Digital Resources

Welcome to our District Digital Resources Hub – full of digital downloads, practical advice and resources. Guidance for beginners and experts alike, this page has been put together by our Digital Communications Enabler and is updated regularly.

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Full District advice, initiatives and resources can be found here: www.yorkshirenemethodist.org/coronavirus

Digital Tools Index
If you’re looking for digital tools to assist your church in the current situation, whether around live streaming or effective church comms or how to use digital to reach out, then this resource is very useful. The document is “a crowdsourced index of useful digital communication tools for church leaders, communications teams & church staff to refer to during the coronavirus outbreak.” https://covid.churcheshandbook.co.uk

Online Worship FAQ Page
A brand new webpage on the district website covering all aspects of online worship and the commonly asked questions, from video & live streaming equipment, to Church WiFi and Copyright guidance. Take a look here:
District Online Worship FAQ page

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)

District Online Worship Library

A bank of resources and assets (videos, music, prayers, talks etc.) for use in online worship – sharing content from around the district.

To access the library, please click here

Digital Communications Enabler

These Digital Resources have been complied by our Digital Communications Enabler, Elliot Crippen, who has been working for the District since 2018 in one of the only roles of its kind in the Methodist Chuch. Elliot brings expertise in social media, web design, video production, graphic design and photography, amoung other areas.

For further help or advice you can contact Elliot at: digital@yorkshirenemethodist.org  

Elliot works 4 days a week for the District and 1 day a week for the Communications Team of the Methodist Church.

Guidance: Live Streaming from Churches

Live Streaming is to transmit or receive live video and audio over the Internet. In other words, it’s about broadcasting real-time experiences to an online audience. It’s not a platform or website but rather a method of communication and can be achieved through many different ways. Many churches have started live streaming services from home over lockdown, and many have started doing simple morning prayers via Facebook Live. However, as more church buildings begin to re-open, many are looking to live stream services from church buildings.

There’s a huge range of equipment you can use to live stream services (or anything else) depending on what quality you want to go for, or what you have availiable. Here’s a few examples of live streaming setups you could use (there are many other options, but these are common methods):

Simple:

  • Smartphone or tablet
  • Tripod, stand or somewhere to prop the device
  • Internet (either WiFi or mobile data
  • optional – external microphone for your phone

Medium:

  • A decent webcam / home video camera or budget camcorder / DLSR camera
  • Tripod or stand
  • HDMI cable (to get the video signal out from the camera – unless you are using a webcam)
  • Capture card device (converts the signal so it can be used – unless you are using a webcam)
  • Laptop / computer
  • Strong internet (WiFi or wired connection)
  • optional – external mircophone for camera
  • optional – streaming software to allow more flexibility

Advanced:

  • Multiple video cameras (you need cameras with a clean HDMI output)
  • Multiple tripods
  • Video Mixing Desk
  • Multiple microphones
  • Sound Desk
  • HDMI cables and audio cables to connect from the mixing desks to a computer
  • Hardware encoder
  • Good quality laptop or computer
  • Streaming software (recommended: OBS)
  • Strong internet (preferably wired)

When it comes to equipment it’s often best to start with what you already have available. It’s not always necessary to go out and immediately buy lots of expensive equipment.

Live streaming equipment can be very pricey if you go all out. If you are looking to fully equip your church building for permanent live streaming, you could be looking at around £5,000-£10,000
Here’s an example scoping document from a church in York for costing a more advance setup: view here

However below are some budget options that may be of use if you don’t know where to start…

Cameras:

  • Smartphone with decent camera. The cheapest way to start livestreaming is to use your phone.
  • Logitech Pro Stream Webcam – a simple but high quality webcam that could be used for live streaming from home or from church. Approx. £160

  • Zoom Q2n-4K – a 4k camera aimed at musicians as it has a great built in microphone and is the perfect tool for capturing live music (if you don’t want to use external mics). Approx. £220 – £260

  • Panasonic HC-V770 HD Camcorder – a great budget camcorder that gives you lots of flexibility for livestreaming from a church building. Particularly with the 20x optical zoom and external mic input. Approx. £340
  • DLSR camera and lens – you may find that someone in your congregation already owns a decent DLSR camera that can be used for filming, and they are a good middle ground option. Buying new will cost anywhere between: £500 – £1,000
  • Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and lens. High end portable camera for streaming. Body cost: £1,055. Recommended lens Panasonic 35-100mm f2.8 cost: £850

External Microphones:

  • If you’re livestreaming from a church building the cheapest (and best) way is to use your existing church microphones and sound desk.
  • Lavalier Microphone – cheap lapel clip mic to attach to a person or lecturn. You can get wired or wireless versions. Approx. £5 – £10

  • RØDE Lavalier Microphone – same as above but made by Rode who make high quality and trustworthy microphones. Approx. £55
  • Movo VXR10 Universal Video Microphone with Shock Mount – great for DLSR cameras to use from a distance. Could also be used with a smartphone or laptop. Small and portable. Approx. £30

  • Podcasting microphone – great for use at home plugged into a computer. Approx. £22
  • Small RØDE Microphone – ideal for smartphone or tablet. Approx. £45

Other:

  • Tripod: Tripod kits that comprise a set of legs and a head can range in price from around £10 for a flimsy, often unbranded option, to about £1,250 for a top-of-the-range option. Keep in mind that some tripods are sold as legs only, while others are sold as a kit with a tripod head included. Here is a good mid-range option from Manfrotto. Approx. £160 + head attachment approx. £20-£60. Or a cheaper option is this Hama tripod is approx. £45 + head attachment approx. £20-£60.
  • Video Capture Card: again there’s a range of options available from this cheap option at only £9. Or the branded option of Elgato Cam Link 4K which is £120
  • Streaming Software – we would recommend OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) which is free

YouTube:
YouTube provides great flexibility as a platform to stream to. It’s also a really accessible platform to choose as those who are not on social media can easily watch without an account, and can easily be embedded on your website. YouTube is the best platform to stream to if you have a more medium or advanced setup (it’s not possible to stream to YouTube from a mobile device unless you have 1,000 subscribers on your channel). It’s unlikely that people will naturally discover you live stream on YouTube unless they already subcribe to your channel, so you may need to do more work promoting it.

Facebook:
Facebook is a great platform to stream to if you have a simple setup. You can ‘go live’ from your smartphone very easily, and do simple morning prayers or talks live to your Facebook Page. Or you can use a more advanced setup on Facebook Live. It’s a good platform to use if you have lots of followers on Facebook already. Ideally make sure to use a church Facebook Page, rather than your personal Facebook Account. Facebook promotes live videos and so people will often be notified of your live stream without too much effort or promotion.

Instagram:
Instagram is very similar to Facebook, and very easy to use from your phone. Only use this platform however if your audience is already on Instagram, or you are purposely trying to reach a younger generation or people outside the church as a means of outreach.

