Guest Post by: Pastor Will Rice
I have always found it a little strange that, in our digital world, attending a conference still involves purchasing plane tickets and reserving a hotel room. Yes, I understand that it is good to get together with colleagues from around the country and world. I know that nothing replaces face to face conversations and breaking bread together in person. However, most of us don’t have the personal or church budget for registration fees and travel. Additionally, rarely can we afford to take our whole worship team. To grow as a team, it is vital to be exposed to the same teaching and ideas. It is great to be able to learn together and have time to dream and plan based on what we have experienced.
This is why I was so excited when I learned about Worship Summit Live, a free, online summit for church streaming production. My team and I were exposed to the expertise of several leaders who know church production and work to leverage it to spread the message of God. Without even leaving the church, we experienced top-quality teaching on the latest technology and best practices for modern worship.
My team and I were joined by over 3,000 of our colleagues, and we all took away more than we could have anticipated. Here are some of my biggest takeaways.
Live Streaming is an Essential Part of the Future of the Church
This wasn’t a new insight for me, but it sure was amazing to hear the sentiment echoed by leaders and other professionals. Sometimes it feels like a constant struggle to get the budget and resources for a robust streaming ministry. There are always detractors who claim that is it just a fad or not “real church.” The summit kicked off with a real affirmation for those of us who work so hard to make live streaming happen. Tess Protesto and Paul Richards opened up with a conversation with the President and Chief Creative Officer of JeffinHighDef.tv, Jeff Fitgerald. They all reminded us of how important it is to go to where people are, and today, those people are often on their computer or smart device. This was a great reminder and a fantastic takeaway to start the day.
Sound is Essential for Streaming
Some of us put a lot of thought into getting the perfect camera shots for streaming. But sound is just as, if not more, important. If people can’t hear or if the sound quality detracts from the service, they are going to tune out and miss the vital message we are sharing. Dr. Barry Hill, author of “Mixing for God,” gave an in-depth look at the tools and techniques to make a drastic improvement in sound on both the live stream and in the worship space. Dr. Hill is the director of the Audio and Music Production program at Lebanon Valley College of Pennsylvania. He is an expert, and he was able to speak in a way that connected to those of us who are not audio pros but just trying to do our best. I walked away with a reminder of the importance of audio and a lot more confidence in my ability to make things sound great.
Live Streaming Equipment Has Come A Long Way
Not all of us are happy with our current live streaming setup. It was a fantastic experience to see and hear what other churches are using. Tom Bunt from Good Shepherd Lutheran in Wisconsin shared his church’s live streaming setup. It was great to see it in action. This was the first time I saw PTZOptics cameras in operation. It made me rethink some of the possibilities of remote cameras. The most impressive part was seeing how he uses a PTZOptics 20X NDI camera to send a video feed across the campus via their local area network. We were also able to see vMix in action as production software. I will be taking a closer look at PTZOptics cameras and vMix.
Even Small Churches with Small Budgets Can Do Great Things with Technology
Sometimes when I attend conferences, everything seems aimed at churches with multi-million dollar budgets. That can make it hard to relate and translate what I learn for the smaller church. Fortunately, there was an entire session on using technology in a church with a small budget. Jake Gosselin from Churchfront offered a lot of insight into how to make some pretty drastic improvements without spending a lot of money. He also laid out a helpful sequence of adding technology as money comes available. I can’t wait to spend time with his YouTube channel to learn more.
That is Just a Small Piece!
My team and I are still unpacking everything we learned at Worship Summit 2020. Our biggest question is, “When is Worship Summit 2021?”