One of the greatest challenges for online pastors is to create and maintain an online experience that is engaging.
I believe we can all agree that our goal is not for the online church attendees to leave the worship experience talking about how great the production was. Rather, we hope our services are so spiritually engaging that people leave with a sense of connection with God greater than when they came in.
Broadcast quality and special elements are definitely part of that experience, but they are not the main thing. Instead, just like everything else in a worship service, online environments need to contribute to substance and content. It should not be a distraction. It should fit seamlessly into the whole environment of your church’s worship experience.
When it comes to broadcasting weekend worship, I’ve learned one formula that works really well: keep it simple and make it excellent. A simple design has a great deal of power and impact when it is presented with excellence. So, during our regular weekend services, we focus more on excellence instead of how complex, different, and fresh everything is.
When the focus is content, people’s lives are impacted by the message of each song, special element, video and sermon. When good content is absent, we then look for artificial ways to fill the gap with new looks and striking elements. A simple exercise is to watch a TV show with your team and ask them to look for content delivery, transitions and open and close in the broadcast context.
Every weekend, we should be very intentional about everything we bring to our online church. We must pay more attention to the weekend experience as a broadcast and not just a streaming platform, because the difference between them could determine the level of engagement.
Every broadcast, is an opportunity to tell a story, but the way the audience will receive it is not the same as if they were sitting in your church chairs. Here are few things to consider as you get ready to put your next service together:
- Open Elements: When starting your broadcast, give your audience something to look for. Introduce the overall theme for the day without giving away the end of the story. By introducing the story, even if they live 200 miles away, they sense that they have a place to go by staying all the way to the end.
- Words: The words used on the broadcast should paint a clear picture, and I mean, I want them to see the image in my mind as words are coming through the screen.
- Audio before image: What people hear is more important that what they will see. Focus on audio clarity and don’t let image get in the way of good content.
These simple steps can create a big impact in your online weekend experiences, creating constant quality from one week to another. By keeping it simple, you will allow the focus to stay on the most important element, content. As a result, you will have a greater chance to achieve your goal of leading people to Christ, and they will grow closer to God through a service done with intentional simple elements that are delivered with excellence.