Digital Resources

Welcome to our Digital Resources Hub
Full of digital downloads, practical advice, and free resources to support and equip your church.

Digital Enabler

These resources have been put together by Elliot Crippen who has been in the role of Digital Enabler for Yorkshire North and East Methodist District since 2018. Elliot's particular areas of expertise are in a Methodist approach to social media, graphic design, and photography. He's also a leading voice in pioneering fresh expressions of online church. For further help or advice, you can contact Elliot at:

Why is digital important for the church?

The online world holds huge opportunities for the church to utilise, and is a core part of Our Calling and the Evangelism & Growth Strategy, providing a means to reach people with our message where they are: online. We live in an increasingly digital age and our methods must change to reach a new generation. Now, more than ever, the church must strive to explore how we can use these digital tools for worship, evangelism, discipleship, mission, and ministry.

Most recent resouces

Artificial Intelligence for churches
Find thoughts, resources, discussion and advice on using AI in a church context. Including tips for ways you can use AI to make mundane processes quicker, ideas for worship, and examples of how to creatively utilise this new technology in our faith exploration. 

2024 Social Media Masterclass by Elliot
A missional approach to social media for Methodists – Learn a new approach to church social media and how to reach people outside your building along with some tips and examples of what to post online. Keep up to date with current trends and how the basics of social media have changed over the last few years. Watch the 15 min video now in full, or it’s broken down into 6 sections that you can engage with separately.

As part of my role as Digital Enabler, I get to dream of what the future might look like (with technology and church), and then help make it happen! I’ve written this article to express the vision I’m working towards and to help steer the (local and national) church in our thinking around “online church” in a Methodist context. Give this a read.

Church Social Media Graphics and Methodist Photography Bank
Free downloads for churches, created by Elliot Crippen, District Digital Enabler. Over 100 pre-made social media templates that have been designed to work for local Methodist Churches. A Photography Bank containing 100 high-quality photographs taken by Elliot in Methodist Churches around Yorkshire.

Digital Training

"How to" and Information Guides

Find below guides on a range of digital and online topics – created by our Digital Communications Enabler. All are PDF Documents: (click the red heading text and the document will open in a new tab. You can then choose to read it online or download it)

From the Connexion...

Getting Started Online is a new course in 2023 from the Methodist Church exploring our place in the digital world. It’s made up of 24 short videos.

Find out more here:

Watch all the training videos on YouTube here

Training videos from Elliot...

Over the past 5 years Elliot Crippen has done various videos to help resource local churches, these include:

  • Social Media masterclass (2024)
  • Social Media trends for churches 2023
  • Social Media trends for churches 2022
  • Social Media trends for churches 2021
  • Understanding online platforms for church safeguarding

Watch all the training videos on YouTube here

Copyright FAQs
A document by the district to try and collate and simplify some of the commonly asked questions around copyright for online worship. Pdf document that opens in a new tab. Take a look here:
District Online Worship Copyright FAQs (pdf)

Methodist Copyright Guidance 
A detailed page on the Methodist Church website giving guidance on copyright for online worship

Getting to grips with copyright (URC online pdf)
A helpful guide by the United Reformed Church on copyright and the options available.

Licensing explained for streaming worship songs in the UK (Resound Worship)
Useful background to help you understand how copyright and licensing works, including guidance on what you need for online worship

Copyright Explained – The Bigger Picture (Methodist Blog)
A blog post on the Methodist Website by Miss Beth Dufour, Freelance Permissions Editor from ClearPermissions, helping to explain copyright and how to avoid copyright infringements and potential fines.

