Aftershow Style Event Helpful in Building Community
I’ve struggled from the very beginning doing online ministry having very little face time with my community. What do I mean by face time (not Apple’s FaceTime)?
- The full-service weekly is mainly our worship band and the teacher of the week. My intro and outro videos slapped on the front and end of the service are less than 2% of the live stream.
- Most of my touches with the community are through emails, phone calls, few video calls, WhatsApp messages, and Facebook interactions.
- Online attendees do visit our services in person, but those interactions are low.
I bet struggling with having face time sounds irrelevant coming from an online pastor, but I still highly value this type of connection. What kind of event works best to build in more face time with our community while not competing with existing programs at our church? The idea we started to explore was an aftershow style event. The idea was birthed from the popularity of shows like Talking Dead or After The Thrones. The premise of those popular shows and other shows focuses on recapping the episode in an AMA Reddit style. Why couldn't our online team steal this format, but recap the weekend service? We got super creative, read sarcastically, with the title of the event and called it #AfterSaddleback 🙂
The desire for this event from the beginning was to pull off the event with a small budget and small team. I can tap our amazing teams at the church but wanted to execute this style of event with minimal resources.
What did we need to pull an AfterShow off?
1. Way to stream the event
Signed up with Streammonkey.com, which costs $249 a month (I did upgrade to 1080p streaming)
2. Equipment to stream the event
- Bought Canon VIXIA HF G40 Full HD Camcorder and Magewell USB 3.0 HDMI Video Capture Dongle to convert the video signal into my laptop
- Blue Yeti USB Mic for audio
- Easy to set up photography backdrop, which allows the event to happen anywhere
- Lighting kit
3. A place to stream the event
I created a page using churchonlineplatform.com, which is free and has all the features needed to promote, host, and engage a live audience. Explore Saddleback's Online Campus events page using this platform at saddlebackchurch.churchonline.org. We archive the event on YouTube and embed the playback onto the events page.
4. Program format for the event
Introduction (2 minutes)
- Takeaways from pastors (5 minutes)
- Share community takeaways gathered from email blast and Facebook Group post before the event (5 minutes)
- Display funny memes related to the weekend service (3 minutes)
- Online Campus news of upcoming events (5 minutes)
- Feature recommended resources relating to the service (3 minutes)
- Closing thoughts (2 minutes)
- Q & A with community
That is all theory, but what about seeing this in action? Below I've shared our first three shows below. We've learned a great deal since our first attempt!
Fifth attempt of #AfterSaddleback on 8/6/18
Fourth attempt of #AfterSaddleback on 7/16/18
Third attempt of #AfterSaddleback on 6/5/18
Second attempt of #AfterSaddleback on 4/30/18
First attempt of #AfterSaddleback on 3/11/18
Things we've learned the hard way:
- I had to upgrade my MacBook Pro to support 1080p streaming (Wirecast requirements). Wirecast has this CPU % indicator. During our first attempt, the CPU % indicator was at 100%, which is bad. The issue was because I was streaming to saddlebackchurch.churchonline.org and our private Facebook Group using a MacBook Air. Didn't have enough bandwidth, but my souped-up Pro works excellent now!
- Lighting is important and challenging for beginners to figure it out, which you can see in our first two attempts. Test, test, and more testing!
- Technically setting up the stream can be confusing, but Stream Monkey’s customer support is amazing. Stream Monkey's support page is super helpful as well (support.streammonkey.com).
- Program format didn't make sense till attempt 2. We thought we would rely solely on asking questions in real-time, but posting the main question ahead of time allowed us to put their comment in our Keynote prior and overall added more community content into the event. You'll notice attempt 3 of #AfterSaddleback feels a ton smoother.
I know #AfterSaddleback will continue to evolve in the coming months and I'm enjoying the extra face time with my community which means more opportunities to pastor!