Example 1: Pre-recorded (USA)
Here’s the layout of the service
- Informative countdown, with visual demonstrations of filling out digital connect card, and other desired actions for viewers to take.
- Creative greeting by ladies, who converse with each other.
- If the hosts are the same each week, this builds community and consistency.
- They speak to viewers as welcome guests and friends coming to their home.
- The first speaker asks for interaction within first 30 seconds. (thumbs up (“Like”) for “Jim and Judy’s cookies and coffee”) Within 4 minutes, they ask viewers to answer “What are you missing right now?” They invite viewers to take red ribbons in prayer. They invite all to post prayer requests, and to share the video, and visitors to post “New” in comments. (with words reinforcing this on the screen)
- They personally connect with people in both positive memories (cookies) and disappointments (missing 16 b-day party).
- Worship team is seen up close, with lyrics on screen.
- Associate pastor uses a story & Scripture to invite joyful, faithful giving. Then he clearly explains how to give, with words on screen.
- Sermon by lead pastor
- Same ladies give caring closing.
Each set of people had their own location in the what seems to be the same house. In the chat section, the church page representative wrote friendly replies with both regulars and visitors. In the title, they gave clear label “Sunday service // [Date]” In the title, you could also label by language (“Spanish”) or audience (“Kids”). In the video description, they included clickable links to visitor connection card and to giving page. Then they ran Facebook ads on the Facebook post of the service
Example 2: Pre-recorded – (Zimbabwe, Africa)
Open video of online church service here.
To prepare, they tag certain people on social media and announce “Push party for tomorrow morning’s church service”
During their 5-minute countdown, the make two cycles of promotion on each of the following: three radio programs (in 3 languages English, Shona. Ndebele), an English podcast “on your preferred podcast app,” a Thursday night message, a youth broadcast on Instagram Live. It has an ad “Singles (35 and up), Whatsapp the word “Single” to [phone #] to join the community.”
When countdown completes, announcer says “Welcome to [Church Name] Online. We are so glad that you joined us. We want you to share this broadcast with as many people as you can. We believe it will bless and encourage us all in this season. It showed icons for 1) thumbs up (FB) 2) Share (Youtube) 3) comment box. Remember to stay in touch with your loves ones, and to keep in touch with each other. The bible gives us a pattern to watch after each other. (Verse; and icons for Zoom, Whatsapp, Skype, and icon for their cell groups) His Sunday night “time of devotions with Pastor Tom” is geared towards radio audience. It then asks people to check in on Facebook or website to see new content. Share this with family and friends.” It shows call centre numbers for calling, texting, and Whatsapp. Announcer says “As a church, we are about people. If you need help, or prayer, or just someone to talk to, we are here for you. Call numbers on screen, or alternatively, send call me back message, and someone will call you back Remember: you are not alone. Together we will get through this season.” It then transitions with a request “Join us now for praise and worship”
The worship team opts for singing from a studio rather than from a stage. This gives them optimal sound. They also just show two people rather than their entire praise team. They show the words on the screen. The first song is English, and the second song is in Shona (with English subtitles) which someone from their church wrote.
As we continue in this atmosphere of worship, we want to give you an opportunity to prepare your tithes and offerings.” Then it lists giving information (options like giving via website, EFT banking info or mobile giving, bank transer, giving in foreign currency) Though its many numbers, it will be more useful to those who watch on replay and can pause the screen. Then it shows quickly how to give via website. After this, it makes an appeal for a missions project. Part of this is by a representative of that project, and part are video clips and image slideshow of the ministry itself. Then it provide giving information for that missions project.
Before the sermon, it has a brief encouraging and confident word from the pastors wife to fear not and trust the Lord, stay connected to the church, and create atmostphere of faith and praise. “Know that I’m praying for you. There is no distance in prayer.” It transitions again to “Join us in praise and worship” with another song. Then sermon.
Throughout most of the sermon, the screen shows the numbers for people to call or Whatsapp.
At end of sermon, it replays a worship song from earlier years. Then it reminds people to listen in for the 15 minute Sunday evening radio spot.
Example 3: Live (USA)
This video features a welcoming couple doing an introduction, a 10 minute pause (could be with background music) getting settled until the formal start of service, a scaled down worship, couple doing announcements, then sermon. This seems engaged many viewers. It has a very simple non-distracting background.
Other “online church options” try to replicate typical Sunday services. This is not necessary. Avoid just putting on a production. Go authentically live and minister to people. Provide a platform for connection. They’ll want that interaction. Make videos seem natural even if you post-produce.
You’ll want to be aware of basic principles related to long-form videos.
- Get your viewers to feel an emotion through story.
- throw in a few unexpected parts to keep them engaged. This could be 1-2 illustrated video clips, 1st half of testimony (w/ second half shown at end).
- Inspire a next step.
- Identify their pain points.
- Share riveting facts/testimonials to expose the depth of their problem,
- then propose the benefits and relief that God’s word provides.