Churches around the world are facing an unprecedented situation. While our methods must change, it’s imperative that we maintain loving Christian community in this time of Coronavirus quarantine.
The good news is that we have amazing technology at our fingerprints. You can do practically everything your ministry requires, except physically lay hands on the sick, without ever being in the same room with anyone.
With a little experimentation, I think you’ll find that it’s all much easier to use than you anticipated.
Here’s a list of some simple technologies that every church or non-profit organization can use to stay in touch with the people you minister to. This may seem simple to you, but there are lots of churches for which this is all brand new territory.
Even if you’re not “in ministry,” these tools will still work for you. If you follow Jesus, you are part of a royal priesthood, and it’s more important than ever that you be the hands and feet of Jesus to your friends and neighbors.
Whether you’re an official minister or a lay disciple, I think you’ll find that this present crisis opens the doors for some new ways of communicating and being the church. I wouldn’t be surprised if you decide to keep some of these doors open permanently, long after the Coronavirus situation is resolved. Sometimes we need a little push forward.
Live Video – If you’re not already connecting with your friends or congregation through Facebook Live, now is a good time to start. You can also broadcast live on Instagram, YouTube, and many other platforms.
Producing video is hard, but live video is easy. Audiences connect with the content, and their expectations for the production quality are very low. If you have a webcam on your laptop, you’re ready.
You can seriously upgrade the quality of your broadcast with a high quality external web cam, which will probably run you less than $60.
Try it, you’ll be surprised at how simple it is and the kind of response that you get. Keep your videos short and upbeat.
If you’d like to simultaneously broadcast to multiple platforms, there is software available that makes that super easy. Check out Wirecast (expensive but tons of cool features) or Restream.io (simple and free).
Zoom – Zoom will allow you to meet with people face to face. It can even handle large groups. The advantage of Zoom is that all of the participants can have their own audio and video feed, so they’ll be able to interact with the presenter and with each other.
The technology is nearly flawless, and for many applications, it’s as good as meeting in person. This is a suitable replacement for staff meetings, small groups, or prayer meetings. Users can login on a phone, tablet, or computer.
You can also do one-way broadcasts that you want to be protected from the public. For instance, if you want to teach a class for a private group, only individuals with the link will be able to login.
You can do a ton with the free version. But if you do want premium features, the monthly subscription is fairly inexpensive.
Like with Facebook Live, the hardware you already have your computer is probably fine. But if you want to invest in an external web camera or microphone, you can get a pretty good upgrade for a fairly reasonable price.
Join.me is another option that accomplishes basically the same functions.
VOXER – Voxer is a voice messaging app that works great for teams. Users can access the free app with an Android device, iPhone, or even on the web.
Voxer allows you to leave instant voice messages for everyone else on the chat. Users can listen to messages live, or listen and respond later. Quarantine or not, it’s a great way to maintain running dialogue with your team to keep ideas flowing. It also works great for ongoing prayer support.
Learn more about Voxer here or find it on Google Play or the app store.
Every once in a while, the app can be a little glitchy, so I wouldn’t use it for mission-critical communications. But it’s a great resource for running dialogue when you can’t be in the same space as your team.
Voxer also works great for checking in with individuals. Phone calls can sometimes be difficult to coordinate, but Voxer allows each party to respond as they’re able.
This is an exciting time for the Kingdom of God. We have so much technology at our fingerprints, and we’ve been thrust into a position where we have no choice but to use it. These technologies will help us not just to tread water through the Coronvirus situation, but will actually push us forward into some new ministry areas.
I’m excited to see the ways that new methods of connecting permeate our Christian culture and outlast this present crisis.
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