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Coronavirus: Digital tools for discipleship in the local church.

Craig Philbrick
Mar 17 · 5 min read

UPDATED: 28 MARCH 2020 V.8.

Public worship may have been suspended but the ministry and mission of Jesus continues.

So how do you start doing things digitally?

Here’s a live blog where I’ll be posting links to helpful and important advice as we navigate this together. Do share anything you find in the comments below and I’ll happily add it here.

Some general wisdom and advice that’s already out there:

  1. Some advice from Christians in Singapore on how your congregations can respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  2. Arun Arora: We need clean hands and open hearts to tackle coronavirus outbreak.
  3. Remarks made at St Martin-in-the-Fields on 15 March 2020 by the Revd Dr Sam Wells.
  4. The Church of England’s Digtital Labs Learning blogs, which offer help and advice for churches on a range of digital platforms and tools.
  5. Why God’s hybrid Church is still open for business by Pete Philips.
  6. The Church of England has published a very helpful new resources, on Mental Health and Wellbeing.
  7. Why does God allow this to happen? A very difficult question but one I’m sure we all have asked. Vince taught me at Oxford and I commend his response to you know.
  8. ‘Living in Plague Times’ by Philip Yancey brings together many different perspectives on the problem of suffering.

Streaming services?

  1. Here’s a beginner’s guide to going live with your service or event for free.
  2. Simon Hill has some helpful guidance on video Conferencing with Young People.
  3. Phil Thomson’s practical guide on How to Livestream Your Church Service.
  4. CBN have an article on how to stream your Church service on Facebook Live.
  5. Open Broadcaster Software is a free and open-source cross-platform streaming and recording program that plug into Facebook Live and others.
  6. CCLI have a concise article on recording, streaming and podcasting your services.
  7. The Church Online Platform is more than a video player. It claims to equip you to create community with your congregations and has moderation for comments and a Bible integration.

Podcasting and music?

  1. The Rev Bryony Taylor has a video that will get you going.
  2. A note about livestreaming and song licensing in churches.
  3. Here’s a list of songs in the public domain.
  4. SovereignGraceMusic have offered their music license FREE during this time. They just ask that you include the copyright information for each song used.
  5. For capturing quality sound with a plug and play microphone, we like the Rode Wireless GO – it’s cheap, easy to use and effective.
  6. Soul Survivor offer live songs that you can use in your churches.
  7. The wonderful people at iSingWorship “are very happy for any songs from iSingWorship (or our sister project: Worship Lyric Videos) to be streamed over the internet for the purposes of providing services for your congregation.”
  8. Vineyard Churches have put together a helpful article to explain the legalities around licensing worship songs, having spoken to CCLI and PRS For Music on your behalf.

Virtual Eucharist?

  1. A chaplaincy in the Diocese in Europe has taken a pioneering lead in responding to the current Coronavirus outbreak, making an online recording of a Sunday Eucharist service.
  2. A digital Eucharist by Hans Googer.
  3. Chris Ridgeway ask if our daily digital culture has shaped our interactions to the point that human presence is not synonymous to physicality.
  4. Christ is Really Present Virtually: A Proposal for Virtual Communion by Dr. Thompson.

Small groups?

  1. Zoom will let you share pastoral issues privately for 40 minutes completely free.
  2. To support mental wellbeing in this season, Sanctuary Ministries have made The Sanctuary Course available for FREE. Simply use the code “mentalhealth” at checkout to receive a 100% discount for the next month (discount code expires April 18, 2020).
  3. Vscene will help you share screens on any device.
  4. Google hangouts is another free tool.
  5. Alpha have an online film series that can be downloaded and used in small groups.
  6. Check out the Bridgetown Daily podcast for daily meditations on scripture, a quote, or the life of a saint to ground you in God and his peace.
  7. #LiveLent: Care for God’s Creation is the Church of England’s Lent Campaign for 2020. Available as a booklet, emails or an app.
  8. Soultime is a Christian meditation app for daily meditations, relaxation and anxiety relief.
  9. Spiritual freedom, a deeper relationship with Jesus, and finding God in all things are three basic precepts of Ignatian Spirituality.
  10. Lectio 365 is a FREE daily devotional resource that helps you pray the bible every day.

Prayer resources:

  1. Pete Greig and 24–7 Prayer have written a prayer for the deliverance from COVID-19.
  2. Find complete services for Morning, Evening and Night Prayer from the Church of England with this official Daily Prayer app.
  3. The Church of England have many helpful liturgies and prayer resources.
  4. Here are some prayer for those who are infected with COVID-19 or facing quarantine from World Vsion.
  5. The Time to Pray App presents everything you need for Prayer During the Day, with variations according to the day of the week and the season of the Church’s year. It’s now FREE.

Community support initiatives?

  1. As part of #viralkindess campaign you can print and share cards listing how you can help.

Other really helpful and FREE resoruces:

  1. Lost Type is a collaborative digital type foundry.
  2. Canva is a simplified graphic-design tool website app.
  3. Pixlr is a robust browser-based photo editor.
  4. Adobe Spark is a great media creation application for your desktop or device.
  5. Unsplash is a community where you can get stock photography.
  6. Iconmonstr offers free icons for your next project.
  7. Bitly will shorten your URLs and let you track what is gaining traction and what isn’t.
  8. Pexels offers free stock photos that you can use anywhere.
  9. Hootsuite will let you manage your communications across yours social sites.
  10. During this time, iKnow Church is offering a free resource for churches to use to help maintain communication and interaction with their community.
  11. Achurchnearyou will let those in your community know when you’re open for prayer.
  12. Typeform will help you create online forms for collecting information.
  13. Google Alerts will let you track keys words and stories within you local community so that you can keep track on the news.

It’s time for us to be the church without walls: a place that connects communities together, keeps hope alive, and demonstrates that peace that only Jesus Christ can bring. Now is the time to be a great neighbour. Now is the time to preach the gospel and to keep our heads.

This is our faith.

One last thing…

If you liked this article, click the 👏 below so other people will see it here on Medium. Thanks!

Craig Philbrick

Written by

Assistant Curate at Christ Church Winchester. Husband, Dad and fan of animated GIFs.

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