Many churches are looking at technology for ways to connect other than face to face, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that members in our congregations vary in their access to and use of technology. Many older people have limited experience with more recent or complex solutions. so start by keeping it simple.
Guidelines for Safe Online/Digital Ministry – VicTas Synod
Here are some suggestions. For assistance contact Craig Mitchell – firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Use the telephone
A combination of phone contact, regular mail and dropping stuff at people’s homes is the easiest and best way to keep in touch. Personal is always best.
2. Use email
Most churches have an email list these days, so use more regular emails supplemented by regular mail for people not on email.
Your telephone company can set up teleconferencing for you. Information from Telstra is here. You can use a smartphone to have five people in a call. See a how-to-guide for the iPhone here. You can also use Zoom for teleconferencing – see below.
Before you go any further, think about what you can put on your website. You will need to change or update what it says about your gatherings. You can also post additional worship resources there, and anything else that you feel people need at this time. Perhaps make a Faith@Home section to which you can add some resources or links from other people.
5. Videoconferencing with Zoom
You can certainly hold meetings using videoconferencing. While there are a range of solutions, including Churchonline.com, it is clear that Zoom is quite prevalent and one of the easiest to use and set up.
- It is free to sign up
- It is free to join a meeting
- You can host a meeting for free for 45 mins
- If you want to host longer meetings you will need a paid subscription. Synod offers a great deal. If you plan on using Zoom frequently and/or require full functionality, Synod Ministries and Operations along with other Synods have negotiated with Zoom to purchase a bulk deal, providing Zoom licences for a cost of just $7.93 per month.
- The host needs a computer with a camera and audio input. A headset with earphones and a microphone is recommended.
- Viewers who want to watch also need a computer with a camera and audio input, however you can also provide the option of people using the telephone to dial in and listen for the cost of a local call.
Kelly Skilton from Murrumbeena UC has made an excellent “How To” sheet here.
The VicTas UCA Youth team have made an extensive list of introductory resources here – you DON’T need them all!
The Synod has negotiated a discount Zoom deal for churches – You can now obtain a licence for just $7.95 a month. If your presbytery or congregation is interested, contact Shweta Paliwal with the number of licences required, and your contact information (including email address).
How to Use Zoom – a series of short videos from Virginia Theological Seminary
Poor Zoom Sound with Music? – read this
How to share music from your computer in Zoom – such as from a Youtube Clip or audio program
Setting up a Zoom Meeting to include toll-free dial in capacity by phone.
You will need a Zoom Pro account to do this.
- Go to “My account” on the Zoom.us web site.
- Schedule a meeting
- You have the option of making the meeting by computer audio only, telephone only, or both.
- If you choose telephone only or both you will be given the default option of dialing from United States of America.
- Choose the edit feature to change this to Australia toll-free numbers.
- Save the meeting details.
- Copy the invitation to get the details of the meeting to send out, including time, URL to click on, dial by location, meeting ID and password if set. There are three Australian numbers given:
+61 8 7150 1149 Australia
+61 2 8015 6011 Australia
+61 3 7018 2005 Australia
The invitation provides a one-tap number for mobile phones, which includes the meeting number and password all in one. Otherwise, there are instructions for people to follow.
How to Live Stream from Zoom to Facebook – a tutorial by Rev Will Nicholas
6. Putting Worship Services Online
So this can be super-easy or super complicated.
b. Film your service before Sunday (see video tutorial below)
Create a Video Channel for your Church on Youtube.
Upload the Video to Youtube or another hosting service like Vimeo.
Embed the Video link in your website.
c. Use a video camera through a computer to broadcast to Youtube Live.
Here’s a link to Youtube information. Also see the video below.
d. Host a smaller group on Zoom. Here’s Frankston Uniting Church having a worship time on Zoom.
Here’s a great tutorial from Kieran Skariah, a Melbourne Pastor. It covers Youtube Videos, Twitch (which is a communication platform) is a step too far for most people, but there are a couple of good tips about audio and lights from 14:30.
Karl Faase provides seven hints for speaking to camera.
For computer-generated music, go to Rev Wayne McHugh’s MyMidi website.
You need copyright permission for electronic distribution of text or music that someone else has created. Yes. Why? Because video is electronic reproduction.
For music you will need a CCLI streaming licence or OneLicense podcast/streaming licence. Both licensing companies are providing discounts during the COVID-19 crisis. Music not covered by them you will need to contact the publisher or author.
“Stream, Streaming – The digital transmission of a Song in such a manner that: a) the audio or visual aspect of the Song is rendered simultaneously with its transmission; and b) such transmission does not result in the creation of a residual or fixed copy of the Song so transmitted and so that the Song so transmitted is not able to be captured, saved, copied, stored or otherwise reproduced, distributed or retransmitted in any manner by any means whatsoever.”
For regular music outside of worship, you need to contact APRAAMCOS
If you want to use a childrens’ book online with pictures you will need the permission of the publisher.