How to Engage Students in Online Worship
One of the hidden benefits of having an online presence as a church is the opportunity to have families worship together in the comfort of their own home. The challenge is to supplement a worship service designed for adults so that youth can grow from that experience as well.
One way you might consider using your Online Worship Experience to impact students is to offer families a discussion resource that can be a guide for conversation after the service or during the week.
Design the questions to progress from fun and easy to challenging and introspective. Make sure the questions cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”, the goal is to cause the person answering to have to think.
Consider using these same questions to resource your youth small group leaders as well. If you have weekly gatherings for students, using these meetings to go deeper with content already taught may be better than introducing all new topics.
Youth leaders can also award special prizes for students who are able to answer specific questions for the online worship service. Questions like, “what color was the pastor’s shirt” or “how many times did the pastor say Jesus” could be fun.
These discussion questions can be made available to parents in multiple ways before the Sunday services. Sending a special parent email during the week or releasing the question through social media can make it easy for parents to have access.
The youth of your church are likely more tech savvy and connected online than anyone else in your congregation. Churches that want to go above and beyond to reach the next generation may find that connecting with students online can be extremely effective. Providing an Online Worship Experience specifically designed with students in mind can reach youth who otherwise might not darken the church door.
The key is making this experience available where students are already present and making it easily accessed.
YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat are the most commonly used online platforms for students. A Pew Research study in 2018 found that 85% of US teens say they use YouTube, 72% use Instagram and 51% use Facebook. It is important for you to do adequate research of your own students to determine the best platform to use to reach your community. You can also utilize Zoom calls to facilitate youth gatherings.
Whichever platform you choose is important to craft a clearly branded online presence. Consider having a custom design or creative video made for your youth ministry that can be displayed on profiles and as posts.
The last question that you need to answer is whether or not your Student Worship Experience will be live or pre-recorded. There are pros and cons to each. Streaming live may make the Worship Experience feel more natural, but it also opens the door for distracting mistakes. Pre-recording allows you to have better control of the overall product with the opportunity for post-production.
To get started for free, you’ll need:
- A branded YouTube, Instagram, or Facebook account.
- A phone or tablet with a camera and enough free disk space to store your recordings.
- For Mac Users, you can use iMovie to edit your videos
- For Windows Users, you can use MovAVI to edit your videos.