Custom:
For large churches you may want to look at a custom option for live streaming directly to your website or other platform. This is a more advanced setup

Here is some guidance if you are looking to livestream your church service or event:

Tips

  • Take a look at our Copyright FAQs to make sure you comply when streaming music or hymns.
  • Ideally live stream to church platforms or accounts rather than personal ones. Ideally also use church owned equippment rather than personal ones.
  • Remember your audience: With live video your audience can grow significantly and is almost always larger than just who is in the pews. It’s extremely important to include your entire audience in your videos. Make sure to engage with your online audience as much as your live audience. Make sure they feel included! Use chat and commenting functions for this.
  • Get stewards (or whomever) to remind those attending in person of the rules before you go live (people at home don’t really want to sit through the minister or steward telling the congregation which way to leave, not to sing, which route to use to get to the toilets etc!

  • If you’re displaying words and copyright on screen for the bible readings, make sure your readers have the same version and edition (especially as they may be bringing their own bibles!)

There are many considerations when live streaming around Safeguarding and data protection:

  • Publicise in advance when and where livestreaming will happen so people can “opt-out”
  • Have signs up on the day informing people that livestreaming is happening
  • Create a space where you can “opt-out” of being seen / recorded on the live stream
  • Make sure you have written consent for anyone who is visibly identifiable in the live stream (particularly when it comes to children and young people)
  • It’s good practice to ask all the musicians, singers, speakers etc. for their consent before broadcasting their ‘performance’
  • Carefully consider what is in view of the camera, i.e. check that the background is professional and does not contain images, information, or people that should not be shared
  • Be mindful of the need for confidentiality; especially if live-streaming from a church where other adults or children are present. Even if they are not visible on camera, will their voices be picked up by the microphones?
  • If applicable, make sure to moderate and keep an eye on comments and activity on your live stream. Familiarise yourself with social media or Zoom settings (whatever platform you are using to live stream) that can be used to help moderate and manage your live stream 
  • Admins of church social media accounts, or hosts of Zoom meetings, should have a DBS check and have undergone the Methodist Safeguarding Foundation Module

Contact our Digital Communications Enabler:

Elliot Crippen
digital@yorkshirenemethodist.org

Livestreaming your church service (URC online pdf)
A helpful guide by the United Reformed Church on live streaming church services and the options available.

Setting up public WiFi for your church (URC online pdf)
A helpful guide by the United Reformed Church on setting up public WiFi in your church.

Beginners guide to going live with your service (CofE article)
An article from the Church of England blog on how to go live at your service or event.

How to begin streaming live church services (Restream article)
A really great blog that covers everything to do with live streaming, from the basics to more advanced advice, and includes equipment recommendations and pro tips.

Streaming software for churches (CofE article)
An article from the Church of England blog on the best software to use to go live at your service or event.

Dummies Guide to live streaming for Churches (YouTube video)
Video from “Pro Church Tools” about live streaming for churches in 2020. Pro Church Tools is American but still very useful. 

Facebook Live tips for Churches (Pro Church Tools)
Video and article from “Pro Church Tools” about using Facebook Live.

How to use Instagram Live (CofE article)
Article from the Church of England blog on how to go live on Instagram.

Guidance: Filming Videos from Home

Many of us have had to learn how to film ourselves and create videos at home for use online. Here are some tips for how to film videos at home, in terms of technology, presentation skills and improving the quality of what we produce.

Tips for creating video from home (Methodist Website)
The coronavirus pandemic has forced many of us to take the plunge into video and live-streaming. Collated tips and advice. It is easy to get started just using a smartphone and Facebook, for instance. But how do we take things to the next level?

  • Orientation. Whether you’re using a camera, smartphone or tablet, make sure to always film video in a landscape format. For phones and tablets this means turning them on their side.
  • Eye level. Have you’re camera at eye level. Try to avoid an offputting angle that looks up at you from below (up the nose shot!) or down on your from above. This might mean proping your phone on a window sill, or placing a few books under your laptop (or having your camera on an adjustable tripod or music stand).
  • Lighting. Make sure you are well lit by finding somewhere with good natural light, or use lamps or other indoor lights to increase the light. Avoid the light being directly behind you (so don’t have a window behind you), or directly above you. Ideally have the light hit you on an angle (i.e. you may want to turn off you’re ceiling light and use a desk lamp to light your face from the front).
  • Stablility. Keep your device as still as possible. This probably isn’t an issue when using a laptop, or a video camera on a tripod – but if you’re using a smartphone, it’s best to prop it up on a shelf rather than have a family member hold it.
  • Background. Be mindful of your background and check what’s behind you before filming. If in doubt, it’s best to have a fairly plain background as this doesn’t distract people.
  • Where to look. Make sure to look directly at the camera. Don’t look at your image on the screen, look directly into the lense of the camera (you might need to locate the small circle on your laptop or phone beforehand so you know where to look). It’s ok to check notes or a script, but treat the camera like it’s a live audience.
  • Sound. Record the video in a quiet location and speak clearly. It’s usually best to avoid filming outdoors as there will be lots of background noise. Check the audio straight after recording as it maybe that you need to record it again. If you are using the buit-in mic on your laptop or phone, you might want to stay quite close to the device so you get clear audio. However, investing in an external microphone will allow you more flexibilty and improve the quality of the audio drastically.

When it comes to equipment it’s often best to start with what you already have available. It’s not always necessary to go out and immediately buy lots of expensive equipment.

Below are some budget options that may be of use if you don’t know where to start…

Cameras:

  • Smartphone with decent camera. You’ll often find that the in-built cameras and microphones on your phone or tablet are of better quality than on your computer/laptop.
  • Ausdom webcam – a cheap but decent webcam with 360 degree rotation and HD (1080p) recording. Approx. £20 – £40
  • Logitech Pro Stream Webcam – a simple but high quality webcam that could be used for Zoom, recording video or live streaming from home. Approx. £160

External Microphones:

Other:

  • Tripod: Tripod kits that comprise a set of legs and a head can range in price from around £10 for a flimsy, often unbranded option, to about £1,250 for a top-of-the-range option. Keep in mind that some tripods are sold as legs only, while others are sold as a kit with a tripod head included. Here is a good mid-range option from Manfrotto. Approx. £160 + head attachment approx. £20-£60. Or a cheaper option is this Hama tripod is approx. £45 + head attachment approx. £20-£60.

Here are some free video editing software options:

Basic but easy to use:

Mid-range, easy to learn:

Advanced, powerful and free video editors:

 

Learn how to video edit and use the video editing software:

Contact our Digital Communications Enabler:

Elliot Crippen
digital@yorkshirenemethodist.org

A helpful infographic resource courtesy of Matt Collins, Communications Coordinator for Salford Circuit in Manchester and Stockport Methodist District.

Introduction to lighting (YouTube video)
Intro to Lighting: how not to give yourself three chins, and a host of other hints by Methodist Minister Rev Dr Langley Mackrell-Hey

Guidance: Zoom for Churches

Zoom has taken off over the last 6 months and many churches are now using the platform for online worship, meetings and other activities. Here are some tips on using Zoom effectively.

What is Zoom? Zoom is an online video and audio conference platform. The free account allows up to 100 people to join a call for 40 minutes. Meetings can be scheduled in advance. Scheduling a meeting creates a link which can be shared so that anyone with the link can join the conversation at the scheduled time.

