How to Best Communicate to Your Online Church Audience [3 Keys]

How to Best Communicate to Your Online Church Audience [3 Keys]


After the service, the pastor walked over to me and said, “Talking to the online audience feels awkward.” I told him the sermon was great and really connected with me. I asked him if he had practiced it. He said every week he practices so he can see how each point is going to land. I then asked him if he practiced greeting the online church audience. He paused and said, “No, I don’t practice that part.”

Most people are relational and can interact easily with real human beings, but when looking at a camera, things change. In reality, people who are good at talking on camera get paid a decent amount of money for their expertise. Interacting with an online church audience is an art, but it’s not unattainable. Here are a few keys that will help you talk to your streaming audience and defeat the fear of talking to a camera:

Key #1 – Visitors Should Be the Primary Focus for Your Online Church Audience

Your online church audience strategy should be all about visitors. Most people learn about your church online first. People use your web stream to understand your church and see who you are. Therefore, reaching those visitors who are watching online should be a priority. Develop a strategy, approach, and outreach.

Think like a visitor and approach your online outreach like a visitor. For example, make sure visitors can find your stream, directions, or service with one click. Don’t bury these items so deep on your website that it’s hard to find. It’s also good to understand your streaming outlets. Facebook, YouTube, and your website all reach different audiences.

I find that Facebook is your drive-by audience, similar to those who drive by your church and say “Someday, we should check them out.” Those on Facebook are doing the same thing as they scroll past your stream. YouTube tends to be a younger audience and its features can provide a better experience, but it’s not typically where visitors will go to find you.

Visitors will go to find you on your website. When people google “churches in my area” or “help with my marriage,” YouTube or Facebook doesn’t tend to be the first items that come up. Your website does. Understanding this and developing an online strategy for each outlet and eyeball will allow you to create talking points before your step on the platform, and like your in-person audience, it will help you talk to that specific audience member that is watching online.

Think through your service and how it relates to your online audience. Create a service that engages your online audience while understanding when and how you should talk directly to them. While I could write an entire article on just this, the main point is to draw in both the in-person audience and the online audience.

Put points in your sermon that are specifically designed to help engage the online audience. When transitioning between songs, don’t just engage the in-person audience by asking them to clap or raise their hands, but also talk to the online audience. Think in seven- to ten-minute segments. Every seven to ten minutes include a pivot in the service, either a song change, sermon point change, or a direct engagement with the audience.

In the building you have a foyer that allows interaction with the in-person audience before and after services; how can you translate this experience to online by addressing attendees who come early or want to engage after?

One big answer to this question is Altar Live has figured out how to allow people to virtually come to the Altar for prayer, sit next to people in the service, and join a table before service to talk through the women, men, kids, or any other ministry you define. Whether you use Altar Live or come up with some other way to facilitate what you do in person, or online. It’s important that the format of your online service answers these questions and presents an engagement loop that draws everyone in.

How to Best Communicate to Your Online Church Audience [3 Keys]

Key #2 – Vision is Essential to Your Church Online Audience

Talk routinely about the vision of your online service and how it relates to the in-person audience. Point out the cameras and let the audience know that those cameras are missionaries, taking what you are doing in the building to the entire world. Cameras, lights, and sound are not distractions, but an instrument of worship that allows the message of Christ to reach and invite those who are not in the building. It is natural to paint the vision for a capital campaign, ministry outreach, or church event, therefore, it should be natural to talk about the vision for your online ministry. 

Things to Include

This may be the most important part of talking to the camera. Always make sure you include the online audience. Look through every aspect of your service and establish ways the online audience can participate in what you are doing. Think through what you are going to say and how it relates to them. 

But how do you talk to them? Make direct eye contact with the camera. If your church puts the camera shots up on screens, know that over 80 percent of the in-person audience is looking at the screens, not you. So, when you make eye contact with the camera, you are looking at 80 percent of your in-person audience and 100 percent of your online audience. This means that any time you can format something for online attendees, it will translate for the in-person audience. A great example of this is pre-recording your announcements or doing a specialized greeting for the online audience during your in-person meet-and-greet time.

Along with routinely making eye contact with the camera, avoid words that will disconnect them from what you are saying. In the opening paragraph, the pastor used the words “tonight” and “watching”. The word “tonight” can disconnect those joining you later in the week via an on-demand option. Use “today” or another word choice that doesn’t date your communication.

The word “watching” talks about the online visitor in a way that can make them feel like they are not part of what is happening. Use words that draw in the online audience, like “joining,” “connecting,” or “participating.” Wording and verbiage are important but don’t overthink it. Be yourself. Smiling and moving your hands while talking will help engage your online audience.

Key #3 – Invitation is Fundamental to Your Church Online Audience

The Bible says to not forsake the gathering of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:24 and 25). It also says we are to go into all the world and preach the Gospel (Mark 16:15). When the printing press was invented, that tool was used to print the Bible, teachings, and ads that ultimately brought more people to church. The printing press was a massive leap forward in fulfilling the great commission.

Online outreach is just another tool that allows us to digitally reach more people around the world for Christ. Let’s work hard to define a strategy, format, and vision that helps encourage people to attend in person. This is just one way churches can move towards fulfilling the Digital Great Commission.

Why Attend WAVE? (What makes us different)

The WAVE conference focuses on audiovisual and lighting first and is a traditional conference and expo with the best church AVL exhibitors and vendors in the industry. At WAVE, you and your tech team will have the time to talk with exhibitors because our expo floor is less crowded and better organized than other AVL conferences. WAVE offers the opportunity to see what others are doing and even boasts and church tour local to the conference. Experience roundtable discussions during meals and after sessions. Visit the biggest manufacturers in your area. Maximize your team’s time for education, training on equipment, and industry connection and collaboration. Lastly, WAVE offers incredible value for the education, exhibit access, networking, worship, and amenities for the price of the ticket. Lastly, we at WAVE want to see your church grow, help others find God, and feel personal satisfaction with their jobs by being educated and connecting within the AVL church tech industry. Register for WAVE today!

David Leuschner currently serves as the Executive Director of Digital Great Commission Ministries, a non-profit that has a mission to utilize technology to reach the entire world for Jesus Christ. David has been in the tech industry for over 30 years and has always had a passion for the church. From 2006 to 2017 he served on the Senior Team as the Senior Director of Technology and Technical Arts at Gateway Church. He provided oversight for all of the Technology and Live Production areas. Gateway Church is located in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and is one of the largest churches in America. While at Gateway, David guided and directed over 700 volunteers, part-time and full-time staff in a mission to facilitate several hundred events a month among all venues.

David has a passion for presenting God's Word, worship, and teaching in a way that changes lives. Before coming to work at Gateway Church, David started volunteering at a local Church at the age of 11. He progressed to working at high-level events that included working with President George H W Bush, US Diplomat Alan Lee Keyes, Walt Disney World, Universal Studio, ABC News, Steven Curtis Chapman, Newsboys, and many other major artists. David has been married to his beautiful wife Nicole for 17 years and they love their 15-year-old son Justin. Visit to find out how David Leuschner can help your church.