Church at Home: How We Set Up Our Church Online Without a Budget

church at home

When the government decided to stop all public gatherings because of COVID-19, our church willingly cooperated.

But, we never wanted to stop assembling ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25!).

Thankfully, we have technology at our disposal to at least be able to replicate the worship services and gatherings that we do on a regular basis.

This was a drastic change from what we were used to.

It really took us out of our comfort zone.

Let me walk you through how we instantly set up our church online… without a budget too.


Sunday Services

This was a bit of a challenge for our church because we never had online broadcasts ever since.

We don’t have equipments and the time to transition to it either.

We had to improvise.

1. The Preparation

Our preparation only involves me recording myself sharing the message on my phone.

Here is how it looks when I deliver the sermon in front of my phone:

recording the sermon

While I am doing that, our creative worship team also prepares a multi-layered video of a worship song to play at the start of the video.

That kind of video is not that easy to make. Shoutout to DJ for making it possible!

After that, I just stitch the videos together to create a final 40 minute video of the whole online service.

2. Announcement of Service

Now that I have the video ready, I upload the huge file (it’s around 3GB) on our church’s Facebook page and have it Premiere on Sunday 9AM.

Once it’s uploaded, Facebook will automatically notify everyone who is following the page.

3. Service Time

On Sunday 9AM at the time of the premiere, the whole congregation will gather together with their families at home.

We then encourage everyone to engage in the comments and post photos of their gatherings as well.

This is the closest thing to a community gathering that we can do.

Tools we used:

  • iPhone
  • Facebook (Premiere)
  • iMovie (for editing)
  • Adobe Premiere Pro (for advanced editing. This is optional)

Tip:

  • Create a countdown timer at the start of the video. It takes time for some people to connect. This allows for some buffer time so not many people will miss the service.

You can see our online services here at our Facebook page: CFCI Cagayan de Oro


Fellowships / Small Groups

Almost every day of the week, different groups gather for Bible studies, encouragement and prayer.

I am part of the youth group and here is what we do.

We meet every Wednesday night.

Our tool of choice is Zoom for our video conferencing because it handles multiple participants really well.

We start with online games, followed by testimonies, an encouragement then a prayer.

It would usually last for an hour or more.

Tips:

  • Quizziz is a fantastic quiz platform that gets everyone competing but enjoying at the same time.
  • Zoom allows the speaker to share his or her screen. Use it when the speaker has a presentation.
  • Zoom’s feature to Mute All participants is very useful.

Meetings

Occasionally, our church leaders will have meetings.

Zoom, once again is our tool of choice for this purpose.

Facebook Messenger on the other hand is used for announcements and schedule.

An agenda is announced ahead so everyone can prepare and no time will be wasted.

Tip:

  • Everyone should be on video. It’s awkward to talk to profile pictures. 🙂

There is so much room for improvement of course.

But, at this time of instant change we’re blessed that our church is equipped with creative minds to be able to pull off all of these.

There were a lot of things we also learned in the process.

For sure, we will be able to use them to improve our services and gatherings in the future.

If you have any other ideas on how to set up the church online on a budget, please let us know in the comments.

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