Thrive Summit 2020

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Thrive Summit 2020

July 16, 2020

The Challenge

The Thrive Summit is an annual gathering of global church leaders with a vision to equip them with tools to effect an impact in their local communities and ultimately produce thriving, healthy churches. Usually, the Summit is held in person in Sacramento, California, but the COVID-19 pandemic presented the leaders of Thrive with a challenge - should they cancel the event, like many others were doing around the US in a season of lockdown?

Or perhaps there was another option...

“We made a decision to pivot the whole event to be online,” said Ray Johnston, Senior Pastor of Bayside Church and Founder of Thrive. “We began to gather the most amazing lineup of world-class business, government and church leaders from around the world and we wanted the online experience to reflect the quality of presenters”

Sardius had been serving the multi-campus Bayside Church with their Sardius CHURCH online video platform for some time, and so it was to Sardius that the leaders at Thrive turned. With a significant requirement list in a turnaround time of under a month - this would be a significant challenge. “We love the team and the vision at Thrive,” said Jason Shore, CEO of Sardius “We were totally up for the challenge, there is no way we were going to let Thrive down”

So what was Thrive asking for?

  • Custom-Designed Watch Experience - Thrive has a unique branded look and feel and this branding needed to be weaved throughout the whole online experience. Sardius worked hand-in-hand with Thrive designers to ensure this was carried out throughout every aspect of the online experience for the Thrive attendees.
  • Event Registration - Thrive needed to make a decision regarding which ticketing software they would use for the event. They opted to go with Sardius' native registration rather than a third party ticketing software. Although they had decided to make it a free event, registration was still important to create custom experiences for those in the conference (such as watch parties) and also to stay connected with those who attended the conference, as well as getting helpful analytics to make the experience better next time. As with other free events, decisions must be made regarding which content to keep behind the registration wall and which to offer completely for free. Thrive came to a great conclusion of offering the live conference without registration, but access to the video archives and many interactive features could only be accessed by registration.
  • Chat with Emoji Responses - The chat features have been significantly upgraded with cool emoji responses all branded in accordance with the Thrive style guide.
  • Different Watch Parties for Different Audience Segments - The registrants were divided into watch parties based upon different areas of California, the US, the world and even unique church groups could create their own space, so that people could view and interact with other attendees with whom they would have some commonalities. During the conference, someone asked a question in Swahili and was answered three times - Bwana Asifiwe!
  • Event Timeline - Underneath the main video player a custom event timeline was built to show conference attendees what was ahead in the schedule, also giving attendees the ability to set calendar reminders for sessions they wanted to attend.
Custom Event Timeline with live updates

  • Hyperlinked Overlays - Throughout the watch experience, the Bio links and hyperlinked overlays on the player helped orient and link the viewer to pertinent information.

  • Breakout Rooms - Thrive not only had an amazing main stage lineup, but the breakouts were an opportunity for attendees to delve deeper into specific topics and connect with others through video conferencing.
  • Instant Archives - Like all of our other events the archives from the live session is available immediately after the live (or simulated live) session is over.
  • A Fun Game - Finally as a part of the live experience, Thrive asked for a fun video game to be included in the experience - we went old-school retro with a Thrive themed Pong game!

The Result

The result was a conference where over 150,000 registered from literally all over the world. Despite hitches in the run order of the main stage, Sardius was able to pivot a create a world-class experience for every attendee and provide solutions to the list of requirements the Thrive team threw at Sardius with a very short lead time.

The Thrive team were more than happy with the result.

Jake Floch - Senior Video Director of Thrive said

“We realize that we contacted the guys at Sardius, late in the day. As a team we’d been looking at the more dynamic components of other online video platforms and from this review, we put together a list of requirements for Sardius to execute. We are so thankful for the way we could work with the team there to create a great experience for everyone. I’d recommend Sardius to anyone.”

Zack Dutra - Digital Projects Director at Bayside Church said

“When we were asked to build a streaming platform for Thrive Summit to serve over 100,000 people, we turned to the same team that we rely on for our weekend services. Sardius provides a professional, reliable, and customizable platform for both our weekend services and major events like Thrive. More importantly, they’re a team of great people who make working with them both easy and fun.”

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