As churches, we were launched into the online world as our buildings were closed during the covid pandemic. We now find ourselves with a couple of years experience and probably more questions than ever.
- Why are we online?
- What are we hoping to achieve?
- Who is this for?
- How do we know if it is working?
For me the first big questions is around engagement. How do we engage with people online and not just have viewers or listeners?
Church in person isn’t great at engagement either so rushing to replicate our services in the digital space might just amplify how little people engage with the ways we communicate. We do a lot of talking at or too people, but not so often with people. That needs to change.
Improve Your Content
There are some simple ways to improve you video and audio:
- use a tripod
- invest in a better microphone
- use more light
BUT… nothing you can do in terms of production will save poor content. We create great content all the time. The challenge is to use it well and in the right places to connect with people and help them to engage.
You can create brilliant video just using your phone!!!
Start a Podcast
You literally write a speech each week. In the real world that’s called a podcast. Just record it, upload it and reach a whole new group of people!!!
People I Listen To
There are some great people who are really grappling with where we are and how we can engage…
Carey Nieuwhof is one of my favourites. He’s talking about what it means to be and do church in a digital age. He has a weekly podcast on leadership and loads of great ideas, free tools and advice. You can sign up to his daily email too.
Brady Shearer at Pro Church Tools is doing some great work helping people to connect and challenging our assumptions about how we should communicate and who with. Watch his brilliant 7 Rules of Church Communication Strategy (better email!!!). Follow him on Instagram for brilliant tips and examples of great church social media content.
Tom Buck is the king of puns bringing understandable guides to getting your content online.
Think Media – Sean Cannell and his team have some brilliant guides to gear, content creation and strategy and are very sympathetic to the work of churches.
Gear I Love
For film… I’ve been using a Samsung Galaxy S10 then S22 phone for most of the past 2 years. I’ve now been able to get a Sony ZV-E10. It is a great and pretty simple to use camera built for filming and comes with a 16-50mm power zoom lens and a nice ‘blurry background’ button. I got a bundle that came with a Sony GP-VPT2BT Wireless Grip and Sony ECM-W2BT Wireless Microphone.
For sound… Rode have become my favourite supplier of all things audio! They have everything you will ever need to get great sound for your video or podcast.
My primary microphones are the Rode Videomic Go ii for filming.
I still use the Rode NT-USB mini a lot with my phone for filming and VoiceOver. It’s a USB mic so it plugs straight into your computer or phone if it has a USB C input. It gives studio quality audio for a pretty great price.
Rode Connect is a bit of software gives you loads of the same tools as the Rodecaster Pro and it works with the NT-USB mini!!! You can connect 4 mics to a laptop and create a podcast!
The Rodecaster Pro paired with some PodMics is the ultimate tool for recording professional quality audio. 4 mic channels, bluetooth, connect your commuter and sound pads for all your theme music and sound effects. It all records straight to an SD card.