Each Sunday our church, we host five morning venues*. Two of the venues are “live,” and three are “video.” In our live venues, we do everything your church does. We do it in our unique way, but the evangelical core is there: music, prayer, offering, sermon. In our video venues, everything is live, except for the message, which is broadcast to a large format screen. We’ve been doing it for almost three years now, and we’ve learned a few things, some of which I will share with you here.
In our research for video venues, we speed-modeled our approach on the model from North Coast Church in California. Many of our best practices start with what we learned from them.
* We use “venue” interchangeably with “service.” Neither is in the Bible, so it’s OK.
- Get good food and comfy chairs – the overflow room needs to be a reward, not a punishment. (North Coast)
- One shot, fixed camera – it seemed counter-intuitive to me, but it really works. (North Coast)
- Lower thirds rather than overlays – it helps with the suspension of disbelief.
- If you do it in the Live Room (i.e. prayer for the sick, video announcements, etc.), do it in the venue. – People don’t want to feel cheated on their expectations of the church experience.
- DO NOT REFERENCE HOW GREAT THE MUSIC WAS IN THE LIVE ROOM DURING THE SERMON!!!!!!!!!!!!! – This one is kind of a big deal.
- The teaching pastor needs to talk to the people in the venues – It helps them feel connected.
- Call it the “Live Room” or the “Sanctuary”, not the “Main Service.” – Your venue pastor will appreciate this.
- Practice the flow – Even with slip-timing with the DVR, you will need to be comfortable with the flow of the service of when the feed comes in.
- Keep the production value low – again counter-intuitive, but is church really the place to tap into your inner James Cameron? Minimize the unconscious reminders that the audience is not in the Live Room. (Admittedly, this is a subjective tip. We’re a pretty bare-bones production value church anyway, so maybe this is just us.)
- Admit the mistakes – Weird timing, bad picture, poor audio, it all happens. Just quickly acknowledge the problem, set a default time to fix it, then move on. (North Coast)
Any tips on how you do it? Any cool ways of “doing church” that you’ve seen?