(Rev) Mike Hastie from Newtown and Erskineville Anglican Church gives us a brief review on how Online.Church church has been working for them so far
Newtown and Erskineville Anglican Church are using the online.church platform. It allows prerecorded videos to be watched together by synchronising the start time of your service video and by facilitating a public chat space. The interface is setup particularly well for church with a live prayer button as well as a Bible reading tab and a menu that links back to parts of our website.
Something that was important to us was to keep a sense of our building: a point of continuity and the beautiful St Stephen's is well known in our area. We also love that we can utilise some of our gifted video/tech people for a crafted feel (professional, but not overly so). Our internet is horrible and so we wanted to start with something we could trust before exploring live streaming options. The online.church platform allows us to scale our capabilities should we choose to use a live feed (we’re already using OBS project to manage the audio and visual feeds and it to also allows livestream management too). For now we are enjoying the success of prerecorded church by combining recordings of Zoom interviews and Bible reading, prayer etc from homes.
As we think about our audience, we love that the online.church option is open to all - it isn’t restricted to just users of, for example Facebook (and so we discounted watch parties as our primary option). In the middle of our service we pause and get everyone to fill in a connection cards (online form) - one of the primary menu options. Online.church also records who attended if the user has signed up with online.church but for now we’re not relying on that.
The online.church platform doesn’t allow face to face communication and so we supplement our services with Zoom morning tea and supper to make up what we lose. At present we do see some attrition between these modes - our young adult congregation showing the least drop off.
Overall our experience has been excellent and gives a sense of gathered and scattered, professional and live. Our hope here is that all who participate, even new people will feel a sense of church community in this online season.
This is a guest post by (Rev) Mike Hastie, Assistant Minister at NEAC; "a network of 4 small-mid size congregations. We had 250 people online last week which is a similar size to our Sunday attendance. We hope to grow this reach over the coming weeks."
If you have further questions for Mike, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org