Wivenhoe Community Church GoPro camera Baptism – 2019 Video
Read the reasoning behind putting it online below
Wivenhoe Community Church was founded by Dirk and Adele Paterson several years ago, the story of how the church started is amazing and hopefully one day can go online as well. The baptism was a simple ceremony, and the previous weeks sermon had been spent on the baptism by John of Jesus
Reasoning behind filming the baptism:
So people who are in the ‘unable to attend’ part of our community, can get to see it if they are able to
Its hard for people to come to Faith, especially if you’ve never had any connection with it in your life previously. The more we use technology to enable that part of a community to ENGAGE, the better – It gives people the opportunity to see and hear what goes on in a church setting as well as letting people who are unable to attend, the opportunity to see them online
Many people cannot come to church, because they have problems with being:-
- Disabled/getting older, not as mobile as they used to be
- Anxious and have nobody to accompany them
- Unsure whether they would be received in a church environment as they have never been a believer
- Unsure how a service is run, where to go; when to sit, when to stand
- Whether it will cost them anything, in commitment or finance
- Whether they will be expected to volunteer straight away
Many people come into a church for the first time because they’ve read somewhere that the church may be fund raising, and looking for ideas to help them expand their reach within their community – They’ve become curious and/or have an idea how they can achieve this
By having an idea of how something can be achieved, in some churches/organisations, you appear to be expected to implement it as well, a reason many people don’t become involved is because they feel to give an idea means they will be ‘pounced on‘ to run it – NOT everybody wants, or can do that – but are willing to give ideas which may help
A lot of community based organisations or churches complain the community doesn’t support what they do, or, they can’t seem to engage with them – It makes you realise there are several areas of the community which can’t, and probably never will be able to get to your service or event – So you have to try and reverse the approach – Not expect them to ‘come to you’
So how can you give the community who can’t get to you, the chance to be involved?
We do have the internet, although it will always exclude some sections of the community, it does allow the opportunity to provide online, the chance to see services and events, for those who are able to access it, if the media is ‘just done and put online‘
A ‘stopper’ for some people attending church is the inability to get help to enable them to attend – If you are incapacitated in a way which stops mobility, it can make you feel very vulnerable and unable to ask for help. When your mobility goes, you can become part of a community that suddenly ‘drops-out-of-sight’, and the world for you, changes..
This is the point where the things you loved to do, or, things you would have had the freedom to do if you had wanted when you were mobile.. STOP..
Until you’ve lost your mobility you may think it’s easy to ask for help, but, as your mobility decreases, it becomes harder. Asking for the help simply to go to an event or to church becomes a big issue as it will take some planning – Because YOU have to ask for that help – A lot of people at this stage, simply won’t, for some of the following reasons:
- They feel they are making more work for someone – even asking a ‘Carer’ to take them places can be hard for some people
- If they have to pay its also an added expense – ‘Carer’ time plus Taxis and\or petrol plus meals have to be paid for
- If they are being helped by family members or friends, they worry about asking them to give up more of their time to take them to a specific activity
- It takes planning – from the person who needs it and the person or people who would be taking them – This is usually the point where many none mobile people will not go any further in their quest to go..
When you lose the mobility to get out, it changes everything – How you react, how you ask for things – You can feel Vulnerable, WEAK AND A NUISANCE. Unless you’ve lost mobility to this point of needing help to achieve the most basic day to day tasks, it’s almost impossible to imagine the difference it makes to you, as a person – The word ‘sorry’ seems to be permanently on your lips
That’s why its vitally important to put as much online as you can about your organisation, events (prior to happening, during and after) as you feasibly can – It’s a real way of engaging with parts of a community who cannot possibly get to you as well as inform them you exist, what you do, plus what they can expect if they do visit you
Local community initiatives including churches, are sometimes guilty of not looking after their websites, Facebook, Youtube, blogs or WordPress pages. Keeping them upto date makes a huge difference, the opening times or the address being correct are the most important, but often over looked items, it can make the difference between people attending or not
It’s no longer an excuse for services, businesses, small organisations or local churches to say ‘we don’t have anybody to do it’ – NOW is the imperative time to FIND someone. There will be someone, somewhere, within a community who would be willing to help..
It doesn’t have to be done ‘by a professional’, certainly not to start with.. Once established, it can be reviewed as to whether it needs to be done professionally – You will soon know via feedback, people are not slow to let you know their experiences of your online presence
BUT, what does need to happen, is a change from the long-winded committee mentality of ‘we’ll put it on the agenda for later in the year’ – It needs to be looked at NOW.. Especially if you do not have a presence, or, not much of one. it also needs to be kept on the agenda for being looked at
Involving as many people as you can, keeping it to just one person can invoke ‘ownership issues’ which stops other volunteers from helping, unless of course, its being done by a professional company and its being paid for – That’s a different situation .. This blog post is addressing the smaller places which do not have much of an online presence, but who want the local communities to engage more with them
It normally only takes one or two people to be responsible for loading the content, the more people involved with getting images, text and video, getting the sense of being totally involved with the website, THE BETTER. If it’s a smaller local community initiative, the importance is making sure its done by people who have a bit of knowledge, but who are willing to learn how to do the work more professionally, and if they don’t understand how to do it, then to ASK and be able to ASK for that help
If you have on your team someone who is professional, that’s great, so long as they have the time, maybe that person can see the benefits of training others to do the work with them, which helps keep the site upto date and loaded with new content, all they have to do is oversee it, a win-win situation
There will always be a section of a community that nobody can get to, these will be the people who cannot access the internet
For these people, its a terrible shame, there are many who would give anything for others to teach them, to reach out and show them how to use the available technology most of us take for granted (tablets, smartphones, alexa, google, laptops and computers) so they can use the technology available today, gain the access to view online the events they cannot get to.. Or get Alexa or Google to ‘talk’ to them.. Loneliness really can be lessened with hearing someone respond to your voice.. Even if it’s only Alexa to tell you a joke, or the time, or to remind you to take your pills..
