One of our farvourite parts of church, back when we could all gather together, was the opportunity to connect as a single community. From the greetings at the doors of familiar faces to the coffee or tea after the service, where we could catch up with friends and ruminate on what we experienced during the service. While the experience is not the same in church online, there are ways we can still bridge the distance.
There’s no simple solution that fixes this. Many feel that community is missing in our 2020 church experience. We are divided. The online from the in-person. The distance where we cannot commingle with near and dear friends in another household. But one thing we are intent on at Faith Online is connecting the disconnected as much as possible, given the situation.
This is why we launched a new feature specifically for two-way conversation. This feature integrates seamlessly with all our live streaming services.
What are Two-Way Meetings
The most familiar two-way meetings tools are things like Zoom or Google Meet or similar conferencing tools that allow you to have multiple participants who can talk and engage with one another. A group conference app that is especially useful in small groups or private meetings.
Two-way meetings typically have a host account who controls the ability for attendees to take part in the group dynamic. People can call in or join in the video conference. They can chat in a sidebar. Sometimes they also share screens.
The limitation of these other meetings apps inspired us to develop one inside our Faith Online app. What we wanted was to create a tool that could allow churches to have some meeting space both before and after the service. To see one another’s faces, to gather, to small talk.
How Two-Way Conversations can Improve Church Online
We’ve seen multiple inspiring ways that churches are using online conferencing tools to make the online experience feel more personal. One is by projecting online attendees into the same space as in-person attendees. Another is to include a call and response in the service and over the PA-system. Bringing the community together for the service via these meetings tools has been a vast improvement for many. The creative ways faith leaders are grappling with the hybrid online and in-person attendee, or even strictly online, is only getting better with practice.
What Makes the Faith Online Meeting App Different
The major limitation we see with other meeting apps is they only allow you to use the one interface. Either you stream all or none.
Meeting rooms in Faith Online allows you to take connecting with your congregation another step further. Meeting rooms work like many meeting room platforms allowing video conference calls on the platform. During a live stream, we display a video player in the meeting room allowing members of your congregation who are attending the meeting to watch the live stream.
The two big differences, and indeed, improvements we’ve made specifically for churches are:
- You can start or continue a meeting before the live stream. This means you can create an informal discussion space before and after your event for parishioners to mingle and really connect.
- You can simultaneously stream to your service to your meeting AND to Facebook, YouTube and down your phone line, all on one platform.
While we can’t be physically together in this time, technology can help close the gaps so we can worship together no matter the circumstances.