome message example:
It’s been so nice to have you join us these past three weeks! We’d love to extend a proper welcome and spend some time getting to know you and praying for you and your family, seeing how our church family might best meet you! Let me know if you would be open to a meeting next Sunday at 1pm?
Ways To Host Engaging Church Streaming Services
How to structure service for your virtual church
Structuring an online church service can be crucial to fostering engagement. Using event and meeting templates or outlining the order of the online service with the corresponding digital elements can give you an easy overview of how you may want to organize the online church service for your virtual church.
How to maintain the quality of communal worship online
Whether its hymns, a worship band, recitation or other liturgies, being able to engage communally in this kind of worship involves a type of recognizing its importance and reverence.
Maintaining video and audio quality during your Church livestream services can take away any distraction that comes with using video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Google Meet. Platforms like Altar Live allow you to maintain audio and video quality.
How to Make Online Sermons Engaging
Know and speak to your audience
It can make you feel a bit out of place listening to a sermon that addresses everyone but you, or speaks to a very different context or time than you find yourself in. That’s why it’s so important to understand who you’re speaking to.
Even the chat, polls and interactive elements should speak into the context that the audience finds themselves in too. Knowing who you’re connecting with is key to deepening fellowship not only with the preacher and the audience, but the amongst the audience members too. This is how a sense of belonging begins to be fostered.
Make it interactive
Using polls and announcements in your service, you can create a lively environment. These interactive elements such as polls and announcements involve attendees in the content of the message allowing them to engage with the preacher and one another in real time while actively listening to the sermon.
Tell a story
Just like in any message, telling a story is a great way to create an illustration that speaks to the audience. Remember it’s not all flashing lights and fancy digital techniques. The heart of any virtual church is still human connection and fellowship. And stories speak to the heart of the human experience.
The Follow up
How to follow up with new visitors at church
- Provide ways to connect: Share your contact info and social media at the end of services, events and activities
- Send a Church Welcome letter: Sending a church welcome letter provides a personal and thoughtful touch! Here's how to write an engaging church welcome letter.
- Track Analytics: Use a church metrics dashboard to track church visitors and their attendance
🛠 Try it: Test out the Church metrics Dashboard
3. The Right Tools for Online Church Engagement
Out of all the Church streaming services out there you may be looking at for your live stream ministry or virtual church, be sure to look closely to how well the platform might allow you to foster engagement in the ways we’ve discussed. The design of a platform or live streaming software can be extremely pivotal in determining how you might maximize engagement in your virtual church. Live stream ministry, after all, shouldn’t just be watching a weekly episode of a virtual church TV series – it’s fellowship.
💡 Tip: Do your homework! Make sure to spend time looking into the top church live stream options of 2023 before settling on one.
The Best Streaming Platform For Virtual Church
With this in mind, platforms such as Altar Live are designed to cultivate this type of virtual community connection. From lobbies to rows, having real, personal and face to face engagement during Church live stream services can be effortless on the Altar platform.
Especially when thinking of larger Sunday service events such as planning for Easter or Christmas service, there can be a lot of moving parts as well as a need for deeper fellowship and engagement to welcome church visitors into your community.
Whether it’s mingling in the lobby for fellowship, interacting with the sermon during the service, or discussing during a movie night, a platform like Altar Live has built in features that enable community fellowship on a deeper level while not compromising the the quality of your Church’s live stream service.