We’ve seen the new model and it’s working. Churches over the last eight to 10 years have determined that to grow their ministry they should share their worship and message experiences online.
It is already quite the task to manage a team within a main campus, so managing the culture of a ministry across multiple campuses, can seem rather daunting.
Such a digital strategy has helped build on-site attendance, which in turn creates additional campuses in new locations across cities, states and even countries.
In the early 2000s, ministries began to discover the internet and how to distribute audio messages, both live and on demand. Video soon followed and not long after, streaming live or time-slip DVR like HD experiences to satellite campuses became accepted forms of sharing messages from main campuses to satellite campuses.
This multisite model has created a tremendous opportunity for ministry, but also has to deal with certain challenges. Senior pastors spend a significant amount of time ensuring that they are surrounding themselves with the best, brightest and the right team to continue to grow their ministry.
It is already quite the task to manage a team within a main campus, so managing the culture of a ministry across multiple campuses, can seem rather daunting. Fortunately, most have found that the same technology used to build their multisite model, can also assist in managing a ministry’s experience across multiple sites.
Video allows pastors and ministry executives the opportunity to review worship experiences across campuses, creating meaningful coaching opportunities. This article will cover a few of the more popular ways that executive pastors are leveraging video technology, to help ensure a consistent experience across their entire organization.
In their early stages, several remote church sites are started in rental facilities, which may or may not allow for setting up and tearing down temporary video gear or access to the internet. In such cases, a ministry will sometimes use a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet to record the worship and other experiences. A handheld video camera will also work.
With both of these options, mobile devices and handheld video cameras, each present their own challenges. While mobile recording may be relatively inexpensive, the logistics it entails can make it incredibly cumbersome. Getting the video file from a handheld camera to your main campus for review can also pose additional obstacles for your team. Some of this recorded content can be sensitive and for internal use only; care should be taken as to who has access to the videos.
If a temporary space or permanent satellite campus does have video equipment, such as video cameras and or a switcher, your team has an easier way of recording the entire service through the eyes of the director and production team, giving an inside view of the campus experience. Often a digital recorder, such as an AJA Ki Pro GO to an Ultra, or Blackmagic Design’s HyperDeck Studio Mini to Extreme 8K HDR, can simply be placed in the production workflow and set up to record the entire service.
However, there are still challenges to this workflow, including the need to transport drives or disks from the remote campus to the main campus, for staff meetings and review. Logistics and transport of the media, including ensuring that your media is in an accessible viewing format, can be difficult and requires careful consideration each week.
Services available on the internet are typically low-cost and fairly easy to use for video distribution. Some ministries are still using Facebook Pages or a YouTube channel for uploading, sharing and reviewing experiential content from their remote campuses. For small churches, this can be a good way to use the web to review and manage their teams across multiple campuses.
There are also commercially available cloud-based solutions that use a browser-based portal to present video content, recorded with an IP camera or encoded stream in browser, for easy access and review. However, like any cloud-based video solution, there are costs involved for bandwidth and storage, and these systems typically remove content after a brief period of time (30-60 days), depending on services contracted.
The greatest concern ministries have when it comes to web and cloud-based solutions, is effective content management and security. Again, this content is often sensitive in nature for the pastoral team to review and make key ministerial decisions, so access via some of these open low-cost web-based solutions can create risks.
Yes, cloud-based solutions provide some scalability, but ministry needs to consider the potential harmful impact on their organization, if the wrong person accesses this content.
High Performance Recording
Recently, “Behind the Firewall” type products previously used in the medical and higher education fields have found their way into ministry. These hardware and software recording solutions are an excellent option, providing ministries with the ability to schedule recordings of their remote campus services automatically from IP camera or encoded video feeds, directly into the software.
Since the solution resides either behind the firewall or is secured via an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate, a ministry can fully control who has access to view this content. These solutions are customizable and connect to Active Directory or LDAP for setting up users and permissions.
Pastors can view live or VOD content via browser, set top box or mobile applications. Within the browser interface, the software allows for a (searchable) metadata scheme, the creation and management of channels and hotmarking notes into a video for review by the pastoral team in staff meetings.
Through a mobile app, smartphones and tablets can stream directly back to the software allowing a pastor to visit any campus and record content to discuss later with staff.
Ministries have options, when it comes to effectively managing the heart of their ministry through recording and reviewing experiences across their remote campuses.
Depending on the size and growth curve of their ministry, one or a combination of these methods can help ensure the original mission and heart of the senior pastor and his team can be effectively replicated across their entire church body.