Does Your Church Need a PrayerCam?
Does Your Church Need a PrayerCam?
Due, in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, more churches than ever are using video to share worship. However, with the fact that it will be some time before we are able to gather like in the past, many churches are also finding other ways to use video to stay connected. One of the most essential parts of the Christian life is prayer.
While prayer is often done privately or with our families, prayer is also something church members do together. Sometimes it is one-on-one prayer time with a pastor or other leader of the church. Other times, it might be a group gathering for intercession – where the faithful join their hearts and voices in praying for members of the congregation, community, and world. So, during this time, when churches’ ability to gather is limited, how can video help people pray together? And, how might these innovations continue to enrich the church experience into the future?
Spiritually and theologically, video is not a necessary component of prayer. People could pray together by merely agreeing to pray at a specific time. They could also connect via phone with as many people as can dial into a conference call line. But many of us have already discovered that video adds another layer to our connection when we cannot be physically present. Whether that is seeing a pastor preach on Sunday morning or talking to our grandkids, video adds so much depth. So here again, video has the potential to enhance our life of prayer.
PrayerCam is simply a catch-all description of cameras we might use to stay connected for one-on-one or group prayer. It doesn’t have to be any specific type of camera or use any one piece of software. It is just about using video in another way to stay connected when we can’t be physically present. Here are a few ways a PrayerCam might be used in your church.
One on One Prayer Time
Sometimes church members desire an opportunity to have a pastor or other leader in the church pray for them and with them. There many options for this, including using a smartphone with Facetime, Skype, Google Meet, or Zoom. However, many of our pastors are not technically savvy or may need some additional help making the experience as natural and high-quality as possible. Through the use of PTZOptics cameras, the entire system can be set up, tuned, and automated for the pastor.
With a proper configuration, the pastor or other leader could simply initiate or answer the video call and stream picture-perfect video and audio to the person on the other end. This way, the PrayerCam setup takes care of the technical side, and everyone can focus on prayer.
Before gathering in groups became an issue, some church groups would gather, often weekly, for a time of prayer for others. Often led by a pastor or other church leader, the group would lift up prayer requests submitted by members as well as prayers for the world in general. In our current setting, this is the perfect place for a PrayerCam. The experience can be streamed using PTZOptics cameras and software like vMix, eCamm Live, OBS, or Wirecast. People can join in prayer for anywhere.
For a more personal experience, video conferencing software like Zoom could be used, allowing the participants to interact and be present to one another. With Zoom, there is even an option for attendees to move into smaller breakout rooms for a more personal experience.
How Else Will the PrayerCam Become Part of Church Life?
Long after the COVID-19 crisis has passed, video will continue to be an essential part of the life of the church. Many of the things we have discovered and implemented during this time will continue to hold value for churches, especially as congregation members continue to get older, and others continue to be more mobile. Once people are back in the pews, live video streaming of services will continue for those who are still unable to come. Gatherings like Sunday school or small groups will also always likely find it useful to have video options for those who may have trouble getting to the church or other gathering space. And once churches see what video can add to the experience of prayer, the PrayerCam may become a permanent fixture.