By now, you’ve probably heard about the fuss surrounding Facebook Live. If not, Andrew’s got an article from last month that’s a great place to start. But once you’ve started playing with it, how can you use FB Live to connect your members, your leadership and your surrounding community? Here’s a few thoughts:
Stream Weddings and Funerals
This is one of those blinding flashes of the obvious, but I hadn’t thought of it until I saw it offered at a funeral I attended. It’s huge for connecting family who aren’t able to be at these very important occasions, and it’s not hard to do. If you’re not set up to stream worship yet, consider getting a basic phone or small tablet and having someone use it to stream FB Live to those who can’t be present. Do make sure to warn your budding videographer that this is a worship service, though, and the goal should be to recreate the experience of being present for the service, not to get creative or artsy camera shots. That NFL wire cam probably isn’t going to work.
Stream Youth Group Teaching
If your youth have a separate Facebook group (and they probably should…) then consider streaming the teaching portion of your youth group meetings. While it might be tempting to stream the whole meeting, be aware of the potential to embarrass your members. It’s probably best to avoid streaming the Stupid Youth Group Games™ and any discussion that might result in vulnerability on the part of participants. We want to share the Gospel, of course, but protect our youth at the same time.
As a safer alternative to this, consider using FB live as a way of doing midweek touchpoints with the youth between worship and youth group. Take a few minutes in your office or coffee shop (you hipster!) and update them on what’s going on with you, remind them of the past Sunday’s themes and connect them to your next topic or text you’ll be studying together. The more little touches around the edges of life you can make, the more opportunities you’ll have to make connections, see needs and care for your members.
Stream Bible Study
This one’s pretty simple. Stream your Sunday AM Bible study teaching. The only danger here is if you have someone like my dad in your class, who delights in asking the most theologically difficult questions he can conjure up.
Coffee with Pastor
Enjoy your morning coffee over FB Live. Discuss current events in the world, look back to Sunday and ahead to next Sunday, encourage comments and Q&A. Think of it like a blog, only in real time. Especially in times of such turmoil, this is a brilliant way to model for God’s people how to think theologically about world events.
Be careful about this one. It’s a wonderful thing for grandparents and other family to be able to see the Christmas Nativity story told through the little ones, but there’s a real need to be aware of privacy. If possible, connect with parents ahead of time to ensure that the participants and their parents are OK with making the stream available online, and err on the side of caution if there are any parents with concerns. Also, if you’re using a pre-written program, be aware that the performance rights may not include broadcast rights. Which brings me to…
Be Aware of Copyright
As a Church we have a responsibility to obey the civil authorities (except in rare cases where they command us to violate God’s Word). That includes such mundane things as being aware of and obeying copyright laws. We’ll talk more about that next month, but be aware that any material you’re using needs to be owned by the Church, licensed for broadcast use or in the public domain. We’ll unpack that a little more in February.
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