How Your Ministry Can Build Real Connections Online with the Right Streaming Tools
In the face of social distancing guidelines, more ministries have brought their services online, as more people choose to attend virtually. For many, these guidelines, and inability to attend services or see friends and family in person, has created a sense of isolation – an isolation that ministries wish to break through, and foster their community.
However, as anyone who has attended some of the many virtual events of the past year can attest, creating the same sense of inclusion and community in a virtual setting is easier said than done. (And arguably even more difficult for families with children.) This has led some ministries to ask themselves if it is even possible to recreate the interactive experience of their on-campus services.
These ministries don’t want to simply broadcast their services blindly. They want to build connections with their congregation. They want to foster real engagement and see real interaction.
How to Create Online Interaction
Fostering interaction in your online ministry does not have to be extraordinarily challenging. In fact, it’s very similar to fostering participation in your in-person services. A common solution is to use a live chat function, allowing participants to add their comments or questions throughout the service.
Encouraging participation can be as easy as asking. Many ministries have their pastor call out to their online congregation out for prayers, with questions, or even asking them to share some good news with the rest of the ministry. This can be an especially fun moment for families watching together, as they can decide as a unit to share some family news.
This chat function doesn’t only allow members of your congregation to communicate with your team. By having a display available for your pastor to see these incoming chats, they’ll be able to see the feedback from your congregation – and respond to it live.
Latency: Why You Need the Right Tools
After your pastor calls out to the congregation online, there is going to be a delay, (often referred to as latency in video streaming,) before the congregation actually sees the pastor on their screens at home. The greater the delay, the more difficult it is to interact with your congregation; there will be a considerable gap between when your pastor calls out, and when your congregation will respond in the online chat.
How much of a delay there is in your workflow is dependent on a few things, but especially your ministry’s choice of video encoder. If you have a video encoder with a full two minute delay, you are hurting your ability to have a real exchange with your congregation.
How does this delay affect the interaction? Consider your pastor calling out with a question – if your ministry is using a video encoder with minimal delay, they will see the responses from the congregation while they are still on the same subject, and will be able to respond in turn to those chats. That ability for both sides to acknowledge each other creates a conversation between pastor and congregation; it fosters real human connections.
But with a two minute delay, the gap between the question and the answer creates an awkward disconnect. And for those who are especially affected by the isolation of social distancing restrictions, that gap serves as a reminder of their isolation.
Creating real human connections is more important than ever for ministries and has a profound effect on the members of their congregation. To some, minimizing the delay in your faith streaming workflow may sound like a technical detail, but for those attending you services, it could make a tremendous difference in their lives.
Want to ensure that your ministry has the right tools to connect with your congregation? Take a look at Haivision’s low latency video solutions for online ministry, or speak with one of our video streaming experts.