This interview script is minimized and edit for brevity.
Q: Can you share a little history about the Lancaster Baptist Church
The church has been around since about 1881. We are a part of the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada, a part of a larger family Canada Baptist Ministries. Pre-pandemic, we averaged probably a hundred and ten people are so on a Sunday morning.
Q: What is your role at LBC?
I’m the senior pastor, and we have myself, and then we also have a children’s pastor who actually, since March, we haven’t done much in terms of children’s ministry because we have not been able to meet together. Fortunately, he has been a godsend in terms of technology. He has been a huge help in the transition. We didn’t do online streaming or anything beforehand, and now we know we stream and all that sort of stuff. Much of it is thanks to him and his tech abilities and knowledge, which has been huge.
Q: How did PhoneLiveStreaming stand out from other options?
We did not know what options to consider. A friend of mine who’s the pastor here in New Brunswick, I saw him posting this phone number toll-free number, so I messaged him, “What is this toll-free number?” He tells me to message this guy, David Plappert, and he will help you. That’s what I did, and we started using it in March or April.
It just became the best option for us to connect with people who don’t do the internet or don’t have the internet or don’t have internet that’s strong enough or good enough right now. It ended up being one of the only options we had besides letting people go and forgetting about it.
Q: How do you use PhoneLiveStreaming today?
It started in March or April. We didn’t really have you know streaming capability. We bought a camera and that sort of thing, and we began to record our services. We prerecorded everything, and then we just posted them as you don’t like Facebook and YouTube Premiere. Then with PhoneLiveStreaming when we got that, we just started to upload that recording of the audio to PhoneLIveStreaming. This was great because it was incredibly easy. Even if you don’t have somebody who knows technology very well can figure it out. It was great, and that helped us. That helped us to get the service out to people, mainly seniors, who don’t handle the technology very well. It gives them the ability to stay connected to the church, which has been a huge benefit for us.
We would go live on the phone at the same time our service would go live on Facebook and YouTube. The people that signed up to get the phone call their phone would ring, and they were in the service. My mother is one of them to get the phone call, and she would listen to the service on the phone.
At the end of September, we actually began to meet in person again. We said we can’t go backward. We have to continue to do what we’ve been doing because we still have people who don’t feel comfortable yet being in groups of people in the midst of the pandemic. We have some people who are shut-ins. Even if we are meeting in person and everybody wanted to, they can’t. So, we said we got to continue to stream one way or another.
We started the in-person services and will also begin to stream live directly to the phone and Facebook. The live streaming to the phone has also been received really well from the folks that are have been listening. Of course, there has been some dropped in terms of the streaming because we were meeting in person now. Some people are really eager to get back in person. Others are still listening on the phone and appreciate that we’ve kept that going.
Q: How would you recommend PhoneLiveStreaming to other pastors?
It’s has been absolutely a beautiful thing for the people who are shut-ins and normally wouldn’t have been able to get out to service. Those folks have been able to catch the service now that wouldn’t have before. It is a wonderful benefit for them to be able to feel like they’re still connected and still a part of the church family.
The other reality for us has been that it also gives us another option in terms of getting the word out about things that we might need to get word to some of these people, who when we make a post on Facebook would not get it. Not everybody has Facebook not everybody gets emails. So we know that this group of people using PhoneLiveStreaming with us if we do an audio message and can put it on that line, they’ll get it. They can’t say they didn’t have it. Now they have it. So, it has been a huge benefit for those kinds of people.
Q: How do you use the PhoneLiveStreaming dashboard to monitor who is listening?
We check it every Monday morning. I just came at a staff meeting, and so we use the dashboard to check out how it’s gone and terms of who’s been listening.
We had a surge in our region, and so our government is pulling us back into a different phase of the pandemic and change the rules a little bit. So, we would still be allowed to meet in person. Still, we feel that to be the safest sort of thing for our people, us, and for our neighbors, the wise thing for us to do was again to go back to strictly online for now until the government sets us back into this stage we were in before. We had a surge in cases.
Now that’s just the way the cookie crumbled this year, and it’s 20 20. There’s a lot of crumbling cookies.
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