It’s truly amazing how many people over 65 are very computer literate
Its also amazing how many families now have an Amazon ALEXA or GOOGLE device which they set up to give themselves reminders, read messages, tune into particular radio stations, play the music they like or to tell them jokes, the date, the time, weather, news, all with a very human sounding voice – But not many think that an aging relative could do with that same technology to be set up for them to enjoy the freedom of talking and getting devices to tune into local community news so they can hear about local events, services and radio stations – Truly.. Alexa and GOOGLE can become mini friends!
There is a whole section within communities who are hidden, excluded from attending anything that happens within a couple of miles of where they live
How can you begin to address this problem?
Apart from all the above reasons to get online, local churches, community services, organisations, when they PLAN their community outreach, could also allow time to explore and think about: HOW MANY PEOPLE DO I KNOW OF PERSONALLY WHO HARDLY EVER LEAVES HOME – for whatever reason
Start within your own family setting and work out from there – Then see if anybody sees that person, and if they do, can they help them with any form of digital technology to see videos, pictures or access the internet – Has anybody checked with that person what interests they used to have, and would they still be interested in them now if they had the opportunity to view them online – Would that person like to do their OWN online shopping if somebody could show them
This can make an enormous difference to some people, it gives them back the independence for their own food choices, and it can become a fun activity for them to do, letting them retrieve a level of ‘lost’ independence, especially if they’ve had to rely on others to do their shopping and make their choices for them
Video and Audio are two ways of getting engagement and interaction within a community
Unfortunately, there are some churches that appear to have become very ‘set’ in their pattern of engagement – Technology has to be brought into the mix of ‘how to engage’ with the local community more than it has been – Websites are expected to be ‘tele-visual’, not just text and a few images which are left there for months at a time with no changes taking place on the sites
There are many ways of taking video which does not show peoples faces if they are worried about that, (the data protection laws are widely misunderstood, and are used to BLANKET stop most filming and photos where they don’t have to be). A small camera set at the back of a church, zoomed in slightly so it goes over peoples heads can show the sermon being read, and not show faces – Photography and video on public events/ground, laws and guidelines can be viewed online for the UK
Video on events doesn’t have to be ‘top rate’, it just has to show a bit of what the event or service is, 1 minute of video is worth so much for people to see if they can’t attend – More is even better, if not then audio is another medium that allows people to hear it – There are possibly more people out there who would like to know more about bible study…
It’s not putting blame on a particular organisation or church, but engagement by use of technology is now a ‘MUST’ do area if you are community based – It really does not have to be perfect, it just has to be done..
If attendances are falling, yet attempts to engage as much as possible with technology have not been addressed, they will continue to fall, churches do seem to see younger people joining them less, they rely on digital interaction, these are the people who use technology in almost every area of their lives, they appreciate the use of the Internet, even preferring to pay ‘Tithes’ by digital payments, using their smartphones
Many community based operations can miss the point of a web site, Facebook page, Twitter and other social media platforms – They need to spend some time and look at this, see the benefits of how it can be used to help them in their quest to get the messages out in their immediate community, and at little cost, being available once online for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – If used correctly, it can be the cheapest and most effective form of advertising (as well as local leaflet drops). Not put it on an agenda where it will be looked at by a committee in 6 months, which then turns to 1 year before they begin to think positively about tackling it
It needs to go an ’emergency’ area on the agenda – If they don’t and their attendances are falling, it will only continue to go down further..
Action cameras are very small, lightweight and cost negligible amounts – If the church only has a small budget, it could purchase a few, charge them up and hand them to different members of the congregation for a specified short period of time, and ask them to take a tiny amount of video of something related to their church
Whoever looks after the site can load a portion of it (after a little bit of editing) so others can see it… They can also be used to record the events the church does – As for the editing, if there is somebody in the congregation who can do it, give them the opportunity first
If not, there are businesses who could be asked – One may be willing to give an hour or two of time to help, showing people how to use the cameras, and how to do basic editing – If not a business, a local school or University may have somebody who would be willing to help out, come and do a short presentation, you never know what benefits can be found both ways with this approach
If churches think that would be too difficult to do (asking for help with the project), then it highlights how hard it is for the people who are in the forgotten part of the community who can’t ask to access their events/services/churches – These are the people who would appreciate their events, services or sermons, possibly more than some who physically attend them now
At Wivenhoe Community Church they are trying to engage, they know you cannot possibly get to all people who want to be involved in their events – They do realise though, that putting anything online is at least making it be available to those people who may be able to access the internet by themselves
All video and audio put up here on this wordpress site is not ‘professional’, it has hic-cups and stops and starts, the audio is still being learned about, but at least it is there.. Up and available online.. We have a congregation that know each time theres a sermon, it can be recorded, if anybody doesn’t want to be in the video they don’t have to be, and it is possible to blur out just a face if someone definitely doesn’t want to be shown in it..
But, they do understand that everything is done for the benefit of others to see if they want to.. It’s a great community church..