Here are some general tips when using Zoom for meetings, online worship, or other events, to make things create a better experience for all involved (and easier for those hosting):

  • Assign people different roles, so it doesn’t all fall to one person. For example, have a different person ‘leading’ the meeting (or taking the service) to the person who is in charge of ‘hosting’ (i.e. the technical side of looking after admitting people, muting, organising breakout rooms etc.)
  • Unless you have less than 6 or 7 people in your meeting, it’s best to all be muted other than the person speaking. Following this etiquette of muting and unmuting to speak makes things much easier for larger meetings.
  • There is some debate on whether it’s safe to share Zoom details and service links on social media publicly due to their being an initial spate of ‘zoom booming’ during the early part of the pandemic. However, as long as you have security features enabled and in place, you are perfectly safe to share details online. Make sure to have a password set, the ‘waiting room’ enabled, the option so people can’t rejoin the meeting if they are removed by a host, disable screensharing, and ‘mute on entry’ selected. Have virtual ‘stewards’ (co-hosts) who can monitor and keep an eye on everything, including muting people who interrupt or as a final measure, removing people from the meeting. If you are particularly worried about Zoom bombing, or don’t have anyone with the technical ability to administer the above, then there is more thorough guidance from the Methodist Church here
  • Familiarise yourself with Zoom settings. There is lots of options available to you. 

There are many considerations when using Zoom around Safeguarding and data protection:

  • Consider confidentiality if you are recording or live streaming your Zoom meeting. Always ask permission and consent to record a Zoom meeting and ask people to ‘opt in’.
  • Always turn off the function allowing people to send private messages to each other in a Zoom meeting. These cannot be monitored, and you don’t know what is being said in private messages. People will still be able to chat publicly in Zoom using the chat feature, where conversations can be monitored.
  • Those who are hosts of church worship over Zoom, or are leading worship on Zoom, should have a DBS check and undertaken the Methodist Safeguarding foundation module (particularly if the meeting includes children and young people)
  • Note that the minimum age for Zoom is 16+ (under 16s cannot create an account or use the platform on their own, however Zoom have clarified that parents can give permission for an under 16 to use their account if they are supervised during the meeting). Further info on using Zoom for children and youth work can be found on the Methodist website here
  •  

Zoom is available free of charge to anyone that might like to use it, and the basic free version offers all the facilities most people will need. However, as with anything, you get what you pay for, because the free version has its limitations.

Free Zoom offers video conferencing for up to 100 participants, provided the meeting runs for no longer than 40 minutes, at which point attendees are ejected from the conference. If you don’t mind the hassle of dialling back in, though, the host can simply start another call.

It also supports unlimited one-on-one meetings, screen sharing, chat, virtual backgrounds, whiteboard and more.

The paid version, meanwhile, effectively removes time limits for group video conferences (pushing the cap to 24 hours), and also allows the host to record meetings to cloud or on-device storage and schedule repeat meetings. It also allows you to live stream meetings to social media. You can get reports and reporting which can be really useful.

The paid version costs £119.90 year when billed annually or £11.99 per month, which is a little more expensive in the long-run.

In order to save bandwidth and increase intelligibility, Zoom does various tricks with sound. The main one is that it decides who is speaking at any given moment and concentrates on their sound and quietens down everyone else’s. It also prioritises speech over other sounds such as music, which it can regard as extraneous noise. However, there is a way to minimise some of the effects of this by enabling ‘Original Sound’.

Watch this video to get a walk through of how to adjust Zoom settings for music: Best Audio Settings for Zoom Meetings with Music

Contact our Digital Communications Enabler:

Elliot Crippen
digital@yorkshirenemethodist.org

Introduction to using Zoom (YouTube video)
Produced by the South West region of the Methodist Learning Network.

How to host Zoom worship (pdf)
Document created by the North East region of the Methodist Learning Network on the basics of using the platform and hosting a meeting.

How to use Zoom in Church (Church of England)
Zoom has become the new meeting place, prayer space, classroom or café, as churches look to new and inventive ways to keep connected with those in their community. In this blog, we share our tips and best practice for using Zoom.

Guide to setting up a Zoom Account (URC online pdf)
A beginner document from the United Reformed Church on setting up a Zoom account step by step.

A Guide to Zoom Etiquette (URC online pdf)
A document from the United Reformed Church with tips and ideas for how to best use Zoom with other people.

Guide to Using Zoom Securely (URC online pdf)
A document from the United Reformed Church with tips and ideas on how to best use the settings and Zoom platform so it is secure and you don’t have to worry about Zoom ‘bombing’.

Guide to using Zoom Breakout Rooms (URC online pdf)
A document from the United Reformed Church on how to use Zoom’s breakout rooms feature.

"How to" and Information Guides

See below useful resources and 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)

[note – Facebook updated it’s desktop design in 2020, and so some of these guides have screenshots from the ‘old’ design, referred to as Classic Facebook, and some have screenshots from the new layout]

Guide to going live on your Church Facebook Page (New Facebook)
Level: Easy | 8 pages 
This guide is for beginners to provide a step-by-step for how to go live on your Church Facebook Page. Includes guidance for doing this using a windows computer (not Macs) or any phone/tablet.

Guide to recording a video for your Church Facebook Page (New Facebook)
Level: Easy | 9 pages 
This guide is for beginners to provide a step-by-step for how to record a video at home and then how to upload it to your Church Facebook Page. Includes guidance for doing this using a windows computer (not Macs) or any phone/tablet.

Step by Step Guide to set up a Church Facebook Page (Classic Facebook)
Level: Easy | 9 pages 
This guide is for beginners and walks you through each step in creating a Facebook Page for your church.

How to use a Church Facebook Page (Classic Facebook)
Level: Easy | 3 pages 
This guide is for those who haven’t used a Facebook Page before, but have just been given admin/editor access for a Church Page which is already set up. Walking you through how to get to the page and post on it. Some more advanced tips are included at the end.

Checklist to Improve your Church Facebook Page (Classic Facebook)
Level: Easy to Advanced | 2 pages 
This guide is for those who manage existing Church Facebook Pages and provides practical advice on how to get the best out of them, ranging from simple to more advanced tips.

A Checklist for your Church Website
Level: Easy to Advanced | 2 pages 
This guide is a good starting point to reference with your Church website and see how well you’re doing. Do you have all these on your website?

Guide for Creating a New Church Website
Level: Medium | 2 pages 
A good starting point if you’re looking to build a Church website and have no idea where to begin. This guide is aimed at provoking the right quesitions you need to ask – not providing simple answers for how to set up your website. There are many factors to consider and will depend on your context and aims.

Checklist to Improve your Church Twitter
Level: Medium | 1 page 
This guide is for those who manage existing Church Twitter Accounts and provides practical advice on how to get the best out of them.

Complete guide to using Instagram for your Church
Level: Easy to Advanced | 4 pages
If you are using Instagram at your church, or if you are looking to start on the platform, use this document to help you make the most of Instagram and reach more people. 

Guide for Converting a Poster for Social Media (Word Doc to JPEG)
Level: Easy | 2 pages
Avoid taking photos of your printed church posters for online use – use this simple guide to learn how to simply convert a word document into a professional image.

