Jennifer Griffin Smith is CMO of Brightcove, the leader in broadcast quality video for business broadcast-quality
In-person, group worship is a basic tenet of many religions – and has been for thousands of years. But places of worship are now exploring new ways of sharing their message. In fact, video has become a key tool as faith leaders seek to connect their communities, widen their reach and adapt to the demands of modern life.
Let’s take a closer look at how video platforms are changing the way we worship for the better.
- Keeping your community connected
Video platforms played a crucial role throughout the pandemic in helping places of worship remain operational. Arguably, this was a period where people needed their faith the most, but couldn’t worship together in-person, thanks to global social distancing restrictions.
To plug the gap, many places of worship turned to video to stay connected, including:
- Virtual events: This includes live streaming services and hosting interactive meetings for prayer and religious study.
- On-demand streaming: This allows members to pick content that’s relevant to them. Perhaps they want to catch up on a missed sermon? Or prepare for a specific religious milestone (e.g. marriage, confirmation, bar/bat mitzvah)?
- A TV channel: An always-on TV channel lets your members discover new faith-based content and can provide companionship and guidance 24/7.
- Widening your reach
The truth is that many of us can’t show up to the same physical place of worship each week. Modern life makes this near impossible. Consider shift workers, college students who move between their campus and hometown, traveling business people, or mobile logistics workers as examples. Live Streams, virtual events and on-demand content are great ways to reach these people, wherever they might be.
Video is also a fantastic way to open your community to outsiders – people who might never have spoken to an imam, a priest or a rabbi – educating them about your religious practices. After all, faith leaders understand that education is the best way to dispel religious prejudice and create mutual understanding.
We’ve seen some great examples of this over the past year. The #NunTok trend skyrocketing in popularity on TikTok is just one! But there are plenty more across all religions. For instance, #jewish has over 3.5 billion views associated with it on TikTok and #islam has even more at 73.3 billion – and counting. Another example happened after the passing of Thich Nhat Hahn, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, peace activist, poet, author and founder of the Plum Village. His funeral was live streamed for several days and people from all over the world were able to see a Buddhist procession and share their condolences.
- Enabling convenient study
The study of holy books, as well as the work of scholars and philosophers, is important in many religions. Such texts – especially those that are hundreds or even thousands of years old – can feel inaccessible. There’s a huge opportunity for faith-based organizations to create engaging video content that brings these valuable ideas to life. Especially given that research shows viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it on video, compared to 10% when reading it in a text.
What’s more, video platforms are a valuable tool to connect religious minorities with like minded individuals. Take the example of a practicing Muslim living in a small US town during the month of Ramadan. Fasting can feel isolating and difficult without the moral support of others who share their faith. Virtual events like online Iftar meals (where Muslims break their fast together) or Quran study groups (reading the Quran daily is important during Ramadan) can be game changers.
Of course, video will never replace in-person worship. But there are many ways that faith-based organizations can harness it to enhance what they do. From scheduling livestreams, to providing playback options, to hosting a place for members to connect worldwide – the benefits of video will remain an important element to how congregations worship going forward. Faith leaders need only be limited by their own imaginations!