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4 Tips for Maximizing Online Worship During COVID Blog Feature
Marian V. Liautaud

By: Marian V. Liautaud on August 07, 2020

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4 Tips for Maximizing Online Worship During COVID

church facilities | Church Culture | Relaunch Church | Rapid Relaunch

During COVID, the opportunities for ministry impact have increased along with the complexities of how to offer an engaging and safe worship experience. Church leaders have wrestled with what to offer and how to offer it. 

How can you deliver high-impact, engaging worship services in the midst of constantly changing circumstances? How do you incorporate additional campuses if you’re a multisite church? How can you make the most of your facility during a time of varying usage?



Need tips on how to amp up your online worship?

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Recently, Aspen Group hosted What’s Next: Relaunching Worship Ministry, a webinar with Jeff Boriss, Creative Arts Catalyst, and Eric Bramlett, Creative Arts Director, for Community Christian Church (COMMUNITY), a multisite church in Illinois.

Like many churches, COMMUNITY has been adaptive and innovative while staying focused on its mission of “helping people find their way back to God.” While they wouldn’t profess it’s been easy, they have prioritized staying nimble and approaching ministry with purpose and creativity.

Jeff shares a phrase their team initially rallied around: Where fear sees a crisis, faith sees an opportunity. “That has been a driving ethos for our staff team through this whole thing. A lot of us are challenged. It's okay. People are scared. This is something brand new. But, what are some ways that we could really see opportunities...that may exist for the first time?”

Jeff and Eric share a few practical takeaways:

Use a playbook to help you pivot

Have several options to consider but not sure where you’ll land? COMMUNITY worked to stay agile by anticipating and planning for various scenarios. “When we were first communicating to the staff and the church at large, we tried to communicate that this season is going to be about having a set of plays prepared in a playbook,” says Eric. “We may not use all of them. We may not use any of them, but we're ready. We want to be as ready as we can be for the possibilities. Then, based on where we see ourselves, what we feel like God is telling us, and wise counsel from others, we can decide which play to run.”

Adapt to online while staying true to worship goals

Even if churches are offering in-person worship, many have made long-term commitments to online services. Jeff points out that for years their worship goals have included two things: to help people own their spirituality and to create low-barrier environments for attending worship.

“COVID has done both of those things for us. It simultaneously forced people to own their spiritual journey. But it's also lowered the bar completely for being an active part of our community. To attend worship, you don't even have to leave your house anymore.”

          • Maximize the online platform: “They acknowledge the tighter time constraints to keep online services sustainable, so the team honed in on what they believe is the essence of a celebration experience—more than music and a message, it includes a digital lobby before and after services, opportunities to take next steps online, outreach, and offering.

          • Highlight your mission in multiple ways: "Giving back to God has never felt more immediate and powerful,” says Eric. “We’re able to communicate the way the church is moving and the way in which we're on mission in dramatically different ways.”

          • Every moment is pastoral: Each moment is intentional, and they encourage those on camera to visualize someone specific with whom they’re communicating. “We’ve tried to communicate to our teaching pastors and hosts that every moment is a pastoral moment,” says Eric. There's a lot of information to communicate. Each host has a responsibility to be pastoral in those announcements–to understand that by communicating effectively, someone, somewhere is going to text for prayer or talk to someone about something that is going on in their life."

Provide creative consistency for multisites

This season can present unique challenges for multisite churches. While COMMUNITY is currently meeting online for worship, the team was deliberate about representing various campuses, but initially, the tactics were challenging. “It wasn't practical for every teacher at every location to get a rep. You would have very little continuity with your experience, and over three months, you wouldn’t see the same teacher. There were tough decisions we had to make along those lines,” says Eric.

Now, they are incorporating campus pastors into visible roles with the online community, like community life hosts who share ministry updates and opportunities. Or in July, they created a fun quiz show, featuring staff members that would be recognizable to those from different campuses.

Envision new possibilities in your facilitycommunity-christian-yellowbox-exterior

Your facility may have been built with specific activities in mind, but what could it be? Most of COMMUNITY’s content is filmed at their distinct Yellow Box facility, but they have started to look at their campus in a new light.

Eric shares, “In the beginning, our teaching was still on our auditorium stage. In our last series on emotionally healthy relationships, we had the opportunity to partner with our amazing facilities teams, who were inspired. We brainstormed and developed a set for our teaching with an entire room that was a kid's room downstairs. It was large enough to build two big walls and have a living room environment for the series about the relationships taking place in your living room. It was connected to our big idea and worked well. We’ve been able to incorporate the building in everything that we're doing. We went from having one palette to having the whole building as a palette.

community-christian-yellowbox-lobby

“To Aspen’s credit, because of all the time and intentionality that was spent designing the lobby and our signage, we've been able to use those as intentional backdrops. Previously on Sunday, we had the stage. But now, we can film our hosts in front of our core values that are printed in the lobby as a way to reinforce them without saying them. It’s fun to realize that we’ve got this whole building we can play with.”

Eric and Jeff also share that the church has offered onsite and online initiatives to meet community needs through food donation and blood drives. Learn more about their outreach at communitychristian.org/cares.

We encourage you to keep collaborating in new ways and reimagine how your church can live out its mission in a way that truly transforms lives.

 

About Marian V. Liautaud

Marian joined the Aspen team in 2014 as Director of Marketing. She shares stories about how Aspen designs, builds, and furnishes space for ministry impact.