Elevate Online Worship with Technology

In a dark space, a laptop compiuter is open about forty-five degrees and emits a wash of colored light.

Online worship, especially using Zoom, invites worship leaders to create new ways of engaging with one another and with the sources of wisdom presented in worship.

These webinars were designed to help worship leaders create engaging, media-rich moments for Zoom and online worship services.

Each video presents the liturgical and/or theological reasoning behind the worship leader's choices as well as instructions about how to try the technology for yourself. While the webinars refer to Apple products and apps, many of the "tricks" are technology-neutral and can be done on PC/Android devices.

We encourage you to be more curious than self-critical; to give yourself time to experiment and learn; and to have fun embracing the new frontier of online worship!

Making of an Online Call to Worship

by Rev. Karen G. Johnston

Rev. Karen G. Johnston's Making of an Online Call to Worship

(15 minutes)

In this webinar, Karen (she/her/hers) explains why and how she took a simple call to worship (Rev. Ian Riddell's "The Calling of the Creatures"), chose to record it in her own voice, and then—to offset the "flatness" of video worship—took an artistic approach by adding visual elements: copyright-free photos. Karen explains where she found those photos, and how she added them to iMovie to create a stunning and compelling online call to worship.

A Flower Communion in Honor of Black Lives

by Rev. Michael Crumpler, in conversation with Rev. Erika Hewitt

Rev. Michael Crumpler and Rev. Erika Hewitt discussing his Flower Communion in Honor of Black Lives 

(24 minutes)

Rev. Michael Crumpler (he/him/his) guides viewers through his creative liturgical solution for a pressing prophetic need: how to respond to the murder of George Floyd even as he honored the congregation's traditional Flower Communion... all virtually. Michael explains how he engaged the congregation by gathering their photographs of flowers, and then rose to the moment by pairing those photos with the names of unarmed Black people who have been killed. Michael also takes us through the technology of exporting the video as a movie, to which he added music in iMovie.

A Sensory-Rich Reading for Online Worship

by Rev. Erika Hewitt

Rev. Erika Hewitt's Sensory-Rich Reading for Online Worship

(12 minutes)

Erika (she/her/hers) explains the importance of moving away from the one-dimensional and potentially awkward practice, as a white worship leader, of reading the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. herself. Instead, Erika sought out a video of Dr. King delivering his own powerful message as a video "reading." Erika explains how she allowed herself to "play" on the Internet to find a video of Dr. King's "The Other America" speech, and teaches one way to download that video. She also explains the technology behind inserting the video into a Keynote/PowerPoint slideshow, and then adjusting important settings for seamless presentation in worship. [Contextual note: Erika used this reading to draw a distinction between the use of the word "riot" in 1967 versus its harmful connotations in 2020, and why she uses "uprising" to describe current events/protests.]

Creating Media-Rich Moments in Online Worship

by Rev. Erika Hewitt

Rev. Erika Hewitt's Creating Media-Rich Moments in Online Worship 

(20 minutes)

As worship leaders, we can report or even describe the events of the week... or we can show them. In this webinar, Erika provides a powerful example—the toppling of a Confederate statue by protestors, on Juneteenth—of how even a one-minute video can change the tone of a worship service. Erika teaches you how to record a video from social media on a smartphone, send it to your Keynote/PowerPoint, and adjust the video's settings for worship. Finally, Erika emphasizes the responsibility of worship leaders to use media carefully, invitationally, and fully prepared to help worshipers process what they're experiencing.

Integrating Media with iMovie

by Rev. Michael Crumpler, in conversation with Rev. Erika Hewitt

Rev. Michael Crumpler and Rev. Erika Hewitt explore Integrating Media with iMovie

(10 minutes)

Rev. Michael Crumpler explains how to integrate and front-loading the labor of technology for more seamless worship presentation. Michael gives us a tour, in iMovie, of a completed project: he exported a Keynote slideshow to a movie, dropped that video into iMovie, and then added music and movie transitions.