Glossary of Online terms reference document
Level: Easy | 11 pages
This document explains in simple terms all the comlicated jargon associated with social media and websites. There are many technical and specific terms that apply to certain platforms and this complete glossary guides you through what they mean. Use this document to help you make the most of online platforms, understand and communicate correctly – you don’t need to know all these words, but it’s a useful reference document. 

Suggested External Digital Resources
Level: Easy | 8 pages
This document is for signposting resources that already exist and can be made use of by Methodist Churches. Some will be more suited to certain churches, projects and uses than others. It’s not a comprehensive list of all online resources, as there are many others, but this list summarises the most common and useful. Many are free of charge. 

Guidance: Social Media

Jump to a specific social media section:

Why is social media important?

We are in a digital age, and social media is no longer considered ‘niche’ or only for young people. Social media makes it easier to reach out to people and places other methods of communication cannot reach. It’s a case of ‘going where people are’.

It connects us, and when used properly can increase learning and spiritual growth within our churches. It offers opportunities to reach out in mission and evangelism.

Official Methodist Social Media guidance: www.methodist.org.uk/digital 

Digital Evangelism Guidance and Resources:
www.methodist.org.uk/digitalevangelism

Hootsuite (https://hootsuite.com/en-gb) – Hootsuite is a social media management platform and allows you to integrate and schedule social media for your church across different platforms. There is a free version and paid version with additional features, which can be offered at a discount for churches and charities.

Buffer (https://buffer.com) – Social media management platform with free and paid options available. Plan and publish your content for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, all from one simple dashboard. Craft the perfect post for each social network, all in one place.

Later (https://later.com) – free marketing and scheduling platform for Instagram, but also you can visually plan, schedule and analyse posts for Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Plan a Week of Instagram Posts in 20 Minutes. Spend less time posting to Instagram and more time growing your business.

Tweet Deck (https://tweetdeck.twitter.com) – TweetDeck is a social media dashboard application for management of Twitter accounts. The most powerful Twitter tool for real-time tracking, organizing, and engagement. Reach your audiences and discover the best of Twitter.

Children & Youth safeguarding policy for social media here: 
www.methodist.org.uk/media/17148/children-and-youth-social-media-guidance-060520.pdf

General social media guidelines for creating a healthy Christian community online:
www.methodist.org.uk/for-churches/guidance-for-churches/digital-communication-guidance-for-churches/social-media-guidelines

Here are some additional best practice tips for churches:

  • Facebook only: Make sure your church has a Facebook Page or Group and not a personal profile
  • Make sure to have 2 or more admins (or account holders / people with the password) of your church social media accounts. This is both for safeguarding, good practice, and protection against losing access if people leave.
  • Ideally have a social media key holder form that people sign if you give them access to your church social media accounts.
  • Facebook only: It is a common misconception that you should set up a ‘work’ account on Facebook, but note that having multiple accounts is against Facebook’s terms of use. If you work for the church you should use Facebook’s sofisticated privacy settings to limit what’s visible, or create a Facebook Page.

Here are some places where you can get images or graphics for use online:

There’s also a section further down this page where there are some pre-made graphics from the district that you can use: Pre-made Graphics

The reason all social media has age restrictions is usually because in law organisations operating online services are not allowed to collect personal information of anyone under the age of 13 without parental permission. To avoid the necessity of obtaining parental permission for any user under the age of 13, most services have instead chosen to have age restrictions. Others have higher age restrictions due to issues around GDPR and safeguarding.

For clarity, for all of the below, the age restriction means that you cannot use the platform in any way if you are under the age requirement. It doesn’t only apply to creating an account on that platform, which is a common misconception (the phrasing in the terms & conditions is usually “to use our services”). For example, on YouTube you have to be 13 to watch any video on the platform (unless viewing on the YouTube Kids app). 

Facebook: 13+
Twitter: 13+
Instagram: 13+
YouTube: 13+
YouTube Kids: 0+ (if enabled by a parent or legal guardian)
WhatsApp: 16+
Zoom: 16+ (note: under 16s cannot create an account or use the platform on their own, however Zoom have clarified that parents can give permission for an under 16 to use their acccount if they are suppervised during the meeting)
TikTok: 13+ 
Snapchat: 13+
Pinterest: 13+
LinkedIn: 16+

 

Contact our Digital Communications Enabler:

Elliot Crippen
digital@yorkshirenemethodist.org

Guidance: Facebook for Churches

Background: Facebook is a social media website founded by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004. Users can post comments, share photographs and post links to news or other interesting content on the web, chat live, and watch short-form video. “People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.” In Europe, over 307 million people are on Facebook – and in the UK 78% of all internet users are on Facebook.

District Resources:
Around 21% of Churches in our District have a Facebook Page. Whether you are looking to improve yours, have a complete overhaul or create your first church Facebook Page, the below information should hopefully help you:

Step by Step Guide to set up a Church Facebook Page
Level: Easy | 9 pages 
This guide is for beginners and walks you through each step in creating a Facebook Page for your church.

How to use a Church Facebook Page
Level: Easy | 3 pages 
This guide is for those who haven’t used a Facebook Page before, but have just been given admin/editor access for a Church Page which is already set up. Walking you through how to get to the page and post on it. Some more advanced tips are included at the end.

Checklist to Improve your Church Facebook Page
Level: Easy to Advanced | 2 pages 
This guide is for those who manage existing Church Facebook Pages and provides practical advice on how to get the best out of them, ranging from simple to more advanced tips.

It’s easy to get confused between the three different options you have on Facebook. In simple terms, a ‘profile’ is for individuals, a ‘page’ is a public profile for businesses, charities or churches, and a ‘group’ is a community-based feature where small groups of people can communicate together. 

Facebook Profiles
A Facebook Profile is created when you set up an account on Facebook as an individual. If you’re on Facebook yourself and have set up an account, then you have a Facebook Profile. In the words of Facebook: “A profile is a place on Facebook where you can share information about yourself, such as your interests, photos, videos, current city and hometown. To see your profile, click or tap your name or profile picture at the top of Facebook.”

It is designed for individuals in mind – it’s for one person, where you can add other people as friends, and can choose to share personal information such as gender, age, relationship status and more. Facebook accounts shouldn’t be accessed by more than one person, and a personal profile shouldn’t be passed from one person to another. As such they shouldn’t be set up for a Church.

Note: under Facebook’s Terms of Service you should only have one Facebook account as an individual and shouldn’t create a second account for yourself for work purposes. Instead, for those who work with young / vulnerable people, you should adjust your personal privacy settings so only a small amount can be viewed publicly. You have complete control over what information is visible to others on Facebook and can restrict it as much you need (including not allowing others to add you as a friend).

Facebook Pages
In the words of Facebook: “You must have a profile to create a Page or help manage one. Pages are places on Facebook where artists, public figures, businesses, brands, organizations and non-profits can connect with their fans or customers. When someone likes or follows a Page on Facebook, they can start seeing updates from that Page in their News Feed.”

