The Power Of Audio Conferences: Using Conferencing In Your Small Congregation

Smaller churches and other houses of worship tend to operate with tighter budgets.  Providing ministries with little money does call for some creative thinking.  One way to stretch those dollars is to consider using audio conferencing to keep congregants connected.  Try these approaches and see how they make a difference.

Board Meetings

Congregations structured with a board of directors or parish councils can use this type of voice service as part of their standard meeting setup.  Along with those who can gather at the church, board members who are out of town or otherwise unable to be at the church can dial into the conference and interact freely with the other members.  Augment the audio with the use of a web conference and they can also view any documents passed around the table.   With this setup, there are never any concerns about failing to have a quorum of board members for voting.  That will make doing the business of the church all the more efficient.

Committee Meetings

Committees within the congregation can use conferencing to gather without having to assemble at the church.  This is especially helpful when committee members are scattered over a wide geographical area.  Using the dial-in numbers and codes set aside for the meeting, they phone in at the appointed time.  They can get right down to business and complete the meeting quickly.  

Along with making it easier to fit a committee meeting into the schedule, this also means that no one has to show up ahead of time to turn on the heat or flip on the lights.  With conference call platforms available for flat monthly rates, it is possible to trim other costs and easily offset the expense of the audio conference.

More Inclusive Sunday School Classes

With nothing more than a speaker phone and a conference call account, it's easy to include more people in a Sunday School class.  At the beginning of the class, activate the conference so people at remote locations can dial in.  They'll hear every word that's said, and can even add their own remarks to the discussion time.

Think about what this means.  Class members who are ill can still attend the class from the comfort of their beds.  Members with limited mobility can fellowship and learn right along with those in the Sunday School room.  Any members who are traveling can dial in from wherever they happen to be, and be a part of the class.

Worship Services

How about using a conference call account to broadcast a live worship service?  Set up a phone at the pulpit and dial into the conference.  Shut-ins and others who can't make it that Sunday can also dial in and listen with ease.  Since the conference features include the ability to record the service, it's easy enough to make that recording available to anyone who cannot participate in real time.

A Prayer Call

Praying together is one of the things that helps to bring a congregation close.  Think about setting up weekly prayer call for the same date and time.  The pastor or a worship associate conducts the meeting, asks for prayer requests, and then takes volunteers who offer prayer for every concern presented to the group.  

Choosing a Platform

Conference calls come in more than one type of platform.  The best type for these applications is usually referred to as reservationless or on-demand conferencing.  Each account is provided with a permanent toll-free number, a moderator or leader code, and a participant code.  

The moderator has access to a range of features to tailor the meeting. With this platform, the moderator can dial out to people who are physically unable to punch in the codes, activate a recording of the conference, and control when the meeting comes to an end.   For cost purposes, it pays to work with a conference provider who offers flat rate pricing.  This simply means the church will pay a fixed monthly rate in exchange for having constant access to a specified number of connections.  Those connections or lines can be used whenever needed, without incurring any additional fees.

Take a look at how your church operates and what adding audio conferencing can do to bring the congregation closer together.  Along the way, you'll find that voice services can also save money and help leaders be better stewards over the resources of the church.