Ideas for running virtual church

David Beards is a member at Maylands-Mt Lawley Uniting Church who works professionally to provide communications solutions. He shares some great information for congregations moving worship services into the online space.

Sunday 22 March at Maylands-Mt Lawley Uniting Church will be remembered as a memorable service.

With the smell of bleach and hand sanitiser in the air, the congregation gathered in the hall for the last time for a while. We spaced out the chairs, our music team played, and Rev Steve Francis, Moderator of the Uniting Church WA, gave a message on ‘resilience’.

We had 32 people in the room (well within the four square metre limit which was required at the time), and we had three join church via computer, with another three dialed in via phone. People joined remotely via WebEx.

During the announcements, we practiced how to join ‘virtual church’ to get ready for the next week. For those with a landline phone it is as simple as dialing a Perth local number, entering a nine digit code, and pressing # (it is literally that easy!).  For those with a computer or smartphone, you join Webex by clicking on a link or downloading the app ‘Cisco Webex Meetings’.

This week we are having virtual church. The worship leader will be at their home, the Bible reader at their home, and a musician will play the piano at their home.  We will also open up the call so people can share stories from their past week, and maybe offer a prayer as a group.  People can join church in their pyjamas (unless they want to go on video). How good is that!

We are aiming to run Bible studies, friendship groups, and church council meetings over Webex also.

There are many options to meet remotely. Here are 3 easy ones:

www.webex.com

  • Provides a free account, up to 100 participants per session, sessions can last up to 24 hours
  • Share video, PowerPoints, and audio
  • Sessions can be recorded
  • It provides a local Perth phone number so people can join for the cost of a local call in Perth. People just need to dial in – no computer needed
  • People can also join via computer or smartphone apps for the full experience
  • The host can mute everyone on the call and control who gets to speak (eg the preacher, Bible reader, musician etc)
  • Paid subscriptions are available to provide up to 3 000 participants per session.

Zoom.us

  • Provides a free account, up to 100 participants per session, but sessions are limited to 40 minutes
  • Share video, PowerPoints, and audio
  • The dial-in number is a national number (the 08 number is an Adelaide number). It is the cost of a national call, people just need to dial in – no computer needed
  • People can also join via computer/smartphone apps for the full experience
  • The host can mute everyone on the call and control who gets to speak (eg the preacher, Bible reader, musician etc)
  • Paid subscriptions are available to provide up to 10 000 participants per session, and other features such as recording.

Facebook Streaming:

  • Use your church Facebook account to stream your service (eg from your minister’s laptop or smartphone).  This is more of a ‘broadcast’ and you can use Facebook features to interact with people.

David Beards is offering free advice to congregations who want to meet remotely. Contact him at mateymate@hotmail.com or on 0409 203 483.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s