Time to get creative

Podcasting

Bible ad headphonesYou really don't need much to start creating audio messages. You need a method of recording. Lots of churches have PA and recording systems but what if your church leaders are isolated and can't use the church facilities? Did you know that most smartphones already have everything you need? On iPhones there's an app called Voice Memos and many Android devices may have a built-in recorder too. But you may also be able to record on your PC with a microphone or a laptop using something like Voice Recorder (Windows 10) or indeed Skype could be used to record a remote conversation piece (e.g. two church leaders jointly leading a word of encouragement or prayer time).

Once you have recorded your audio file you may need to optimise it for web use. There are instructions for optimising audio at https://www.123faq.net/CreatingPodcastAudio.htm (note the exact steps may vary depending on your version of iTunes - available for free for both Windows and Mac). Then you need to upload it to your File Library, see https://www.123faq.net/onlineaudio.htm#uploadingaudio and finally create the Podcast page, see https://www.123faq.net/onlineaudio.htm#podcasts. Once on your website your church members will be able to easily listen to everything you provide. 

Video Messages

YouTube icon on phoneThere are loads of great tools for creating video files and sharing them on the web. The biggest and best known is https://www.youtube.com. If you don't already have an account you can create a free account straight away. Note if you are going to be making the videos publicly available then it may be best for the account to be set up in a church email address rather than your personal address. There are loads of ways to create videos for YouTube but probably the easiest way is to simply record it on a mobile phone using the YouTube app. Note as you may be making videos for quite some time you may wish to buy a small tripod to hold the phone (these can easily be found on Amazon). Once you have created a video and it's in your YouTube account you can easily add it to your website. For instructions regarding YouTube see https://www.123faq.net/onlinevideos.htm

Even if you don't wish to record your own messages you can often embed videos that others have made (at no cost) simply look for the video ID on any YouTube video. If you can see the video when you embed it then it's OK.

If you want to make live video feeds you can also do that via YouTube. There are some requirements to do so. Please see https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/9227509. If your church already uses Facebook then you could alternatively live stream straight to your Facebook page.  

Communication Tools

Free GDPR compliant church address book AND communication tools:

If you want to communicate better with your church including sending newsletters then why not use https://www.churchbox.co.uk. It's entirely free and will help you manage your church members, external contacts and keep in touch with everybody. Another alternative is Mailchimp.com

You may also need to consider ways to carry out meetings, support groups, small groups, Bible studies, etc. Here are some options that could assist.

Video Conferences:

Free of charge up to 100 people can meet together using video. Here are a couple of well known providers. With Zoom people without internet connections can phone in to the conference (they just won't see any video content).

Zoom – https://zoom.us Please see the URC advice on using Zoom securely here

Skype – https://www.skype.com/en/free-conference-call

Telephone Conferences:

PowWowNow – https://www.powwownow.co.uk