With the current COVID-19 health precautions many churches are moving to online services. One of the fastest and easiest ways to do this is through Life Church's FREE Church Online Platform. Below is a blogpost from them that outlines how to get started THIS weekend. The original blog post can be found here.
If you’ve been thinking about starting online church services for a while, or you’re feeling the pressure to launch quickly—think of this as your Church Online Platform starter kit.
Follow these steps to quickly launch a unique online experience for your church and start reaching people for Christ no matter where they are.
Step 1: Sign up for the Church Online Platform. This is the same platform Life.Church uses for their Church Online services, and they give it away and provide operating and tech support completely for free to any church in the world.
Step 2: Set up and customize your Church Online Platform account. Once you’re signed up, you’ll walk through selecting a domain, adding your logo and colors to match your branding, and hooking up links to important sites and tools.
Step 3: Choose a streaming provider. A streaming provider hosts your video content and encodes it into a format ready for the web. Once you’ve set up your streaming provider, you’ll be able to stream all of your video content seamlessly through the Church Online Platform. You can see a list of providers here and others are available with a quick search online.
Once your streaming provider is in place, you can add service times, video content, and other content like message notes to the platform admin.
Step 4: Choose a service style and gear. The platform can stream a prerecorded service (simulated live) or it can stream a live service. Choose which one, or what combo of both, will work best for your church, and gather the appropriate camera, editing software, etc. necessary. You can find lots of tricks, tips, and support in the online ministry Facebook Group Online + Digital Church Leaders.
Step 5: Recruit and train your chat hosts. There are people in your church who would love the opportunity to be a part of your global online ministry through church online. Share the vision with them and provide them with training that can set them up for success on their first day connecting with people that come to your church. Here are the Life.Church Church Online Host training resources you can use for reference. There you’ll find useful trainings such as Excellent Online Communication, Leading Someone Through the Salvation Prayer, Live Prayer Training, Chat Host Training, and more!
Step 6: Make a plan for following up. Think through how your church already does followup and formulate a plan to do the same for your online guests. Find ways to continue someone’s exposure to your church past the time they’re in service. Social media and email make great tools for following up.
Step 7: Communicate to your church. Before your first church online service, let your church know it’s coming! Have them invite their friends and family—they can even invite loved ones who don’t live near your physical church. Cast vision to your church that online church is a powerful tool that God has given us to meet people right where they are and no matter what they’re going through.
Step 8: Plan for the long-term. As your online presence grows and your church reaches more people, start connecting people with online small groups that will help them grow in Christ and grow in community.
Learn even more about the different facets of online ministry with these free Open Network training videos:
- Leveraging Facebook Groups for Church Online
- Church Online Volunteers and Hosts
- Church Online: Different Lobby, Same Ministry
- and more.
Starting an online church ministry is possible. And, with Church Online Platform, it’s free. The platform team at Life.Church is working hard to remove every possible barrier or excuse you might be encountering in setting up online church because it’s a tool that can save lives.
If you’re spinning up online services quickly or you’ve been thinking for years about stepping into this unfamiliar technical opportunity, we’d encourage you—do it. God has placed you in this specific time and armed your church with the technological tools of today for a reason: to draw more people to Himself.