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Facebook Features for Gathering Online

When it comes to having a video presence, there are usually three platforms that a church can consider:

  • Video Calling

  • Video Rooms

  • Live Videos

While each of these platforms can be used through several platforms like Zoom or FaceTime, Facebook recently released updates for each one of these video presence platforms, making it easier for people to connect through one server rather than multiple ones. 

The following content is adapted from Mark Zuckerberg’s New Product Updates video that was released on Friday, April 24, 2020, on Facebook. The features below are not all representative of what Highlands uses throughout the week but do present practical tools that our team believes could be helpful for you as you continue to build an online video presence during this time.

Video Calling

Video calling is used to video chat with another individual or a small group of people. While you may choose to use a platform like FaceTime for these connections, Facebook has released some new features to make video calling a more natural and fun experience:

  • WhatsApp This free messaging app is available internationally and can now host up to 8 people on a video call. This could be a good option for Small Group leaders to consider when meeting with their groups.

  • Facebook Messenger Facebook messenger is attached to an individual’s Facebook account and can support one-on-one video calls. Messenger now offers features like 360-degree artificial backgrounds and new lighting options to make your video chats a more effective and fun experience.

Video Rooms (NEW)

Video rooms require someone to make a link and send it to people or post it online for people to access. These platforms can hold larger groups and allow people to join through a web interface, regardless if they do or don’t have a particular app, phone, etc. Facebook is preparing to release Messenger Rooms within the upcoming weeks and will offer features such as:

  • Private meetings Much like Zoom, a person can create a link with Messenger Rooms and share it with people to join a private meeting.

  • Facebook Friend meetings You can also open up a Messenger Room that will allow your Facebook friends to stop by and chat with you. These can be scheduled or spontaneous and can be used for pop-up devotionals, meet and greets, or more. 

  • Facebook Group meetings You can create a Messenger Room for a specific Facebook Group as well. This could be a good option for Small Groups, serve teams, campuses, or a church as a whole to connect with one another. 

Facebook Messenger Rooms can also be integrated with Facebook Events, making it easier for people to sign up to attend an event and access it through your church’s Facebook page.

Live Videos

Live videos broadcast live events and create a platform for real-time interaction. This platform can reach the largest number of people. While Facebook Live has been a helpful tool for thousands of churches during this time, here are some  new features that are available to continue to add to your live experience:

  • “Live with” Feature When going live on Facebook, you’re now able to go “live with” another person and have a live remote conversation broadcasted to your viewers. This could be an exciting option for interviews, panels, devotionals, and more.

  • Integrated with Facebook Events Like Messenger Rooms, Facebook Live events can now be integrated with Facebook Events that you create on your church’s page for people to share, RSVP for, and more. 

As previously stated, this blog is devoted to passing along information and informing of new features available through the Facebook platform. The team at Highlands does not endorse any of these platforms, but we do encourage you to check these out if you are looking for a way to keep your congregation connected during this time. 

For more resources on how to use technology to connect with your congregation during this time, check out the following on Grow Online:

Introduction to Church Online Platforms

Utilizing Technology for Small Groups

Our vision is to see the local church grow in every community.

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