Facebook Pages are great for Churches as we are an organisation that wants to connect with our ‘customers’ and communities – this is exactly what Facebook Pages are designed to facilitate. Facebook Pages give you many additional features you don’t get with a personal profile. Multiple people can be given access to the Page and can be assigned ‘roles’ depending what they need to do. Think of your Facebook Page as the front porch of your church, it is the public face of your church and can be a useful addition (or alternative) to your website.

A common confusion for Facebook Pages, is that you need someone to monitor posts to the page. Whilst this is true for Facebook Groups (see below), it is not the case for Facebook Pages. Visitors can send private messages to your page (if enabled), and they can send comments to your Page (if enabled), but only you control what is posted on your actual page for others to see.

Facebook Groups
In the words of Facebook: “You must have a profile to create a group or help manage one. Groups are a place to communicate about shared interests with certain people. You can create a group for anything — your family reunion, your after-work sports team, your book club — and customize the group’s privacy settings depending on who you want to be able to join and see the group. When you join a group on Facebook, you start seeing content from that group in your News Feed.”

A Facebook Group might be suitable for your church but remember that it is best used for internal communication. They are great for your congregation to communicate with each other during the week and promoting discipleship (e.g. you could have a group for your church house group, messy church, toddler group, youth group etc.) but they are not great for inviting visitors to join – as the process of having to ask to ‘join’ your church group is off putting and can give the impression that your church is an exclusive ‘club’. How many of your existing congregation are already on Facebook?  If lots are, then a church Facebook Group provides a space for building relationships and connecting through the week. If a Facebook Page is your front porch, then your Facebook Group is the living room.

You can also join and post in a Facebook Group as your church page (rather than your personal profile), and link your group to your page, to make it easier for people to find. Do be aware, if you create a group for your church or church group, you will need a few admins of the group who can monitor posts and approve requests to join.

 

More info here: www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/church-england-digital-labs/labs-learning/facebook-pages-vs-profiles-vs-groups

 

Contact our Digital Communications Enabler:

Elliot Crippen
digital@yorkshirenemethodist.org

How to get started with Facebook (Methodist pdf)
A super-simple step-by-step guide on how to get started on Facebook. Please share this with anyone you think might benefit from being digitally connected but who have yet to ‘take the plunge’.

Faith on Facebook Toolkit
Official tips and advice from Facebook for churches. Covers all basis and is good for beginners and experts alike. 

Ultimate Church Facebook Page Guide (Pro Church Tools)
A guide by Pro Church Tools giving tips on using Facebook Pages for Churches.

10 Effective Facebook Tips for Churches (article)
An article with some really useful tips on using Facebook as a Church

Understanding Facebook Insights (CofE article)
An article from the Church of England on understanding insights on Facebook.

Reaching more people from your Facebook Page
An article from a digital evangelism blog on how to reach people using your Facebook Page and 5 strategies to overcome ‘Facebook zero’.

Free Facebook Banner downloads (from CPO)
Some graphics produced by Christian Publishing & Outreach that you can download for free to use as your Facebook Page cover photo

Social Media post ideas with examples (CofE article)
As the person looking after social media for your church, there’s nothing worse than being stuck for ideas, and it’s easy to fall into a routine of only posting about upcoming services and events. Church of England article with seven social media post ideas, with examples.

Guidance: Twitter for Churches

Background: Twitter is an online news and social networking service founded in 2006, on which users post and interact with messages known as “tweets”, which are restricted to 280 characters. It is a form of “micro-blogging” where users write about whatever they want: politics, sports, film&TV, fashion etc. People make connections by following other people’s twitter feeds. Once you click follow, anything that person or organisation says will appear on your timeline. 500 million Tweets are sent everyday worldwide, and the UK has around 16 million active users.

District Resources:
Around 8% of Churches in our District have Twitter. Whether you are looking to improve your tweets or create a church twitter account, the below information should hopefully help you:

Guidance: Instagram for Churches

Background: Instagram is a photo and video sharing social networking service owned by Facebook and founded in 2010. It used to only be available as an App on a mobile device, but can now be accessed online as well. It’s like a simplified version of Facebook, with an emphasis on mobile use and visual sharing. At the beginning of 2019 there are an estimated 24 million Instagram users in the UK (42% of the population). It’s also incredible popular with the younger generation.

 

The easiest way to get help and tips with Instagram is to follow the following Instagram Account run by our district communications enabler, which offers regular advice and guidance for churches on how to best use Instagram:
Instagram Tips for Churches UK
@ChurchInstaTips
www.instagram.com/churchinstatips

Complete guide to using Instagram for your Church
Level: Easy to Advanced | 4 pages
If you are using Instagram at your church, or if you are looking to start on the platform, use this document to help you make the most of Instagram and reach more people. 

Contact our Digital Communications Enabler:

Elliot Crippen
digital@yorkshirenemethodist.org

An Introduction to Instagram (CofE article)
An article by the Church of England digital team on Instagram.

Setting up an Instagram account (URC online pdf)
A helpful guide for churches on how to set up an Instagram account by the United Reformed Church

How to create an Instagram profile for your church (CofE article)
An article by the Church of England digital team on how to create a free profile and business profile on Instagram.

Best practices for Instagram (article)
A useful article with tips on using Instagram for your church

How to use Instagram Hashtags (Pro Church Tools)
A video and guide by Pro Church Tools on using Instagram Hashtags to gain followers for your church

Taking good photos of your church 
Advice on how to take good photos of at your church, which can be used on any platform, but is particularly useful for Instagram

Guidance: YouTube for Churches

Background: a video sharing service used by many young people. It can be a great place to upload your church videos to use/embed elsewhere (or even for live streaming). However, it takes a lot of time, skill and resources to produce regular high-quality videos for success on YouTube. Active monthly users: 2.0+ billion (source). Target Audience: young people.

Follow our District YouTube channel here, where you can also view all the circuit and church YouTube accounts in the district. 

Here are some general tips to improve your church YouTube channel:

  • Use custom thumbnail images for your videos (bonus: use Canva to design and create an image in the exact size for the thumbnail)
  • Add a header image (you can also use Canva to design and create this image, and Canva have lots of templates and give you the exact size you need)
  • Add contact information, a description and other details to your channel
  • Customise your channel page by added sections: you can highlight playlists, lists videos by popularity, suggest other channels to subscribe to, or a host of other options

Contact our Digital Communications Enabler:

Elliot Crippen
digital@yorkshirenemethodist.org

How To Create A YouTube Channel Beginner’s Guide (YouTube video)
Learn how to create a YouTube Channel in 2020! A step-by-step beginner’s guide, from creating a YouTube account to optimizing the key ranking settings most people miss!

YouTube Strategy for Churches (Pro Church Tools)
YouTube is the second most popular website in the world – even more popular than Facebook. But there’s so much more to YouTube than just uploading your church’s sermons. Here you’ll find resources to help you truly understand the powers of YouTube and what it takes to get noticed.

Using video and storytelling to share the gospel (Joseph The Dreamer)
Joseph the Dreamer is a Christian YouTuber and this is a link to his presentation at the Create conference by Living Roch Church. It includes tips on writing titles, designing thumbnails and more.

Guidance: Church Websites

Around 35% of Churches in our District have a website. Whether you are looking to improve yours, have a complete overhaul or create your first church website, the below information should hopefully help you. Click the headings below to toggle seeing the info in each section. 