Hybrid and Blended Events

Returning to in-person gatherings is a gift, but we need to remember that live streaming / online worship / online meetings are here to stay, and it is especially important in this transitional season as people continue to have varying levels of comfort with in-person gatherings. Hybrid / blended / mixed-economy options are often a great solution. There is a distinction here between hybrid business meetings and doing hybrid church services – the equipment and setup for each might vary depending on the scale. The below resources are to assist with both – also see our Online Worship guidance

Tips for Hybrid Church Services:

(adapted from the CofE)

A mixed-ecology or hybrid church service is not just a normal service in a church building that is livestreamed or recorded. In order for people joining in online to feel as much part of the congregation as people in the building, it really helps to think through how you might change or adapt the structure and content of your service to make it engaging and enable everyone to worship and learn through it.
Duration: It is hard for people to sit through a long church service if they are watching it on a screen. 30 to 45 minutes is a good length to keep people engaged all the way through.
Content: If you watch a TV news programme or magazine programme like Blue Peter or The One Show you will see that it is broken up into lots of different segments and short lines of script. Similarly, an online church service will be easier to watch if there are not too many long blocks of
speech or the same shot on just one person for a long time. It may mean adapting the liturgy (spoken words and prayers) you use to be shorter, involving more people up-front, or varying your camera shots.
Variety A hybrid service that features several people will be more interesting than a service led by just one person. Think about how you can involve different people in the various sections of the service. Those watching also enjoy seeing someone they know pop up on the screen. However, having a core rota of 3 or 4 service leaders/presenters is helpful to build a sense of familiarity and consistency for those watching online. (A bit like knowing all the presenters on Countryfile or The Great British Bake Off!)
Inclusive: Make sure you spend time welcoming your online congregation and introduce yourself at the beginning of the service. Address the camera/s directly at various points in the service. If there is a part of the service they won’t be able to see, make sure you describe what is happening offcamera.

If you’re looking for a more advanced or long term soloution, you may need to install permenent equipment in your church – such as PTZ cameras, audio-visual desk, screens etc.

Here are some options for compainies that supply and install this type of equipment in North Yorkshire that other churches have used:

These additional topics may be of interest, as they directly or indirectly relate to hybrid worship and blended events:

Online Worship (including filming tips, livestreaming, and using Zoom)

Copyright and licences

Digital Strategy

Digital Safeguarding

Contact our Digital Communications Enabler:

Elliot Crippen

Equipment recommendations for online and hybrid services (CofE Article)
A six-page document outlining some equipment options for hybrid services

A step-by-step guide to online and onsite services (CofE Blog)
This resource combines missional and digital wisdom from the Church of England to inspire and inform churches planning for the post-covid online world.

Plan the Best Hybrid Zoom Event (external blog)
Walkthrough for small hybrid events (not church-focused), such as meetings, with simple tips and suggestions.

Hybrid Church: blending online and offline community
(Premier Digital – Pete Philips)
An article that explores some of the themes from the Grove booklet on Hybrid Church written by Pete Philips

How to host a hybrid meeting (external blog)
Explore how charities can successfully hold meetings catering for both virtual and in-person attendees as the world of work goes hybrid

Digital Discipleship

Building community online: what’s at stake? Quite simply, massively increased inclusion and participation. A piece of research undertaken by the URC Yorkshire Synod shows that the option to join services, meetings, and other events can increase potential participation by more than 80%. People report that shifting church online during the pandemic has led, in many cases, to:

• Increased numbers at services, Bible studies, prayer meetings,
youth groups, clubs, community outreach events etc.
• Increased regular attendance
• Increased levels of personal contact and pastoral care
• Increased sense of belonging and membership

A digital space, in other words, for a shared journey of discipleship. The fellowship, inclusion, and connection that are made possible by technology are also demanded by the call to follow Jesus faithfully in today’s world. We need to think about an online presence in terms of community building – interactive, mutually beneficial, and adding value to peoples lives. 

