The online experience, and the demand for it, is not going away after we move through the COVID-19 pandemic. Many smaller churches shifted to an online gathering when they could not meet in-person. In our context, we have decided that we will keep our online experience in place permanently! We have engaged so many new families because they can connect with us digitally. Our spiritual family can now invite others to join our House Church experience before they attend physically. I am now pleading with smaller churches, those under 250 in attendance, to not abandon creating a weekly online experience. Here is how we have tackled this issue and one way you can as a church.
- We intentionally abandoned the idea of live-streaming our in-person gathering. // We know we can provide a better product if we prerecord our experience. We also don’t have to worry about one more thing on Sundays with our in-person gatherings. The in-person and digital experience should be different because they are experienced in different enviroinments. We were able to have an excellent setup for an online experience we are proud of for less than 3,000 dollars! Now we can create content for Sundays and many other things that we will help our church.
- We created a filming studio to control the lighting. // Lighting is such a huge issue when you are filming. Creating a small room to film helps raise the quality and allows you to leave things ready to record. (with lighting and equipment, find someone in your community that can teach you about the basics!)
- We invested in some video, sound, and lighting equipment. // We use a 4K DSLR Camera, a lense to give us a nice look behind who we are filming, a simple audio recorder that allows us to record up to 2 people at the same time through a lapel mic, quality LED lighting, and a simple background we built and pieced together. We edit our videos on Final Cut X on a Macbook Pro. Make sure when you get a camera, buy one that films long segments at a time; many less expensive cameras will stop after 12 minutes due to heat. Invest in the camera and the lens. It will pay off!
- We record our online experience on Thursday of each week and edit it for a quality experience. // We focus our experience on the teaching so our communicators are ready to teach on Thursday so we can edit and upload everything online.
- We create an at-home guide to make worship suggestions and provide some questions to go deeper if watching with others. // We release the experience on our website and Facebook each Sunday morning. We also send a direct email to everyone connected to our church with the video and a House Church guide to give guidance on a worship song for the morning and four questions to use personally or with others in a group.
You can go and check out our House Church experience here. Below are a few pictures of the studio we created to help give you an idea, this is a small room that was not being used. Check this out!