 

A Checklist for your Church Website
Level: Easy to Advanced | 2 pages 
This guide is a good starting point to reference with your Church website and see how well you’re doing. Do you have all these on your website?

Guide for Creating a New Church Website
Level: Medium | 2 pages 
A good starting point if you’re looking to build a Church website and have no idea where to begin. This guide is aimed at provoking the right quesitions you need to ask – not providing simple answers for how to set up your website. There are many factors to consider and will depend on your context and aims.

If you are a church within our District and have a website, then it’s quite likely that your church website has already been reviewed by our Digital Communications Enabler in our report of digital communication in 2018. 

This review looked at all websites in our District and evaluated them based on common cirteria and provides helpful feedback, advice and guidance on changes to make.

Click here:
Review of District Digital Communications

Contact our Digital Communications Enabler:

Elliot Crippen
digital@yorkshirenemethodist.org

Guidance: Other Digital Comms

Graphic Design, Logos, & Branding

One of the best tips for church branding consistency is to create a church “style guide”.

Creating a style guide for your church (CofE article)
A style guide is a set of standards you uphold with any digital or printed resources for your church. Read this article to learn how to create one. Includes some great examples and a template at the end.

Graphic Design Platforms

Canva (www.canva.com) – Canva is a free online simplified graphic-design tool, founded in 2012. It uses a drag-and-drop format and provides access to photographs, vector images, graphics, and fonts. It is used by non-designers as well as professionals. The tools can be used for both web and print media design and graphics.

Church Comms Create, by CPO (www.churchcommscreate.com) – Church Comms Create is a paid desktop design platform for church communicators and Christian creatives in the UK provided by CPO (Christian Publishing and Outreach – www.cpo.org.uk). Optimised for desktop computers, Church Comms Create allows you to instantly resize any design, integrates thousands of free fonts and makes it easy even for those less confident with design, saving you time and money.

Guide for Converting a Poster for Social Media (Word Doc to JPEG)
Level: Easy | 2 pages
Avoid taking photos of your printed church posters for online use – use this simple guide to learn how to simply convert a word document into a professional image.

Resources:
Here is some guidance for creating posters for your church, particularly if you are looking to use them online:

Free editor for easily making church posters:
www.canva.com/create/flyers/church-flyers/

Church posters online resources:
https://www.cpo.org.uk/christian-posters

How to create great posters for your church:
www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/church-england-digital-labs/labs-learning/how-create-great-posters-promote-your

Do’s and Dont’s of Church Flyer design:
www.churchtrain.uk/blog/church-flyer-design-dos-and-donts/

Church poster design tips:
www.churchtrain.uk/blog/church-poster-design-tips/

Photos, Images and Graphics

Unsplash (https://unsplash.com) – Unsplash provides over 1 million free high-resolution images brought to you by the world’s most generous community of photographers. All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and non-commercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash.

Pexels (www.pexels.com) – The best free stock photos & videos shared by talented creators. Pexels is very similar to Unsplash, and by providing free stock photos Pexels helps millions of creators all over the world to easily create beautiful products and designs. All photos on Pexels are free to use and attribution is not required.

Flaticon (www.flaticon.com) – Flaticon is a Freepik company (www.freepikcompany.com) and is the largest database of free customizable icons. Flaticon has more than a million icons in all formats, for all kind of projects: presentations, apps, websites, catalogues, infographics etc. They are free to download and can be used for multiple purposes (with a few restrictions).

Digital Strategy

Coming soon…

GDPR / Photo Consent

As general best practice advice, don’t post photos or images of adults or (especially) children online (websites or social media) without explicit written consent from the individual (or parent).

Methodist Church guidelines: “You should… obtain consent for any photographs/videos to be taken, shown or displayed”.
Methodist Church policy for Social Media: “Parental permission via annual consent forms is required for photographs and video footage of children and young people and the consent forms should state what the usage of the images will be for. … Leaders should endeavour not to state any unnecessary personal details or information relating to the child or young person when posting images or photos online e.g. full names, addresses, schools attending.”

Methodist Church Social Media guidelines can be found here

Consent Forms for Young People

Official Methodist Church Photography consent forms and information can be found here: 
The Methodist Church has released new guidance on consent for photohtaphs and videos. Details of policies and the appropriate forms are available to download; 
for subjects under the age of 12 here 
for those 12-18 years old here

Consent Forms for Adults

GDPR and social media: 
www.gdprforchurches.org.uk/key-elements/pictures-and-video/

Example photo consent form for a church from our District: (see the Media Permissions section at bottom)

District Logos and Downloads

Logos are the face of an organisation (whether the national Methodist Church, our District, or your local church). It is part of our branding. “Your church’s logo is the foundation of your visual identity. And with the prominence of digital platforms, your church logo is now more visible than ever before.” – Pro Church Tools

63% church websites in our district don’t display the Methodist logo
*based on findings between Sep-Dec 2018. Churches displaying the red Methodist orb on the homepage

Resources:
Please find Connexional download files and guidance here
www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/connect/methodist-logos

Colours
District ‘red’ – RGB: 219r 0g 46b or HEX: #db002e
Methodist ‘red’ –  RGB: 181r 33g 41b or HEX: #B52129

Downloads:

To use the following logos, hover your mouse/cursor over the image, ‘Right-click’ and choose to ‘save file as’. Please note: transparent files will save as ‘.png’. 

District Digital Review

Our Digital Communications Enabler has produced an entire Review of Digital Communications for the District (written Sep-Dec 2018). Have a read below: contains statistics, feedback on all District websites, and numbers for web and social media accounts, plus helpful advice and tips for improvement. The document is 125 pages long, so it is recommend to read the intro & summary, followed by your local circuit and/or church pages, finishing with the broad outcomes & support section at the end.

PDF Document: (click text to open in a new tab)

In our District...

Websites
35%
Facebook
25%
Twitter
10%
Instagram
2%

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

Digital Events and Training

Organise an (online) Digital Training Session in your circuit or area – just get in touch with our Digital Communications Enabler. Websites and Social Media are key tools for the future of our churches. This flexible training is focused on providing practical advice and digital skills for your church or circuit, whether on how to improve your online worhsip or best use social media, request any topic. Training is currently being delivered on Zoom. Upcoming public events will be listed here and also on the District Calendar

5/5

"An excellent and very informative session - as well as meeting some great people. Delighted that the church is being progressive in this way"

Training Feedback

"Just wanted to say a very big thank you for your training session yesterday. I found it extremely useful and its taught me more about other digital media. You answered the questions people came with and some they hadn't thought of!"

