A weekly blog of Ideas for Leading Creative Worship
Spreading the Good News Wider: Part 1
In the next blog posts, I’m encouraging you to use Facebook posts and livestreaming as a way of getting your message to people outside the four walls of your church.
I’ll tell you what I do for our congregation’s services each week and give you links to an example for a week in which I led the Sunday service.
I have a personal Facebook account that I use to log into Facebook.
Our congregation also has a separate Facebook Page where we post video, photos, and text. I am one of the Admins who can create posts and edit content on that page.
I use a mobile phone to video services. I mount the phone on a tripod with a selfie stick clamp screwed into the tripod mount to hold the phone. I have a battery pack (power block) that I connect by USB cable to the phone so that it doesn’t run out of power while videoing.
My mobile phone account is with ONENZ (formerly Vodafone). Through them I can buy a Social Pass for $2 for 24 hours, which lets me do unlimited streaming on Facebook for a day and means that I am not charged a penalty for exceeding my data plan.
Our sound system has a line out connection (3.5mm plug) which I connect to a laptop via USB to a small external audio adapter sound card box.
The laptop is 8-years-old and I run the free software Audacity to record and edit the sound.
I use Photoshop to create banners for the Facebook posts. You could use Word or Canva or any other software you are comfortable with.
I have an account with Amazon Web Services (AWS) for my business, which I also use to store PDFs and audio files, using their S3 hosting service. I then provide links to these files in my Facebook posts.
The weekly pattern
Thursday / Friday
The church office email me a PDF of the Order of Service for Sunday. I rename the PDF with a descriptive name, e.g. 10am-Congregation-Order-of-Service-16-April-2023-Easter-2.pdf
Then I upload the PDF to my AWS account, make access to the file Public and create a shorter link name for the file using TinyURL! that I will include in the Facebook post.
(You can use any other online file storage service that works for you, so long as you can create a link to the file and make it available to the public to download.)
I create a banner image to post on Facebook. The image is 1200 pixels wide by 630 pixels high and is saved at 72dpi. This is the current size recommended by Facebook.
The design below works well and I use this as a template each week. The photo, text and background colour change each week, but the design stays the same. I put a border around the square photo. The border is either white or I will pick a colour from the image. I pick the background colour from the photo. The text is usually white.
Here’s an example of the text I use for the Thursday or Friday Facebook post. The text will change each week.
Click this link to see the whole Friday post on Facebook: https://tinyurl.com/mu4ux3r5
Arrive at least 30 minutes before the Service is due to start. (I get there 45 minutes early if I am leading the service that day.) That way if you strike a technical problem, you have time to fix it or think up a work-around.
I pay for a 24 hour unlimited data Social Pass on my phone either on Saturday night or Sunday morning.
I set my mobile phone up on the tripod which I place 6 rows back on one side of the centre aisle. Turn the phone sideways at this stage so you are in landscape mode.
I set the phone to use mobile data and log into Facebook. I switch to the congregation’s Facebook Page and click the “What’s on your mind” prompt to start a post and choose “Live Video” from the options presented.
You will now see through the camera on the phone the front of your church. I make sure that the lectern on the left and pulpit on the right are both in the frame along with the sanctuary and altar table. Move your tripod back a row or two if necessary to get everything in the frame.
Tap the blue “Go Live” button. Your livestream video will now start. You will see a small red “Live” indicator on the top left of the screen.
I start the video about 10 minutes before the service is due to start, so people watching online can see that the stream has started.
I leave the camera running until the minister/leader walks past the it at the end of the service. I don’t pan or zoom in or out with the camera during the service, as that would be distracting for the leader and the congregation.
In next week’s post I’ll talk about recording, editing, and posting the audio for a service. I’ll also explain how I trim the start and end of the Facebook livestream video after the service. And I’ll show you the post and email that I do on Sunday afternoon to round out the weekly cycle.
25 April 2023