Just as not every parishioner attended Mass every Sunday before the coronavirus pandemic, not everyone is going to tune into live-streamed Mass. But it’s still important to engage them. Even your parishioners who attend Mass every Sunday need to be reached, inspired and encouraged beyond Mass to be a truly engaged parishioner!
One powerful way to connect with your parishioners is through video messages, either recorded or streamed live from a camera or phone.
- Live-streaming has certain powerful benefits over recorded content:
- Execution can be as simple as pressing the start and stop buttons on your cell phone. It gives you real-time engagement with your audience.
- It feels more authentic to your parishioners: they can see you, just on the other side of the screen, in real-time!
Recorded messages are also a great option if you do not feel comfortable going live. You can prepare what you would like to say, have someone potentially help you record it and you can edit it afterward. This process gives you more control, but it may require more time and resources to accomplish.
If you don’t feel comfortable with video, there are plenty of other ways to communicate with your community — think of all your other content channels like the online bulletin, a social media graphic, email and newsletters.
Live content is especially valuable during the coronavirus pandemic because it is more communaland engaging than other communication channels at your disposal. We were not made for isolation! We were made for community — and in the absence of in-person community and groups at our parishes, live-streamed video is the next closest thing.
Ideally, you can give parishioners a heads up about any live-streams at least 24 hours before they take place, but it’s not necessary. Facebook and Instagram will both send a push notification to your followers letting them know that you’ve started a livestream. That should be enough to gather some viewers. So if you come with an idea for something you’d like to live stream (or if the Holy Spirit sends you one!) don’t be afraid to reach out to your parishioners in this way.
Short on ideas? Here are some to get you started:
Go live with your authentic reflection for the day. Share how you are praying for parishioners. Reflect on what this time has felt like to you. Talk about a saint’s feast day and how we can live by his or her example. Encourage parishioners to take care of each other.
Pray the rosary or a litany
Did the patron of your parish have a particular devotion to the rosary or other prayer? Invite your parishioners to ask your patron for intercession during this crisis.
Coffee + scripture in the morning
A more casual alternative to Liturgy of the Word. In the morning, go live to dive into the daily Mass readings.
Give a tour of the church
Explain the architecture, reflect on the image in a stained glass window, teach kids about different parts of the church like the baptismal font and tabernacle.
This is a hard time for a lot of people and morale is low. Bring joy to the hearts of your parishioners by taking part in a fun social media challenge like #See10Do10; singing praise and worship; show off your baking; or doing anything that might lift the spirits of people who are looking to you in this time of crisis