To help with this we have gathered a few resources that help you utilize technology to help keep your congregation connected and engaged.  We have broken the resources into three parts, communication, audio/visual and social media as we believe these are the pillars on which you will need to keep your congregation connected. These resources are either free or have minimal costs involved so getting these initiatives implemented would not impact you financially but do require manpower and time to get them set up.  

Communication

Communication is very key all the time when wanting to keep your congregation informed but it is even more important in this season.
Even though it is 2020, emails are still one of the main ways organizations communicate with people. You may already have email management with your church management systems but these resources will help you get the most out of your emails.

Stripo

Stripo
This is an email template designer that will help you create beautiful emails that will keep the information you want to clear and easy to read.  There are many templates available with no need to do any HTML or Markdown coding and can easily be plugged into popular emailing services like Gmail, Outlook and dozens more integrations. This cloud-based software is free with paid options as low as $12 a month.

MailChimp

MailChimp
MailChimp has been around for quite some time now and they have evolved from an email management system to email template, website & landing page designer & social media & email campaign management. One of the great things about MailChimp is that it can help you set up groupings for different contacts, so let’s say you want to email just the small groups in your congregation you can set up a group for them and another group for new attendees for example.


Audio & Visual

Setting up streaming online for your Sunday service or setting up conference calls for your small groups can be daunting but with a few resources, you can easily get this implemented for your church.

Zoom

Zoom
Zoom is a powerful video conferencing cloud-based software that can run on many types of devices whether that be your desktop PC, laptop or smartphone. It also runs on any system you may have, ie. Windows, Mac, IOS or Android and you can even have congregant members call in and still be able to access the same conference call. This software has a free option that will allow up to 100 people on a call with unlimited calls, the only caveat is that you only have 40 minutes per call. Paid options start at $20 a month.

Here are a few other choices for using video calling for your small groups.

Facebook Messenger
Available on Apple & Android Devices, Windows & Mac
WhatsApp Messenger
Available on Apple & Android Devices
Skype
Available on Apple & Android Devices, Windows & Mac

OBS: Open Broadcaster Software
OBS is a software that’s been used in the online streaming world for many years now and it’s a open-source software that helps you incorporate your cameras, media sources, web browsers and more to help you create an experience for people watching your stream. This software is free and is available for Windows and Mac systems and host many features. This software may take a bit longer to set up but they are many online tutorials and resources on Youtube with this process.

StreamLabs Mobile App
This is a software that was originally designed for the video gaming community but has expanded to other forms of streaming. This app helps you stream directly from your mobile devices such as Apple Phone or Android device. This is available for free and available to download through the Apple Store or Google Play Store.

Social Media

Providing clear communication to your congregants through social media can be daunting at times especially when you need to design the posts for different types of social media outlets, i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter. These all need different formats, resolutions and designs. Below are a few options to help you in this area.

Canva
Canva is a powerful cloud-based online software that has thousands of templates for different types of media formats, from social media to postcard & flyer templates. Canva is super easy to use and has myriad of fonts, graphics, clip art and shapes to help you create beautiful content for your church and best of all it’s free!