Many of our churches have developed a Digital presence over 2020/21. Whether streaming the Sunday service, going online for Morning and Evening Prayer (and Compline proving a popular option too), Zoom Bible studies and much more people have been very creative. As churches re-open many churches are planning a ‘Hybrid’ model, combining physical and digital presence.

Not everyone has the capability or the people to do this but as we move forward into our new Deanery Partnerships it is good to think what part digital will play in our presence and our mission. This page is designed to give you some pointers to the vast amount of material that is available to help us in our thinking. If you have found any other sites that have helped you please let us know so we can share them.

Getting started/moving on

If you haven’t yet read the ‘Everybody Welcome’ documents produced by Durham University they are a good place to start your reflections. They include lots of ideas and experience. Although the reports were written early in the Pandemic they include many ideas and helpful suggestions.

Up to date advice and information on all things digital in relation to church can be found on the Digital Labs page of the Church of England web site. They have a new page bringing together lots of advice over what they are describing as 'Online and Onsite' services (i.e. Hybrid church). They produce a weekly blog and have how-to guides for churches around maintaining a good digital and online presence. They also offer training on topics such as creating a Facebook group, copywriting for social media, or how to livestream a service from your church building. There is also information on all the legalities such as Streaming Licenses.

A helping hand

There is much we can learn from each other. You can get going with Livestreaming from as little as £500. Have a look at these examples from some of our churches in Lincoln, Claypole, Long Bennington, South Lafford, Welton and Dunholm and Grimsby. Each of these projects was supported by a grant from the Transformation Fund, which in some cases covered the entire costs of the equipment.

There are various ways to set up broadcasting from multiple sources, live and recorded such as StreamYard https://streamyard.com (enables to steam live to Facebook and you tube from your Browser) and OBS Studio https://obsproject.com (open source software for video recording and live streaming for Windows, Mac or Linux). All Saints, Gainsborough has developed a multi-camera set up simply using Zoom. This document contains full details of their system, the technical matters and costs.

Other useful sites:

Bryony Taylor – a Vicar of two rural churches in Derbyshire with a background in media (the author of ‘More TV Vicar’ who blogs on digital on the small scale. This site has some very useful ‘how to’ videos on things such as Facebook Live, WhatsApp and podcasts. 

iSingPOP - a singing, performing, and resourcing project that helps children and families engage in Collective Worship in school, church, and at home. A good source of songs.

Worship for Everyone (Nick and Becky Drake) – another source of great songs, they aim to write material that works with children and fit within the wider context and style of contemporary worship songs.

A whole suite of guides produced by the URC on everything from Livestreaming, digital discipleship, online and contactless giving and social media – and much more

Further advice and help

 We now have an Online Church Advisory Group who can provide advice and support. If you have any questions you would like us to look at, suggestions for how we can best support you in this area or good sites to recommend please get in touch. E-mail Richard Steel ([email protected]) or phone him on 07720 740955.

[Image: Photo by Samantha Borges on Unsplash]