With many of your congregation attending church virtually, finding multiple ways to connect is important. When you connect with your remote attendees, you give them a reason to stay engaged with your church. Connection drives retention, both in terms of how long they stay “tuned in” to your broadcast and also in ensuring they come back each week. One way to do this is by using online moderators in your live stream. 

What is an Online Moderator?

Think of the online moderator as the digital host of your service. An online moderator is a person who actively chats with those members of your congregation as they log on and watch your services online.

Moderators find opportunities to engage with individuals in chat. They do so by responding to prayer requests, answering questions, and serving as a general resource. The great thing about this role is it can be done from anywhere and can easily be a volunteer member of your church community.

Woman sits with a laptop serving as an online moderator for her church live stream

What is the Difference Between an Online Chat Moderator and a Comment Moderator?

 When you are live streaming a video on a platform like YouTube or Facebook, or on a meetings platform like we have on Faith Online, you have the option to use a live chat feature. Using this feature, people engage directly with the broadcast as it is taking place. The online moderator helps usher and host the viewers throughout the broadcast.  

Comments, on the other hand, exist as part of an ongoing conversation. Using your comments to connect is an important part of your digital church strategy. But you do not need to respond to comments in “real time” as you do with a chat.

Chats require an immediate response. You can find chats to be quick and conversational. Chats can occur between the whole group for all to see or in separate side conversations. 

Tips for Using Online Moderators to Engage with Attendees

Chat Moderator with microphone and clipnboardYour online moderator can quickly adapt your chat to do the two most important things: welcome and engage your attendees.

Welcoming Your Guests

We gather together as a church to know and be known. Those who gather online are just as eager to feel like they belong as those who are able to attend in person. To help these people feel seen and known, welcoming them to your stream is a powerful opportunity. 

Encourage your online moderator to welcome people as they log on by name, and ask them basic welcoming questions. Such as “how are you today?” or “where are you joining us from?” By opening up the stream before the service kicks off in earnest you can create the space for people to engage and interact in the chat. 

Speaking of Engaging: Your Online Moderator Should Encourage Responses

Online worship is different than in-person for so many ways. Not the least of which is the way you can use the space to be more interactive than you would a traditional service. 

Many free platforms like Facebook Live, and YouTube enable people to chat throughout the service. With your online moderator acting as “host” you offer guidance to that conversation. This person can find many ways to connect with the individuals on your chat by doing calls for prayer requests, asking about their health and keeping energy up.

With a well-planned service, the moderator can also use ques in the sermon to share links or quotes in the chat that provide useful information without distracting from the service itself. 

Finding the Online Moderators Within Your Congregation

The online moderator is an excellent volunteer opportunity for someone who is tech savvy, perhaps on the younger side, and who is very warm and outgoing. Ideally it is also someone you have a good relationship with and can bounce ideas off of. 

The role could also be an opportunity for your more digital natives to find and connect with your digital novices. This might even lead to opportunities to offer a helping hand gaining access to all the great resources and community building you are doing online. 

With an online moderator helping support your services, you will probably see engagement in your videos go up and find novel ways to support your community that has been hard to tackle in socially distanced communities.