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By Sophia Nelson
Alliance Christian Fellowship (ACF) Church is a unique organization that showcases just how incredible of a tool technology can be. Based in the remote town of Eagle River, Alaska (about 12 miles from Anchorage), the ACF congregation regularly fluctuates in size. This fact, paired with the town’s remote location and small population (about 30,000 give or take), left this tight-knit community in desperate need of a church that could unite their congregation, no matter its location. That’s exactly why, when ACF discovered Resi and its ability to provide unmatched resiliency, even with low internet speeds, they knew the strength of their ministry would change forever.
In order to learn more about ACF’s transition to online ministry, we decided to venture all the way across the continent and sit down with ACF Production Director, Ryan Robison, and Online Director, Zach Cupery. Learn more about our experience and follow along as we look back on our conversation where we learned what led the church to consider streaming, how they overcame the challenges of transitioning online in a remote location, and how this digital transformation has led to a stronger community.
While speaking with Cupery and Robison, one of the first things we wanted to understand was ACF’s online presence and what influenced them to begin streaming.
“Live streaming is super important in any community, but specifically for Eagle River, just because we’re such a transient community. We have a lot of military [personnel] who are deployed in different places and [streaming] gives them the ability to dive deeper, ask questions, and wrestle with their community that’s here, but also the community that’s around them where they’re at,” commented Cupery.
Robison then added how the church “saw a need in the community to fill in the gaps where people couldn’t be here in person.” He continued, stating, “We try to use technology to take advantage of those opportunities and fill in those gaps.” This ideology is what eventually drove ACF to begin streaming years ago. However, after some time, they realized their need for a better streaming solution to help them reach their community in an effective way.
With Eagle River’s remote location, the church struggled to combat their shoddy internet connection—often leaving their online presence uncertain.
“When I came here four years ago, we had to go through a lengthy process of setting up codes and keys and processes, every week. We couldn’t schedule anything out and had a lot of errors because if we missed one step, we didn’t go live,” voiced Robison. “With the onset of COVID,” he added, “we all realized the increased need for online resiliency and we all saw Resi as a great option for that.”
With the use of our Resi encoder, ACF was able to both simplify their overwhelming production setup, and build stronger, and more reliable, connections with their online viewers. Cupery also proceeded to explain how Resi helped ACF overcome the challenges of remote internet connections, stating,
“The ability to quickly and easily be able to fall back on a simulated live recording, or have a little bit extra bandwidth with [Resi’s] two minute buffer, allows us to know, ‘Hey, if our internet goes out for one minute and we need to problem-shoot things, we’ve got a little bit of time to get things up before our online audience even realizes there’s a problem.'”
However, ACF’s increased reliability is not the only improvement streaming with Resi has provided. Cupery and Robison revealed that due to their digital transformation, ACF has been able to create a stronger community both in their physical church, and online. In fact, Cupery illustrated how the church uses Resi’s Ray Encoder to increase their mobility and adjust their location in order to accept larger congregations. He states, “When the holidays come around, we often will go to other places with a larger venue, just so that we can all come together as a church body, in one place.”
He explains how this unification not only strengthens the physical congregation, but also how executing these vital changes is made easier thanks to the help of Resi, saying, “Resi opens up the door, in the sense that, we have a small encoder that we can trust with unknown wifi sources and [that we can] set up, test the speeds, and set the parameters.” He then also made note of how streaming has also allowed ACF to welcome-in those who are not ready to fully dive into consistent church attendance yet.
“[Streaming] just gives you the ability to connect with people where they are, and it’s definitely going to hit a demographic that is not willing to step inside this church until we break down walls in their homes.”
With the help of Resi and the curation of their online presence, ACF has been able to transform the relationship they have with their existing community, while still building connections and sharing their message with the entirety of Eagle River, and beyond.
ACF offers a look into how any church, no matter their location or internet access, can find success and connection through taking their ministry online. Whether your organization is dealing with a fluctuating congregation-size, struggling with unreliable internet access, or is simply conflicted on how to update your services and expand your reach, streaming with Resi can help make your online transition as seamless and successful as possible.
Be sure to watch our full ACF video below and contact our Sales and Support Team to learn how Resi can help take your organization online today.
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