More resources coming soon…

As a starting point take a look at our guidance on Filming Video from Home and Live Streaming from Church Buildings – both of which are located on our Online Worship Page 


  • The best platforms for developing online communities are Facebook Groups, Zoom, and WhatsApp. Facebook Pages, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram are all more for outreach and less suited to building personal relationships.
  • Trying to build community with everyone all at once is difficult, the better way is to encourage and organise online small groups
  • Do more than just online worship – look at options for mid week content, such as online bible studies, prayer meetings, coffee mornings, social gatherings, dicussion nights, games evenings, online alpha course, or ‘Ted Talk’ style thought provoking content with special guest speakers.
  • Provide options for ‘next steps’ if people are interested or wanting to move from ‘pasive veiwer’ to engaging in deeper conversation and real community. Don’t wait for them to come to you, be pro-active in encouraging people to take the next step in developing their faith. Just remember that the end goal shouldn’t be to get them to your physical church building! (although not everything has to take place soley online – think about hybrid, mixed-economy, and fully online options. Hold events in-person and online, but don’t just expect the next step from online worship to be turning up on a sunday morning)
  • In order to achieve the above, you need to be running several ‘styles’ of online content that cater to people’s different places on the spectrum of how invovled they want to be – you can’t form true online comunity or really develop people’s discipleship just by doing an hour online worship on a sunday. Maybe you could do morning prayer live on Facebook, which is an easy access point for ‘passive viewers’ but can also develop an online community around it, and then one ‘next step’ in discipleship might be to offer deeper online content in the form of alpha, or a long-from podcast, zoom bible study. Or it might be to invite people to join a Facebook Group, or WhatsApp group, where they can continue the discussion or prayer, and build on relationships with others. A next step on from this might be to organise ‘small groups’, or discussion groups that meet (online or in-person) to engage with the podcast or other long-form material. 

These additional topics may be of interest, as they directly or indirectly relate to digital discpleship:

Online Worship 

Social Media Help

Digital Strategy

Digital Safeguarding

Contact our Digital Communications Enabler:

Elliot Crippen

Doing Online Differently: A roadmap for digital discipleship (URC guide)
A great practical guide by the URC church looking at how we can build online community for discipleship

Ten ways to do online Church without losing community  (external blog)
Some great tips on ways to keep a sense of community when moving church online.

Seven ways to create community online (external blog)
Ideas for providing more than your typical church service online

Five ways to build community with your church social media (external blog)
Conversation and community are happening online whether churches participate or not. A major goal of the church is to “be where the people are,” so if your church is leaving out digital spaces like social media platforms, you’re missing a huge opportunity to connect with people. Here are the five tips to help you build community through church social media.

Digital Safeguarding

Comprehensive District Guidance

A detailed list of FAQs that help unpack Methodist safeguarding policy in an online context, including resources to help with practical application of this guidance.

This resource has taken a year to produce, and is a long document (over 45 pages) – it is not intended to be read cover to cover. It will hopefully answer a specific question you have, and is a resource you may want to keep revisiting. If you are looking to get an overview and general understanding you may want to skim through the “short answers” and look at the first FAQ in each section. The contents of this document have been created by Katy Spencer-Madden (previous District Safeguarding Officer) and Elliot Crippen (District Digital Enabler).

Digital Safeguarding Best Practice Reference Document

General Safeguarding policies, guidance, and support can be found here:

Read Elliot’s blog on the Methodist Church website for Safer Internet Day 2023:

In our District...


Numbers of churches in our District that have their own website, Facebook Page, Twitter account or Instagram profile – based on findings in the District Digital Review undertaken between Sep to Dec 2018

Around 54.2% of our district churches have no online presence

*based on findings between Sep-Dec 2018. Churches without a website or any social media account managed by the church

Online and Digital Giving

This section covers some guidance and suggestions around online giving (such as online payments through a church website) and contactless payments (such as having a contactless collection plate in church).

Here are some good options for online giving platforms that come recommended by others: (in no particular order)

District Contactless Giving Guidance Document (word doc)
A guidance document was created by the district in 2019 on contactless giving options for churches.

Online and contactless giving at local churches (URC online pdf)
A guidance document by the United Reformed Church that runs through the technological solutions for giving at churches, both online and contactless. 

External Resources

Here are some suggested external resources that we have signposted for you on all aspects of digital communications for churches: