Helping Churches in the Pandemic

There are many variations of how we helped churches in the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit just about every sector of society in one way or another and at Audio-Video Group, we have been happy to help a broad range of clients cope with the changes they’ve faced. In doing so, we have learned quite a bit about doing our work better and helping our community.

In particular, houses of worship have faced interesting challenges that have pushed us to find new solutions and think of things in different ways. Our Director of Sales, John Pierce, CTS put together some tips, tricks, and recommendations for you to consider. Here are five ways we have learned to approach working with the faith community during the pandemic.

1. Keep it simple.

Some of the best online services we have seen and help design are also the most straightforward. Suppose a church isn’t in a position to hire professional camera operators and sound engineers. In that case, it’s best to keep the online services simple in terms of songs, transitions, and other elements of the service. Mistakes caught on camera are more noticeable (and in the case of archived services, permanently recorded).

It also helps to remember that key volunteers and team leaders are trying to keep their heads above water in their personal lives as well. Overly complicating their role in services may add stress and difficulty that can result in mistakes or missing important details of the worship experience.

2. Prioritize audio.

While it may not seem immediately intuitive, video issues’ tolerance is much greater than tolerance for poor audio. If your congregation can hear you but not see you, they will likely continue to listen. But if they can see you and not hear you, they will let you know–and they will have missed the message of the service. Focus on the quality of the audio in your worship space on your stream. Listen to your finished product on multiple sources–a phone, tablet, computer speakers, TV, and even higher quality audio devices like studio monitors.  If it sounds great on a mobile device, it will sound great on higher-quality speakers. When we mix sound for churches, we prefer to listen through the small speakers of a mobile device first because if it sounds right there, it will sound right everywhere.

3. Simplify getting onto your stream or online broadcast.

If it is hard to connect to your online service, people will get frustrated and tune out.   Your most loyal congregants will get annoyed, and guests will never return.  Remember, the goal is for people to hear the message, not get distracted by how difficult it is to connect to you. If your church is still using an online conferencing platform like Zoom or something else, it might be time to consider upgrading to a streaming service that originates from your website.  Plus, it is always good to push people to your direct website. Here you can control the content and can gain some additional messaging capability, extending the ways you can connect parishioners to your church in the pandemic. Excluding the need for Zoom or other social media platforms where you cannot control what people see or click on.

4.  Be willing to ask for help.

Many pastors and technical directors are concerned about reaching out for help because they lack the financial resources to hire a professional.  While we always recommend hiring professionals, there are many forums available to help you–similarly situated people who are able and willing to volunteer advice or technical support just because they love A/V or tech in general.  Even the professionals sometimes ask for help!

5.  Do not forget that people are hurting.

This may be the most important of all. People are deeply hurting, and those who seek your services will appreciate them being as engaging and technologically smooth as possible. Letting technology become a distraction or the center of the worship service means you won’t connect with the people who need you most. Remember: we cannot forget the human experience and must gauge how worship services and technology combine to best reach people.

Whether you’re totally new to providing online worship or have a system, like ERUCC in Frederick, or Calvary United Methodist Church in Arlington, VA, that needs some adjustments, implementing any of these techniques can help you successfully help churches in the pandemic. You are not alone, we’re here for you.

Do you have questions? Schedule an introductory conversation! 

The Rev. Dr. Barbara Kershner Daniel describes the A/V challenge she and her congregation faced with their worship space, both in-person and watching online. With the help of Audio-Video Group, LLC, they were able to implement a solution that was stress-free and user-friendly! Now, they can relax, knowing their message will be heard, seen, and understood.

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