One of the many downfalls of COVID-19 has been faith communities and the impact comes in numerous ways, including the cancellation of worship services, pilgrimages, ceremonies and festivals. However, as the doors of churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples have closed, browser windows have opened, with religious leaders turning to video conferencing solutions to livestream worship over the internet.
Keeping People Connected
Making the decision to remain open or closed is difficult. Many of you have had to make serious adjustments to keep your congregations safe. Faith-based practices are meant to be carried out traditionally, in-person, alongside fellow believers. However, the dangers of the coronavirus are too serious to ignore even if you’re allowing limited in service attendance.
As Ed Stetzer, author at Religious New Service, puts it, “For many Christians, the very concept of not gathering as the people of God is unacceptable. And yet, even in a time like this, we can find gratitude. We live in a time when technology allows us to stay connected in ways once unimagined. Cell phones allow us to stay connected, video conferencing and livestream allow us to stream out sermons.” He adds, “We love gathering in person – with feet and faces – but for now, we may best love our neighbor by gathering via electrons and avatars.”
The vast majority of the population agrees. Though there have been calls to exempt religious gatherings from coronavirus-related restrictions, a recent survey from Pew Research Center finds that US adults overwhelmingly say houses of worship should be required to follow the same rules about social distancing and large social gatherings as other organizations and businesses. About eight-in-ten Americans (79%) – including 74% of Christians and 80% of Jews – take this position.
(Image source: pewforum.org)
Research finds that 72% of worshipers have watched religious services online or on TV amidst the outbreak, with just over half of these having never done so before. The vast majority – 91% – were satisfied or very satisfied with the experience. In addition, one-in-five say they will watch virtual services more often once the pandemic is over.
(Image source: pewforum.org)
Easy-to-Use Video Conferencing and Live Streaming from net2phone
It’s clear that as the pandemic continues – and even when it’s over – faith leaders need to embrace key technologies in order to continue to serve their communities, hold prayer vigils, deliver sermons, facilitate small group meetings, provide training for staff and volunteers, and keep things as close to business as usual as possible.
Just as the business world has discovered the value of video conferencing and virtual meeting technologies to keep people connected in these times of crisis, faith communities have too. What isn’t common knowledge are the breadth of solution providers who can meet their needs.
Accessible to everyone via their preferred device – be it laptop, desktop, smartphone or tablet – Huddle supports large meetings and services easily. Invitations can be created to help people remember when and how to join a meeting, and the solution comes with useful features such as screen sharing, public and private chats, as well as a raise hand option. For larger congregations, Huddle also supports YouTube live streaming and video sharing so faith leaders can reach an even wider audience from the safety of their own homes.
To learn more about net2phone’s video conferencing and live streaming solutions for faith communities, get in touch today.