Training Feedback

"Thank you for the course on Saturday, I found it very helpful"

Training Feedback

"It gave us all food to thought. There was lots of good comments about the session and has made us all think and sure will be discussed at a church meeting going forward"

Training Feedback

"A very comprehensive session. Thank you"

Training Feedback

"A good overview. Very responsive to questions. Really goods session - lots to learn"

Training Feedback

"Very good. We learnt lots about which social media platforms were best and how to use them effectively. The suggested resources were very good. Thank you"

Training Feedback

Past Events

Digital Training Pocklington & Market Weighton Circuit (Zoom) – Tuesday 30th June 2020
Support for Leading Online Worship (Zoom) – Wednesday 13th May 2020
Goole and Selby Circuit Digital Training – Monday 13th January 2020

Thirsk & Northallerton Circuit Digital Training – Saturday 27th July 2019 
South Holderness Circuit Digital Training – Thursday 20th June 2019 
Ryedale Circuit Digital Training – Saturday 25th May 2019 
Digital Training Workshop at District Synod – Saturday 6th April 2019

Pre-made Graphics

We hope to share some pre-made graphics, content and images that you can download and use on your church social media, website or in print. These are here as suggestions and to help save you time, and improve the quality of what churches are offering. For example, they are a quick way to improve a social media post by adding one of the graphics below.

If you want anything customising, amending, or adding (such as a church logo or service times) just get in touch at: digital@yorkshirenemethodist.org

You can find more free high-quality social media graphics to download from SundaySocial here:
www.sundaysocial.tv/project-attributes/coronavirus

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 created by the district 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:

The Methodist Church (www.methodist.org.uk/digital) – Digital Communication guidance for churches. Information on websites and social media and how to effectively use them for mission and evangelism.

Church of England Digital Labs (www.churchofengland.org/labs-learning) – a hub of resources, news and events to support digital evangelism and digital discipleship in the Church of England. We’re excited to be expanding Church of England Digital Labs so that we can resource more churches with the right tools and skills they need to do digital effectively. Digital Labs now consists of a number of areas: 1.Labs Learning blog: Weekly blogs on helpful topics for churches around maintaining a good digital and online presence. 2.Labs Learning roadshow: Large events held across the country, where we bring our training to you. 3.Labs Latest newsletter: Monthly email newsletters filled with digital hints, tips and good practice. 4.Digital Labs Live: An annual event for Christian creatives

URC Information Guides (https://urc.org.uk/information-guides) – A wide range of guides by the United Reformed Church on all aspects of digital and online church. Includes guides on: Zoom, Facebook, Copyright, Livestreaming, Podcasts, WhatsApp, and setting up WiFi – amoung many others.

Seventh-day Adventist Church digital resources (www.sdadata.org/resource-menu.html) – resources to empower and equip ministries with the necessary resources, skills, and information to accomplish our shared goal of serving the community and advancing the gospel message. New resources added weekly. Resources include: Adventist Identity Guidelines, Big Data Resources, Branding, Images & Design Resources, Church/Ministry Specific Resources, Copyright & Trademark Resources, Digital Discipleship & Evangelism, Email Resources, Guidance for Hiring a Social Media Positions, NAD Social Media Guidelines, Podcasts, Reports & Case Studies, (SEO) Search Engine Optimization for Ministries, Tracking & Analytics Resources, Social Media Resources, Video Resources, Videos & Tutorials, Website Tips.

United Methodist Church (www.umcom.org/topics/learn) – digital resources from the United Methodist Church.

Pro Church Tools (https://prochurchtools.com/free-tools) – free tools for churches provided by Brady Shearer from the USA. Whatever your learning style, you’ll find video, audio, and written training to help your church seize the 167 (your week has 168 hours. If your Sunday Service is just 1hr, how is your church reaching people in the other 167?). Pro Church Tools provides guidance on all aspects of digital communication, websites and social media.  

Church Train (www.churchtrain.uk) – Church Communication Training. Equipping UK churches and volunteers to communicate effectively with free blog posts on digital guidance and as a business providing graphic design, websites and branding for churches (paid).

Go Chatter Videos (https://gochattervideos.com) – Go Chatter helps those in Christian ministry discover helpful videos that can get people talking about Jesus. The Go Chatter site brings videos together from over 20 different Christian content creators who have kindly given permission to make their videos available for churches to download for free.

Go Chatter Customisable Videos (https://gochattercustomvideos.com) – the Go Chatter team have created an online tool to that enables you to create your own customised videos in just a few minutes for only a small price per video. The tool is easy to use and doesn’t require any video editing experience. Simply choose a template video, add your text, logo, photos etc and then the online tool will compile your finished video. For the price of a coffee you can download the video which will be ideal for showing in your church or posting on social media.

Tips for shooting church video from your phone:
www.fishhook.us/blog/8-steps-to-shooting-iphone-videos-at-your-church

How to film video on your phone:
www.churchofengland.org/How-to-set-up-to-film-a-video-on-your-phone

The Ultimate Church Video Production Guide:
https://easychurchtech.com/church-video-production

How to create subtitles for your video:
www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/digital-labs/labs-learning-blog/how-create-subtitles-video

How to upgrade your church video production:
https://prochurchtools.com/how-to-instantly-upgrade-your-churchs-video-production

Advanced Video Techniques:
https://prochurchtools.com/pcp036

Best video editing software:
www.techradar.com/best/best-video-editing-software-premium-free

Royalty-Free music sites for your videos:
https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/royalty-free-music-videos 

Taking great church photos: 
www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/church-england-digital-labs/labs-learning/taking-great-church-photos

Building your church photography library:
www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/church-england-digital-labs/labs-learning/building-your-photography-library

PIXLR (https://pixlr.com) – a free online editing service (with a paid option available). Take photo editing to the next level with AI-powered tools. Experience speedier and easier edits for maximized creativity. Designed to be easy, you can now edit images smarter and faster for Free – with Pixlr. No steep learning curve, no design experience needed. 

Graphic Design Platforms

Canva (www.canva.com) – Canva is a free online simplified graphic-design tool, founded in 2012. It uses a drag-and-drop format and provides access to photographs, vector images, graphics, and fonts. It is used by non-designers as well as professionals. The tools can be used for both web and print media design and graphics.

Church Comms Create, by CPO (www.churchcommscreate.com) – Church Comms Create is a paid desktop design platform for church communicators and Christian creatives in the UK provided by CPO (Christian Publishing and Outreach – www.cpo.org.uk). Optimised for desktop computers, Church Comms Create allows you to instantly resize any design, integrates thousands of free fonts and makes it easy even for those less confident with design, saving you time and money.

Guide for Converting a Poster for Social Media (Word Doc to JPEG)
Level: Easy | 2 pages
Avoid taking photos of your printed church posters for online use – use this simple guide to learn how to simply convert a word document into a professional image.

Resources:
Here is some guidance for creating posters for your church, particularly if you are looking to use them online:

Free editor for easily making church posters:
www.canva.com/create/flyers/church-flyers/

Church posters online resources:
https://www.cpo.org.uk/christian-posters

How to create great posters for your church:
www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/church-england-digital-labs/labs-learning/how-create-great-posters-promote-your

Do’s and Dont’s of Church Flyer design:
www.churchtrain.uk/blog/church-flyer-design-dos-and-donts/

Church poster design tips:
www.churchtrain.uk/blog/church-poster-design-tips/

Photos, Images and Graphics

Unsplash (https://unsplash.com) – Unsplash provides over 1 million free high-resolution images brought to you by the world’s most generous community of photographers. All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and non-commercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash.

