12 Simple and Effective Virtual Church Ideas
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to change the way we live our lives — and how we worship. But how can you lead a congregation when you’re expected to self-quarantine for several weeks? As it turns out, there are countless virtual church ideas that can help in this endeavor.
We can’t hug, shake hands or share food; all the things people expect to do with fellow worshipers. But we can connect on a spiritual level, and all it requires is a little imagination and some careful planning. Here are a few virtual church ideas that should satisfy your congregation without putting the health of your worshipers at risk.
1. Use a Video Conference Software Package
Video conference software is more advanced than ever — and more accessible. If you have a modern smartphone, tablet or laptop computer, you can use an app such as Zoom or FaceTime to gather people together digitally.
Video conferencing apps are very easy to use; some allow up to 100 people to join a call at the same time. And if you pay a small subscription fee, you can take advantage of premium features such as the ability to create a unique URL for your virtual church.
All you need to do is gather the email addresses of your worshippers. You can send each person a link to download the software. And whenever you want to start a virtual service, all you need to do is click to invite.
If you have a larger congregation, a video streaming app such as YouTube might be more appropriate. You can give your sermon to as many people as you wish. They can, of course, share their thoughts with you via the comments section.
2. Drive-in Services
An increasing number of churches are offering drive-in services during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have the use of a parking lot, why not invite worshippers to park up and follow your sermons from the comfort of their vehicle? Churches are using outdoor stages and loudspeaker systems to spread the word in the open air.
3. Digital Connection Cards
If you like to keep in touch with your worshippers on a daily basis, digital connection cards could be very useful. They allow you to send an image and a message of your choice via email or a messaging service such as Whatsapp. This type of digital postcard can let your worshippers know that they’re always in your thoughts during this difficult time. Many pastors and priests are using digital connection cards to send a “message of the day.”
4. Digital Donations — a range of payment methods
All places of worship need to pay the bills, so raising funds can’t stop during the pandemic. But by utilizing a range of digital donation channels, you can make giving a quick and simple process for all your worshippers.
There are several donation tools on the market today. Facebook allows people to transfer money to other users in seconds. And PayPal offers several ways to add a payment function to a website. Or you could choose a dedicated donation app such as SecureGive. There are also ways to give via a text or at a kiosk.
5. Virtual Games Nights
An important role of any church is to bring its community together. In normal circumstances, services, cake sales, sports events and social events perform this role. But when people have to socially distance themselves from one another, the task becomes very difficult. One way to lift spirits is to host regular games nights using a video calling or conferencing app.
Virtual quizzes are perfect, and there are several apps that make them easy to organize. For example, the House Party app provides you with all the tools you need. Set a date and a time, and communicate it via email or through a direct messaging app. You can ask for donations before and after the event. You can even charge an entry fee to raise funds for your church.
6. Community Services
Any good church helps those in need at every opportunity. But when social distancing measures are keeping pastors apart from their worshippers, this becomes difficult. There are ways to help people in the virtual world, however. Oftentimes, just a friendly face on a cell phone is enough to help a person through a difficult day. Offer help and support using the wonders of modern technology, and no one in your congregation will feel alone.
7. Invitations via Social Media and Email
Before you can set up a virtual church, there’s a lot of hard work and administration to do. For example, you’ll need to compile a list of contact details. And before you can plan a service or a church event, you need to ensure people will attend. This is where email and social media becomes invaluable.
Send invitations to services and events via email where possible. But make sure you’re communicating details of virtual events via all your social media channels, too. Facebook and Twitter allow people to respond, so you can gauge how many people will be attending all your services.
Tip: Use the Facebook Event Manager to create each event. You can add photos, and ask people to confirm their attendance.
8. Create Content Every Day
There are various free tools on the Internet that allow you to become a content creator. Design apps and video creation software enable you to compose devotion plans, share Scripture, and generally spread the word of God. Sharing these messages in a highly visual way will make them more engaging — keeping your worshippers engaged with your church.
9. A Strict Schedule of Online Services
Now more than ever, we need structure and routine in our lives. Staying at home for several weeks can be somewhat disorienting. One day blends into the next, and time can pass a lot more slowly for some. Help people to organize their days by creating a strict and permanent schedule of virtual services. This way, all your worshippers will know exactly when to tune in via your preferred video software option.
Once you have a schedule in place, share your online services with a global streaming service such as Christian World Media. This gives your congregation easy and reliable access to your services, but it also widens your potential audience considerably.
10. Services at Different Times of the Day
Holding a church service at the same time every day is a great idea. But it means that a few people might miss out on what you have to say. For example, shift workers might not always be free during weekday evenings. To catch as many worshippers as possible, hold your services and other virtual events at various times throughout the week.
11. Online Bible Studies
It’s important to keep everyone engaged in their church throughout these trying times — particularly children and those who have just found God. Fortunately, a video conferencing app such as Zoom allows you to connect with groups in an interactive way. Schedule regular bible study sessions, and give attendees the opportunity to discuss ideas and thoughts. This could also be another giving opportunity for your worshippers.
12. Create Messaging Groups
A congregation is a family, and everyone within it needs to communicate as such. A simple way to facilitate daily communication is with a direct messaging app such as Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger. Think of this as an ongoing, virtual conversation between you and your congregation. It’s also a great way to fight loneliness — which many people are experiencing right now.
Staying engaged with your congregation is essential during this terrible pandemic. By embracing virtual technology, you can bring your church into the homes of all your worshipers.
Make the Most of these Virtual Church Ideas
Did you struggle to keep your congregation engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you still struggling? While these virtual church ideas can help bring services to your congregation, there’s so much more that you can do. Schedule a Discovery Call with us today to learn how we can help you increase giving in your ministry.