You may be trying to navigate the new normal of hosting kids church online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few apps to consider, and no matter which one you use, read these 5 tips for engaging kids through video to make it the best possible experience for everyone involved!
FACEBOOK LIVE – So far, this seems to be the most popular platform for online children’s ministry. Why? Because most parents are already on FaceBook and familiar with how to use it. When you go Live on Facebook, families can interact by leaving comments in real-time. Plus, the video stays on your church’s FB page for those families who couldn’t watch it live. I love this platform because it encourages parents to watch with their kids, giving them a glimpse into what Sunday mornings in the kids area looks like and encouraging family faith conversations.
YOUTUBE/YOUTUBE LIVE – Upload your videos to a ministry YouTube page, then share the links to the video through other platforms like FaceBook, email, on your church website, etc. YouTube Live does allow real-time interactions and commenting, but it may not be as user-friendly for your families as Facebook. Also keep in mind that it may take 24 hours to get access to live streaming as YouTube will need to verify your account. Once activated, you can go live instantly.
ZOOM – Unlike the other platforms, Zoom allows all participants to speak and interact in real-time through video and audio. You could even set up breakout rooms in your Zoom call with each of your small groups if that works for your ministry! Zoom also gives you the capability to share your screen to play online screen games (like these) or show videos (like worship videos or curriculum videos). Even though this video is geared toward hosting youth ministry through Zoom, it’s still applicable to hosting children’s ministry through Zoom too.
WHATSAPP – This app is perfect for families who may not have access to a computer or the internet! It’s a simple, secure, and reliable messaging app that allows you to share videos and text messages with groups of people. Our mission partners at the Path Project are using WhatsApp to stay connected with their children in mobile home communities. They’re sharing a short video (even a simple one like one community director reading a book to her 2-year-old), and then in the video, asking kids to text in their answer to a question. See Path Project use WhatsApp in action here.
EMAIL – It’s hard to beat the tried and true email! Include links to videos, printables, and even full lesson ideas. Use email to communicate your plan for online church (and download our free communication pack with email templates to help you get started!)
COMBINATION – Or maybe you use a combination of several platforms above? Host a FB Live on Sunday, use WhatsApp for your Wednesday night programming, then share a YouTube video via email on Fridays! The more platforms and methods you use, the wider your reach will be.