Jim Sweeney • May 05, 2016
Take a moment to consider who you could reach with a live video stream.
The people tuning in online likely include a mix of the housebound, travelers, members who’ve moved away and can no longer attend, people temporarily under the weather and those who’ve never been to your church but who found it online and want to learn more.
It’s an eclectic group, one that changes in size and membership with each broadcast. But it remains unseen. The live stream viewers are unaware of who else is watching. And, despite the presence of cameras, it can be easy for your congregation to forget there is an audience other than the one sitting in front of them - those in attendance simply do not think about those watching remotely.
Taking the time to acknowledge and speak directly to this “invisible audience” can be meaningful for its members. It goes a long way toward letting them know that, even though they might be watching the service by themselves from a laptop in their living room, they are not alone. They are part of a greater worship community that values their participation.
While there are different ways to do this, the simplest and easiest might be to take a moment during the sermon to speak directly to the live stream audience, to welcome them and let them know that, even if they’ve never set foot in your church, they belong and are considered part of the worship family.
This also reminds the worshippers in attendance that there is another group that wishes they could be there with them but, for whatever reason, can’t be.
If you want to make the point more emphatically, ask the members of your congregation to directly address live stream viewers, perhaps at the end or beginning of services. A simple greeting and message of welcome can make viewers feel like they belong and strengthen the bonds with the “invisible audience.”
If you've decided that you want to further engage those tuning in online, this post offers some tips on how to grow and maintain your streaming audience.
Image Source: Caden Crawford via Flickr