A common mistake in digital strategy for churches is to take on too much too soon. Each church needs to start where it is and build its digital strategy from the ground up.
Where should your church start?
Take a look the Digital Maturity Model and figure out where your church is today. Then, simply work your way around the circle.
Before you buy a camera, master the art of audio. Start posting weekly sermons online that are organized, easy to find and high quality. You won’t be ready for video or streaming until you have this step down.
Once your audio is solid, then you can start thinking about video on demand. Invest in the right equipment and start experimenting by filming the weekend message and posting it on your website the day after.
Calvary Chapel in Sarasota, Florida, and The Cross church in Loganville, Georgia, are good examples of churches doing audio and on-demand video effectively. Their archives are easy to find and organized.
When a church has been successfully posting audio and video online and feels ready for the next step, it’s time to start live streaming the weekend service and other events. This is one of the best ways to engage your community and allow them to feel like they’re at church on the days they can’t be at church.
Victory Outreach Church of Oxnard, based in Oxnard, California, is a church of 700 members. Through live streaming their services, they are now reaching 4,000 people each weekend.
Over the top streaming, or “OTT,” is the next step after live stream. OTT simply takes your live stream feed to mediums like Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV. By adding your stream to these services, you’ll be able to reach an even broader audience.
Oak Hills Church in San Antonio has been able to take its live stream to places like Roku, where this multi-site community can share sermons live and in the archive.
After taking live stream OTT, your church is ready to use live stream on a more intimate level by streaming mid-week content, or integrated studies, for those who want to go deeper in their faith. This can be a video from the pastor about that week’s sermon or video content for small-group studies. The possibilities for using live stream during the week as a discipleship tool are endless.
North Coast Church in Vista, California, uses video streaming to keep their church members connected throughout the week. From announcements to encouraging short vignettes, integrated studies keep their church members and viewers engaged beyond the weekend.
Comprehensive online church is the ultimate in live stream technology for churches. Online church is a virtual church campus with 24/7 worship services, its own staff, and online chat capabilities. After mastering audio, video and live stream, some churches decide to take the leap to a full-time online church.
Life.Church in Oklahoma City is an excellent example of a church that has cycled through the digital maturity model with an active community at its online church, Life.Church Online. Life.Church Online has over 100,000 weekly online visitors and offers everything a physical church would without having to step foot through the church’s doors: worship, prayer, tithing, serving and even small groups.
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