Developing online church

Would you like to try streaming a service? 

We already have over 130 services being live streamed or available by conference call.  If technology is not your forte please do not pressure yourself to have a go, but instead log into some of the fantastic services already available.  For resources to help you prepare your own live streamed services please see below.

Opening the Doors

This Church of England initiative offers a simple set of resources that churches can take and make their own as and when it is appropriate for them to do so. They include:

  • Posters and invitations, digital and hard copy, that churches can use to invite the parish to worship
  • Liturgical resources, provided by the Liturgical Commission, as well as some others produced by Fresh Expressions practitioners as their contribution
  • Webinars from the Digital and Evangelism and Discipleship teamsring- please visit their page here
  • In due course, resources and guidance to help churches prepare for Advent and Christmas.

Opening the doors | Weblink


Streaming services

If you would like to try your hand at streaming services, telephone conferencing or video conferencing please read our selection of guides which includes details on safeguarding and key security information. 

How to? guide for Video conferences | PDF

How to? guide for Live streaming, mobiles, tablets and cameras and more | PDF

How to? guide for Filming on  a mobile phone | PDF

How to? guide for using Zoom as a participant | PDF

Parish Buying are now offering four audio-visual supplier options for your church to choose from. Each supplier is unique and offerings range from installations of permanent equipment to portable equipment that you could set up yourself.  For full information please visit:

Parish Buying Audio equipement | Weblink

Sharing online Worship this season

InHarmony Christmas 2020 - Provideing music videos for your Christmas services. The InHarmony project is pressing ahead with plans to record a series of videos of music for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, featuring local musicians and singers. The videos will be available via the InHarmony website where you can find a list of what will be available and you can download a pdf flyer here.  Several churches and individuals are involved in preparing this resource, in partnership with Cantus Firmus Trust. The videos will be free, but in most cases, churches will need the appropriate video streaming licence from and/or   

Buirensi Consort  - founded during the COVID-19 pandemic to allow people who are unable to attend worship and concerts the opportunity to experience a little bit of normality during the festive season.   They are currently specialising in providing high-quality pre-recorded music for use during the uncertain months ahead.  Whether you require a recording of Away in a Manger, music for entire service of nine lessons of carols, organ voluntaries or anything in between, Buirensi Consort can offer a bank of pre-recorded music along with help planning or even editing your virtual carol service.   Click here for more information.  

Next steps

Many churches moving online have been blessed with a growing number of people engaging with their offerings. By their presence, these people are showing an interest in the church.  It is challenging to adapt our methods to the digital world, but some ideas and suggestions are emerging, all rooted in our usual relational approach.

  • Be welcoming - some churches are forming a group of people who can welcome online vistors and follow them up afterwards.
  • Be authentic -  many people are choosing to engage with their local churches, or churches where they have a connection, not the slickest online services.
  • Be encouraging - try asking people questions they can comment on during a video or post an online poll. Facebook offers an easy messaging service asking new visitors to like and follow your page and make sure you answer comments! One church asked families to build an Easter garden to show at the service the following Sunday.
  • Be invitational: a common message is how much easier it is to invite to an online service or event. Ask people to invite others. This is a great way to deepen engagement.

People are experimenting with many things - could you try any of these ideas?

  • Informal Zoom gatherings where people can chat immediately after a service.
  • Pub quizzes by Zoom.
  • Weekly music or nursery rhyme sessions for young families.
  • Online Christian basics courses, e.g. Alpha, Christianity Explored, Start.
  • Shorter, simpler and more regular spiritual offerings to complement the services.
  • Online bible study sessions.
  • Zoom get-togethers for young people, e.g. Pizza and Prayer online for young people in South Hartismere.

If you are looking to brush up your broadcasting techniques have a look at this video from the Diocese of Manchester which is full of great ideas:


Understanding your analytics 

Facebook says that 1000 people have seen my video…or have they? Do check the ‘Insights’ on social media platforms.  They will let you know how long people have viewed your video for, whether they have the sound on!  Find out where they are located, demographics breakdown and when is the best time to post your information to reach the most people.  Look at engagement figures as well as just reach or impressions as these tell you more about whether people are staying long enough to like and comment on posts, share information and properly engage in your post.

How to? Understand your Facebook Insights | PDF

Charting your Insight trends template | PPX

Online Promotion

An easy way to reach new audiences is to ‘boost’ your posts.  Choosing simple metrics such as geographic area, key words and demographics you could reach an entirely new audience – just set your budget and stick to it – this is low cost so a couple of pounds a post could be effective.

Remember to advertise your online services and other activities on A Church Near You

For a Social Media basic guide download this guie:

How to? on Social Media | PDF

Counting online attendance

We recognise that collecting information on virtual church offerings may not be a priority for some. However, for those who are keen, the Church of England has produced a simple excel spreadsheet which enables churches to keep a record of the different things they may offer here 


Updated 21 October 2020.