Worship Tools






Tips for Online Worship

  1. Record a sermon or devotional
  2. If wanting to stream with music, make sure your church is covered with 2 licenses:
    1. Go to CCLI.com for a 1) copyright $200 and 2) streaming $60.
  3. Places to put your recordings: YouTube, Facebook Live, and your church website
  4. View a list of 187 Great Plains churches who are currently offering online worship, per Vital Signs data. This is not including those who are experimenting differently in the past 1-2 weeks.
  5. Connect with churches in-network who are offering recordings. Come together to do a recording including pastors in the network to try to reach as many mission fields as possible. Find out who does not have a livestreaming platform and send links to people to be connectional and/or include pastors of network congregations to participate in livestream so can all can see their pastors.

For more information on livestreaming visit the Great Plains Facebook page.

The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts (The Fellowship) has launched a crowdsourced pandemic response worship resourcing page. It contains information and resources for worship leaders who are rapidly adapting to offering worship experiences online. New ideas are being posted every day by the creative worship leaders of the UMC.

Perkins School of Theology: "Advice on preaching to an empty room"
The Rev. Alyce McKenzie, director of the Center for Preaching Excellence at Perkins School of Theology, shares tips for pastors who in this period of coronavirus are giving online-only sermons. Read blog post.

Preparing for Worship in Your Home

The Rev. Dr. Jane Florence, senior pastor at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Lincoln, shares with her congregation ways they can create a holy space at home for their online worship experience. While the message is for this particular church, the concepts can be used regardless of the size or location of your physical church building or congregation. View the video.

Sensory-Rich Online Worship

Worship consultant Dr. Marcia McFee shares some ideas for engaging viewers in a livestream worship situation where there is no congregation present in the physical space. View the video.  

Online Hospitality

The Rev. Will Rice, an elder in the Rio Texas Conference, offers five suggestions on how to help viewers feel welcome when they visit you for worship online. Read the article on https://pastorwill.net.


To steer clear of a need for copyright licensing or streaming licenses, you will have to use exclusively royalty-free music. And that means you must stick to music considered to be "public domain." This story from United Methodist News Service tells you how to find public domain music.

Download piano accompaniment recordings for about 200 songs found in the United Methodist hymnals.

Online Communion

Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. and the Appointive Cabinet have developed guidelines for celebrating communion online. Learn more on our page dedicated to this sacrament.


Tools and Considerations for Recording and Livestreaming

In many ways, the coronavirus is forcing churches to embrace technology to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in ways that we probably should have been using for quite some time. Todd Seifert, conference communications director, provided some tips about equipment and licensing of copyright materials during a Facebook Live session.

Download a PDF featuring many of these tips and equipment ideas.

Recording vs. Livestreaming
About Licensing

If you are going to stream or record your worship service with any music included, you must have the following:

  • Music license — Either from CCLI, OneLicense or another company, this license allows you to project words from songs covered by that license. Note that not all songs are covered by all licenses.
  • Streaming license — If you broadcast beyond the walls of your church, such as on YouTube or Facebook Live, you are a broadcaster and must have this license. Again, CCLI, OneLicense and other companies provide this service.


Here are some suggestions for equipment purchases:

Standard Kit — Includes a Panasonic camcorder that uses a micro-HDMI cable to connect to a computer for streaming.

Lower-cost Kit — Includes a Canon camcorder that uses a mini-HDMI cable to connect to a computer for streaming.

Microphones for iPads and iPhones — VideoMic Me may provide you with the final piece you need to be able to stream or record sermons.

You'll may need a laptop or other computer either to connect to the internet or on which to edit your video. In come circumstances, your phone or tablet can work as long as you can keep them at eye level (nobody wants to see up your nose, for example) and within about 3 feet of your mouth. An external microphone that works with your phone or tablet is preferred in those circumstances.

Whether you livestream a worship service or record it and post it after the fact really depends on equipment, your internet connection, aptitude and expense. 

  • Internet Connection — Beyond the kit recommendations, you'll need a computer and, in most cases, a hard-wired connection to the Internet. WiFi is great, but it often has a slower upload speed. Go to https://www.speedtest.net. You should have at last 5 Mb/second of upload speed to stream adequately. And the higher the better!
  • Aptitude — Both recording and livestreaming have their pluses and minuses. Recording requires you to have software to edit the video. You also need a place to "house" the video, such as YouTube or Vimeo. If you stream, however, to Faceook Live, you have your own archive on your church's timeline, though that means you have to scroll back weeks to find old videos. If you livestream, you need to understand how to get the sound and video together to upload to the internet. Neither is bad. Just know your limitations and play to your strengths.
  • Expense — If you stream or record to post later, and if you include any music, you have to purchase a streaming license from CCLI or another comparable company. The cost depends on your average worship attendance. You'll need some kind of camera or smartphone. And you'll need the computer and/or software to accomplish your task. It's important to think of what equipment and services you will use post-pandemic so you don't use money on things now that you will not use at all later.

Resources for Worship Services

The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts (The Fellowship) has launched a crowdsourced Pandemic Response Worship Resourcing page on its website. It’s got information and resources for worship leaders who are rapidly adapting to offering worship experiences online. It’s a dynamic resource, with new ideas being posted every day by the creative worship leaders of the UMC.