One of the speakers they featured was Dave Dolphin known as The Practical Pastor. He has a popular YouTube channel called Practical Worship and a website by the same name. He is the worship pastor at Cherokee Hills Baptist Church in the Oklahoma City area.
Dave does a great job helping small churches develop a vision for live streaming including how to take what we see from large churches and narrow it down to the small church’s focus and ability.
I was especially encouraged that Dave did not try to make small churches feel like they needed to mimic a large church vision or to even copy and paste what they are doing but instead he encouraged small churches to be who God has created them to be which is just as valuable to the kingdom of God.
Here is the video of the presentation.
Live Streaming For Small Churches – Dave Dolphin
Why Trying To Copy The Big Church Model Doesn’t Work
Dave talks about the feelings that I and many of you have experienced after going to a conference. We either find out that what works for a big church fails dismally in our little church setting, or we come away knowing that there is no way we can pull off what they are doing.
He goes on to say that what happens, and this is what happens to me a lot, is that we just keep on doing what we are doing and do not figure out how to take away good ideas and implement them in our small churches.
So he shares some tips on how we can implement those great ideas but on our scale.
Understanding How To Scale Your Live Stream To Fit Your Church’s Size
Dave talks about the difference between scaling up and scaling down. He then recommends that we figure out which parts of the total production inspire us. Is it the lighting, music, camera shots, stage design, etc. We may not be able to implement all of these things but there might be things that we can do in a small church.
He then encourages people to be willing to experiment. To see which of these things will click with their congregation. Keep the good and discontinue the not so good.
Finally, in this segment he talks about looking for things that a small church can do that a large church cannot and promote those things because those things are what some people are looking for. Not everyone wants a large church experience.
What We Can Learn From Large Church Live Streams
Focus On Quality
In this segment, Dave shares his value for quality production. As much as I agree that we all want to do our best for the Lord, I rebel against this value at times. I would rather have authenticity before quality and in the small church, authenticity is more important to model than the production quality. That being said, I think Dave’s points on quality are something to be listened to.
Dave talks about the need for good music. The days of having singers with a voice that only God could love are over. No painful music.
He talks about majoring in your strengths. If you are not good at something then don’t do it. Find your strengths and emphasize those.
He also talks about caring about the details. Learn to see things from a detail standpoint. Do you have an empty music stand on the stage? Remove it. Many times we get detail blind and do not see the clutter or bad design that we are presenting to the world.
Finally, he talks about quality over quantity. If you have a small set of volunteers for the Easter play consider just doing a 5-minute play that is really great and include it in your Sunday service than trying to pull off a full Easter pageant that the large church down the street is doing.
Focus On Knowledge
No small church is filled with experts. So you have to seek out knowledge. If you or your volunteer doesn’t really know much about sound systems and running a soundboard, then call the large church in your area and get connected with their sound guy. Consider paying him to come over and set up your sound system. Or at least take him out to lunch and pick his brain on running sound for a church. The same goes for other areas of your church.
Build A Team
Delegate, delegate, delegate. Let people get involved. Even delegate the stuff that you can do. Find people who are naturally gifted in leading others and make them team leaders. The biggest roadblock to your being able to implement some of these things is the need to control everything. Let people get involved.
Create Moments Not Events
A large event takes a lot of volunteers, time and energy. A moment takes a lot less. Instead of trying to produce a big event, just produce a touching and heartfelt moment. Feature a testimony of a life changed, or a touching rendition of a portion of scripture. Think small segments rather than large productions.
Focus On Your Strengths
Every small church has 2 strengths that a large church does not. The intimacy that comes with a smaller number of people and the intimacy of a smaller venue being used to worship.
Look at these things as strengths and focus on how these are something that people will want and need in their lives.
Focus On Who God Has Called Your Small Church To Be
Finally, Dave reiterates the need for the small church to be comfortable in their own skin and not take on the vision or methods of the large church but to be focused on who God has called them to be.
You don’t need to mimic Saddleback or Lifepointe or any other large church. You need to be yourself. God will use your church to bring glory to Himself. Just be who you are and do that to the best of your ability.