Hosting a live online lecture on a branch website

Updated: August 2021

If you’re planning to offer a live Christian Science lecture online, either as a livestream of an in-person lecture or an online-only lecture, hosting the event on your website gives your community a way to find out more about both the lecture and your branch as the hosting organization. Embedding the livestream on your website, rather than using Zoom or other webinar platforms, allows you to have this background information, as well as easy and open access to the live lecture and replay.

Why should I broadcast directly on my branch’s website?

There are many advantages to this, such as the ability to connect your audience to more information about the lecture, your branch, and Christian Science before and after the event. The website gives attendees a better sense of being hosted by the branch church, instead of by the lecturer or a third party.

The page on your website where you host the lecture is where your lecture promotional materials will direct people to attend the event. This “event page,” as we’ll call it, can give context and explanations that the public often needs before deciding to attend or even call for more information. In this way, the event page serves as an essential stepping stone to the lecture.

By livestreaming the lecture on this event page, it makes the lecture accessible to church members and the public alike. The replay of the lecture can also be made available on this same event page, meaning that no one needs to find a different link to watch the replay. With a dedicated event page, there’s no need for anyone to download extra software, like Zoom. There’s also no required registration, which can be too much to expect of a newcomer. (See Host a lecture’s “Publicity and Advertising - All Lectures” accordion for more info on optional registration.)

If your branch already has a website, below are some tips for adding the livestream event page. Setting up a separate event page doesn’t have to be difficult. Talk to the person who maintains your website about adding a page dedicated to the lecture livestream.

**If your branch doesn't have a website and you’re wondering about setting up your own, even if only for the purpose of hosting the lecture, take a look at the tips below for some context. More information about creating your branch’s own website and lecture’s livestream can be found at the end of this page.

Suggested layout of event page

The layout and information on the event page can be simple and straightforward. Visit this sample lecture event page, www.samplelecturepage.com, and take a look at the ideas below to see how they work together.

Since the flyer for the lecture has the bare minimum amount of information, the event page should give more context to support the newcomer. This additional context would include a bit more information about the lecture, Christian Science, the lecturer, and the branch. See below for some more explanation.

Simplicity is key. So, when designing an event page, keep information direct and to the point.

  • Lecture title at top (where “Sample Christian Science Lecture Page” currently is)

  • Date and time of the event — at the top, easy for people to see

  • A brief description of the lecture (the lecturer will provide you with this)

  • The preview image of the lecture video has the same image as what is used on all the publicity materials for this lecture. The continuity in design helps newcomers know they’ve arrived at the right place to learn more about and attend the lecture. (The lecturer will provide you with the video-streaming link to embed in the video player.)

  • Below the video player is a brief explanation of Christian Science. So often, we’ve heard from newcomers that they really need to know something about what Christian Science is before deciding if they want to attend a lecture. Even just a sentence or two helps. (The lecturer will provide you with this or similar text.)

  • Next comes a form for submitting a question to the lecturer. Anyone can submit a question before and during the lecture. The form should be set up in a way that allows the lecturer to see the questions coming in, even during the lecture itself. Often, this means using something like a “Google Form” if you have a Gmail account, which then creates a Google spreadsheet that you can share with the lecturer.

  • Then, it’s important to have some information about the lecturer. The lecturer will provide you with this text. There will not be a lot of text because Christian Science itself and the lecture theme are the focus of the event, not the lecturer. There should be just enough information to give a potential attendee at the lecture some sense of who the speaker is. Also included in this section is a small photo of the lecturer, which you can download from the lecturer’s profile page under Meet the lecturers.

  • A brief video clip from the lecture (a link to which will also be provided by the lecturer) goes next to or near the biographical information. This clip offers the potential attendee a transparent look at what the lecture content, style, tone, etc., will be like.

  • End the page with basic information about you as the hosting church. This gives the visitor somewhere to go to learn more. The branch church, not the lecturer, is the primary resource for this lecture to the community.*

*If this event page is part of your branch church’s larger website, links to other pages with additional information within the website can be placed here.

If I don’t have a branch website, but want one, what do I do?

Setting up an event page doesn’t have to be difficult. If you don’t have a website, it is possible to set up a simple, single-page site very similar to www.samplelecturepage.com at a low cost, used just for the purpose of hosting the lecture. It doesn’t have to be more than that. If you’re interested in learning more, contact the Board of Lectureship office at bolpublicity@csps.com.

There are several companies with automated services to walk you through the steps, or you can hire a company to set one up on your behalf. The sample site above was designed very quickly using an all-in-one website builder called SquareSpace. Services like WIX and Weebly are other popular options. WordPress is very well known, but is designed for those who are more experienced. There are plenty of other options!