Pexels (www.pexels.com) – The best free stock photos & videos shared by talented creators. Pexels is very similar to Unsplash, and by providing free stock photos Pexels helps millions of creators all over the world to easily create beautiful products and designs. All photos on Pexels are free to use and attribution is not required.

Flaticon (www.flaticon.com) – Flaticon is a Freepik company (www.freepikcompany.com) and is the largest database of free customizable icons. Flaticon has more than a million icons in all formats, for all kind of projects: presentations, apps, websites, catalogues, infographics etc. They are free to download and can be used for multiple purposes (with a few restrictions).

So Everyone Can Hear: Communicating Church In A Digital Culture by Mark Crosby (2019)Communication lies at the heart of every healthy community; the church is no exception. In Matthew 11:15, Jesus says, ‘Whoever has ears, let them hear’. How do we make sure we are saying things in a way that invites all people – no matter their background – to engage with what it means to be church today? This colourful, engaging and practical book will help leaders and members alike be more mindful of how they ‘communicate church’ both inside and outside of it within our dynamic and ever-changing digital culture.

The Social Church, a theology of digital communication by Justin Wise (2014)We’ve been living in a digital world for quite a while now. Justin Wise speaks about social media as this generation’s printing press–a revolutionary technology that can spread the gospel farther and faster than we can imagine. It’s time to take what we know (and admit what we don’t know) and learn together how to move forward as the church. Are you ready to think theologically about this digital age and reach people in a new way?

Church Online: websites by Laura Treneer from CPO (2017) – part of the CPO series “Reach Out: Church Communications”. Combining missional vision with practical advice, this resource gives you the tools you need to transform a church website or create one for the first time. Ideal for church teams who want to reach their communities effectively.

Church Online: social media by Laura Treneer from CPO (2017) – part of the CPO series “Reach Out: Church Communications”. Combining missional vision with practical advice, this resource gives you the tools and checklists to consider your approach to social media as a church. Ideal for church teams who want to reach their communities effectively.

Online Mission and Ministry: A Theological and Practical Guide by Pam Smith (2015) – Many clergy and churches are now taking to the internet and social media to promote their churches or ministries, but few have thought through some of the difficult pastoral and theological issues that may arise. ‘Virtual vicar’ Revd Pam Smith guides both new and experienced practitioners through setting up online ministries and considers some of the issues that may arise, such as: Are relationships online as valid as those offline? Is it possible to participate in a ‘virtual’ communion service? How do you deal with ‘trolls’ in a Christian way? What is it appropriate for a clergyperson to say on social media?

Youth Ministry in a Digital Age: Understanding and Reaching a Generation of Digital Natives by Liz Dumain (2017) – The digital revolution that has transformed how young people communicate, interact and live every aspect of their lives. This vital booklet argues that if ignored, the impact of digitalization—where connection to social media and digital networks is as intrinsic as the act of breathing—is a divided church with generations drifting further apart. But opportunities abound for youth workers to be digital prophets to a generation of digital natives who have disengaged from traditional church.

Sharing Faith Using Social Media by Bryony Taylor (2016) – How can my church utilize social media for outreach and evangelism? Are my online friends real or virtual? And does Jesus really have his own Facebook page? This compelling booklet draws on primary research to explore these and many other questions. It sets out a series of implications for mission in the inter-connected, tech-savvy world that the church is called to bear witness to today.

Digital Millennials and the Bible report by CODEC in partnership with Barna and Bible Society (2018) – Discover how the Bible is perceived by ‘digital millennials’. Available online.

Bit.ly (https://bitly.com) – Shorten, create and share trusted, powerful links for your business. Bitly helps businesses shine by shortening URL links. With Bitly, you can easily track your customers’ journeys on every link and channel from a single, sleek dashboard. Free and paid accounts are available.

Digital Church Toolkit (www.digitalchurchtoolkit.com)Helping you preach the Gospel, build His Church & expand the Kingdom in the Digital Age. We equip the church with tools and wisdom to spread the gospel and reach communities in the digital age. Does your Social Media feel like an afterthought? They provide training, paid services, and bespoke packages in the UK.

Missional Generation (www.missionalgen.co.uk) – Missional Generation is about equipping young people to be influential for God in every arena of life. Our work is to help the Church strengthen its voice and be at the cutting edge in society. Our Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality resources are a powerful means to inform, expose and help young people explore faith, mission and evangelism. We believe that if we can immerse a generation into exploring faith in Jesus using VR or AR, we will create a space that enables young people to develop a passion to know and share Jesus with the world and places they occupy.  We believe that there is an exciting technological growth within the secular world, and we want to resource the church.

Church Comms Collective UK (www.facebook.com/groups/churchcommscollectiveuk) – a Facebook group specifically for those who help provide communications for churches, Christian charities, or Christian content creation in the UK. This includes leaders, administrators, designers, videographers & social media managers (if you contribute to a church social media page that means you)! There are many church communication groups on Facebook full of great content, however, there are specific cultural factors unique to UK that are sometimes missed, and this group is designed so we can help one another in that void. This is a place to share good practice, ideas, ask questions, inspire others and gain from shared knowledge.

Church Communications Improvement Project by CPO (www.churchcomms.uk) – The Church has a world-changing message of hope to communicate, but sometimes needs help with design, with digital, with all that is needed in communication. CPO has been working to support the UK Church in its communication for over 60 years. We understand the challenges of a small budget, over-stretched volunteers and lack of specific expertise and we are here to help. The Church Communications Project is a comms improvement fund for churches who lack the financial resources to improve their communications. Grants are between £50 and £1000 in the form of communication tools provided by CPO or its partners.

Christian Creative Network (https://christiancreativenetwork.com) – The Christian Creative Network UK was launched in May 2017 to get Christian creatives together to connect, share ideas, grow and encourage one another. The vision of the Christian Creative Network is to “Champion creativity in the body of Christ” and it does this through providing a free network for Christian creatives, made up of branches up and down the UK. Each branch has a monthly meet and an online Facebook group for local networking. Branches run workshops and host events, which equip creatives and provide opportunities to showcase individual’s creativity.

Premier Digital Conference (www.premierdigital.info/conference) – discover a world of advice, ideas, insight and guidance to help you communicate credibly and effectively online. Through 32 sessions delivered by over 40 contributors you are sure to find the help you need for your digital endeavours. New ideas that you can use in your church, charity or project. Understand how digital tools can work for you in your context. Learn new skills that will help you grow your project or ministry. Explore how digital is impacting our theology and humanity. Meet new people, build relationships and learn from one another. Whether you’re looking to go deeper into social media, websites, evangelism, digital theology, fundraising or communications there will be sessions for you. Pro or beginner come along as a church, team or on your own for an inspiring day that provides content and value for money you can’t find anywhere else. Ticket pricing is available on the Premier website.

Centre for Digital Theology formerly CODEC (www.dur.ac.uk/digitaltheology) – a research centre at Durham University – their staff write both academic papers and publications as well as writing for a more general audience. They supervise postgraduate students researching at Durham and elsewhere, and have a world first MA in Digital Theology. Their MediaLit course offers a great opportunity for those seeking an introduction to theological reflections and practical training on digital culture.