A brother from the integrated media ministry of a congregation in Zhejiang says that the church must, first of all, have the vision to establish an online ministry, and secondly, someone must be willing to set up that ministry. A team then needs to be formed that can serve and learn together.
Brother Daye, a second-generation Christian, attended Sunday school since childhood, has been a believer and is now a part-time volunteer at Juexi Church in Xiangshan County. He graduated with a degree in computer science and is now serving in a media integration position. Brother Daye's secular work path is the same path taken for developing the integrated media ministry in Xiangshan Church.
After the church purchased a projector in 2008, Daye began to participate in the ministry of playing Powerpoint slideshows for church services. In 2018, sound control was added. On March 20, 2022, the church broadcasted live for the first time, which went smoothly except for the playback settings. There was consequently no playback for the first live broadcast.
Brother Daye told Juexi Church that it needed to prepare many devices for a weekly live broadcast, such as a video camera, a mixer, a live broadcast computer, a guide software, and a computer for playing Powerpoint. Live broadcasting mainly involves inputting the pictures taken by the camera into the live broadcast software through the capture card and then sending the sound from the mixer to the live streaming software.
Juexi Church uses the Church Cloud platform to do the live streaming services. Before the live broadcast, Daye had no idea how to input the sound from the mixer into the studio. Later, he followed the tutorials and taught himself. For that which he could not understand, he would ask others.
Knowing the learning needs of various churches in the integrated media position, Brother Daye established the "Christian Integrated Media Exchange Group" on April 29, 2022. In it, co-workers exchange information on Powerpoint, audio control, websites, and live streaming.
Last July, the church organized an online course and invited a national, top-class sound engineer to offer systematic training to the church staff. "I have listened to each of the instructor's lessons more than 10 times," Brother Daye claimed.
During the three years of the pandemic, if a gathering was suspended before the live worship broadcast began, the church could only send out the sermon recording through a WeChat group. With live streaming, believers could then gather in groups at a believer's home, connect to the live broadcast with a mobile phone and show the screen on TV. Older believers who didn't know how to set up could get help from other church members.
According to the Administrative Measures for Internet Religious Information Services (the “Measures") introduced on December 3, 2021, a congregation needed to apply for a license to carry out live broadcasting while also applying for a WeChat official account and a website domain name. After obtaining the license, the official account and website could start to operate.
As there are the materials of the cult Shincheonji or New Heaven and New Earth posted on the Juexi Church website, some believers called to ask for related information.
In addition, Pastor Huang Weiguang collected and compiled many touching witness stories from local churches. Juexi Church decided to open a column for Pastor Huang on the website to publish these stories so that additional believers can be encouraged and nurtured.
Since starting the live broadcast, Juexi Church has updated much equipment. It spent RMB 27,500 on an Allen mixer from the UK, switched from analog to digital, and replaced all microphones while adding computers and cameras. There are now more co-workers involved in the media service and two sisters involved in Powerpoint are also doing proofreading.
Brother Daye is currently focusing on updating the mobile version of the website and managing the official account, through which believers can access the church website. The "Gospel Hymns" section under the video and audio column in the official account contains hymns commonly used in memorial services at Juexi Church.
"As most people attending memorial services don't bring hymnbooks and some songs are hard to find in the small books, the staff has collected 43 songs, which are 90% of the hymns sung. With a click, you can access the audio, texts, and song lyrics," he said.
The website of Juexi Church includes live worship, Bible study, devotions, worship and praise, and skills training.
In terms of equipment, Brother Daye said that a congregation’s mindset often needs updating. When buying equipment, a church should consider whether the equipment can keep up with the times. It should not choose to buy old equipment just because no one else will use it. Co-workers should learn actively, for some churches have very advanced equipment that no one can use.
- Translated by Oliver Zuo