How Video Streaming Can Help Your Ministry Reach Those Who Need it Most
Recent years have seen a worrying trend known as the “loneliness epidemic.” Even though technology has made it easier than ever to connect with those far away, many individuals feel isolated and alone. Humans are social creatures – this loneliness epidemic has negatively affected the mental health of many.
These mental health effects are particularly pronounced in the midwinter, particularly for those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder. (Individuals who become depressed in the winter.) We know, from various studies, that the presence of faith in people’s lives is remarkably beneficial to mental health. Further science indicates that religion in children’s lives can have a profound effect on their mental health into adulthood.
Of course, with this knowledge, your ministry wants to reach out to those who could most use your spiritual guidance and the presence of your ministry’s community. After all, “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” (Matthew 9:12)
Fortunately, there are tools that can help your ministry help those who need you most. Have you considered using video streaming to share your services?
A light in the darkness
Before we dive in, I believe it is important to highlight that the purpose of this endeavor is to spread your message, not simply to put butts into seats.
For many, especially those suffering from mental health struggles, simple tasks become monumental obstacles. While you or I may have no issue with making our way to a Sunday service, there are those who require all of their focus simply to leave their bed. Going to a church and interacting with people in person can seem overwhelming.
This is where technology can be used as a tool for good.
Let us lower the gates and open the doors into creating a more accessible service. By using video streaming, you allow people the chance to wade into your ministry from the comfort of their own home. They are still a part of your congregation, but instead of them entering your building, your ministry enters their home. (This can also be an excellent way for those who are physically ill to continue to participate in services they cannot physically attend.)
But if they’re simply watching, are they really a part of the service? Let’s look to a different community – the video game community. Video gamers consistently receive an exceptional amount of views on their live streams. Why is that? Fans of these video games often report that these streams create a sense of community. They feel like they are a part of something larger than themselves. And this sense of being part of something larger, of a supportive community, can really help those suffering from depression and other mental health struggles.
Imagine using the same tool – live video streaming – to create another kind of community. You could create a healthy and supportive environment while offering spiritual guidance, all online.
A wide net and a safe harbor
Okay, so you’re ready to bring your services online. That’s great news!
Our next question, is how do you find your newest community members? And how do you create a community from a group of people who aren’t even in the same room?
Social media is great for reaching out. Social networks cast a large net, and many platforms allow for sponsored posts that target your ideal demographic. However, it is not without its problems. The algorithms of various social media networks may not always favor the performance of your posts, and the conversation that takes place online is not always within your control. (This has been a concern raised about how networks like Facebook moderate comments.)
There is a solution for that. Use social media to cast your net, and bring your new followers back to the safe haven of your website. You can also use tools like metadata to bring new members directly to your website from search engines.
Once back on your own website, you can moderate the conversation. You can, like some ministries, have a pastor available to chat online. Having this resource available can be like a lifeline to some. It is not only a source of spiritual guidance, but of genuine human connection, which is so important to mental health.
You can also introduce different topics of discussion on your website, providing somewhere safe for your online congregation to engage in thoughtful conversation. This can lead to members connecting with each other, creating new relationships, and support networks. Having a strong support network, even if it is online, is an important factor in managing mental health.
Taking the connection offline
By reaching out with video streaming, you can create real connections and communities online. But, there is still no substitute for real, in-person interaction. For many churches, members of their online congregation often begin to attend services in-person. For those on their mental health journey, physically venturing out can be an important and rewarding step on their path to healing.
What about those who cannot attend, because they are too far away? As we have discussed in our last blog post, satellite campuses can be an excellent way to bring people together to attend service, even if they are in a different city. And with the right video streaming technology, you’ll be able to judge the approximate locations of your viewers and set up close to them.
Even if your ministry isn’t ready to commit to a permanent satellite campus, there are still options. You can host special events, or organize “meet-ups” for your online congregation in their cities. Even if they do not develop into an organized, regular service, these events can allow congregation members to connect at another level – lasting bonds will be created.
These bonds are so important to the mental health journey. Imagine someone who was isolated in their home only months ago, who now is part of a caring and supportive community. All of this, because your ministry was able to reach out to them when they needed it the most.
Ready to reach out?
Are you ready to get started with video streaming, but not sure where to start? That is where we can help. Reach out to our team today at [email protected] to discover how our video streaming technology can help your ministry reach out to those who need it most.