Assurance Relieves Anxiety

People need to be assured that the church is taking the necessary steps to ensure safe practices for whatever may arise during this time. Let people know, the church staff and leadership will be diligent in staying in consistent communication on how the church will stay connected during this time and when it is safe to return to church.

Love Feast - An Alternative to Communion

It is not permitted to administer communion virtually.  However, we do recommend offering another form of the means of grace through, the Love Feast. The Love Feast is a meal celebrating fellowship and unity while remembering the meals that Jesus shared with his disciples during his ministry.  John Wesley first experienced the Love Feast with the Moravians in 1737 and wrote in his diary, “After evening prayers, we joined the Germans in one of their love feasts.  It was begun and ended with thanksgiving and prayer, and celebrated in so decent and solemn a manner as a Christian of the apostolic age would have allowed to be worthy of Christ.” The Love Feast is celebrated especially in times when celebrating communion is deemed inappropriate – particularly when no one is physically present who is qualified to administer the Sacrament.

  • Love Feast - An Alternative to Communion

    Love Feast - An Alternative to Communion

    It is not permitted to administer communion virtually. However, we do recommend offering another form of the means of grace through, the Love Feast. The Love Feast is a meal celebrating fellowship and unity while remembering the meals that Jesus shared with his disciples during his ministry. (updated 3.26.20)

Children's Online Worship Suggestions

Online Worship

  • When planning to do online worship, there are several platforms available. Some of the most common are Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Zoom, and Periscope. All of these are free platforms accessible by phone, tablet, or computer. As well, Zoom offers the added benefit of allowing people to simply call in, which is a great asset for those who may not have access to internet devices. Click here for technology resources.
  • Plan the online service ahead of time. Advertise the expected length so people can plan accordingly. Thirty minutes is a great time window for brief liturgy/music and a message. Sixty minutes is a good maximum recommended length for full services.
  • If you have online giving setup, before you go live, be sure to post how to access this on the livestream. To use, GNJ’s online giving portal for local churches, click here.  
  • Use a steady camera. It is not a good idea to have someone (or you) simply holding the camera while streaming live. Use a stand of some sort.
  • If there is only one camera to record, try to stand still (unless there is a gimbal that will steadily move the camera around.)
  • Livestreaming music requires a livestreaming copyright license. Otherwise only livestream the sermon portion of the service, but be mindful that material used must be your original work unless otherwise approved for public performance. Breakthrough materials are public domain and okay for livestreaming. If  sermons from books or sites are used such as SermonCentral or SermonSpice, these sermons  may not be livestreamed. See this link for more information on livestream copyrights.
  • When livestreaming the sermon, do a test run first to make sure the audio is clear on a cellphone or tablet. Make adjustments accordingly. Keep the camera still and try to avoid placing it somewhere people might walk in front of it, blocking the view of the preacher.
  • One License  covers a lot of copy rights for music…it is free until April 15- no payment information need be given. Council of Churches has given permission for NRSV and RSV translations.
  • Be sure to offer a giving option whether via your church website, an app, mail, or via the GNJ online giving portal where offerings can be made online and sent to your local church.
  • Give people a time expectancy for how long the service will be.
  •  Either send out something for families to do with kids or offer a children’s message towards the beginning of the service (perhaps after the opening music).
  • For people hard of hearing or deaf, YouTube offers free closed captioning if you pre-record the service. Also you can have a sign language interpreter on screen (via inviting them to the facebook livestream) signing as you preach.
  • UMC has granted free permission for book of worship content, and the hymnal. You still need a livestreaming license for all other content. Onelicense.net has offered free licenses until April 15.

Service Line-up

  • Open with a brief greeting. Encourage people to interact by commenting, praying and singing along, etc.
  • Do a brief centering (prayer, short call to worship, or litany) to set the tone for worship.
  • Song (if possible, if not go straight to the message)
  • Message
  • Prayer. Invite people to comment their prayer requests. If using Zoom, they can do this in the chat window, or un-mute everyone for a brief moment to allow them to speak their prayer requests.
  • Invite people to take a moment to give either now or as soon as the service is over. Remind them that they can still give via mail, or give through online banking  automatic withdrawal) that it will still be functioning.
  • Closing Prayer/Benediction

Funeral Best Practices

Download this comprehensive resource for guidance on how to manage funerals during this time.  It includes information on pastoral care, livestreaming services and mourning during this time of social distancing.

Funeral Best Practices

Piano Accompaniment Recordings

Discipleship Ministries has made available piano accompaniment recordings of familiar hymns for use in streaming.  Check it out here.

Free Graphics

Lightstock.com is offering free graphic resources for churches during COVID-19. Click here. 

For more information, contact: