Churches all across the country are filing lawsuits with legislative authorities due to COVID restrictions. Whether or not they’ll be successful in defending their constitutional rights to worship in ways they see fit remains to be seen. In the interim, if you’re running a congregation, you’re probably mulling over how you can share the word of God remotely.
One of the key solutions to this problem has turned out to be church live streaming.
Live streaming is far from a foreign concept to most youth. On any given day, they watch popular celebrities broadcast live to hundreds of thousands of people. If you’re unfamiliar with live streaming though and are wondering what to keep in mind as you work to integrate streaming into your church, we’re here to help.
Keep reading to hatch a streaming strategy that works for your followers.
At the core of every effective church live streaming strategy is great equipment. That equipment should include a camera, an external microphone, a solid internet connection, and a computer. Addressing those items in order:
When buying a camera for live streaming, ensure that it shoots at least 1080p picture. Today’s cameras are usually pushing 2K and 4K quality picture. Both of those are even better choices if they’re within your budget.
Cameras should be capable of connecting to a computer.
Several live streamers make the mistake of using their camera’s on-board microphone. While onboard camera mics are improving, do better by your congregation by investing in an external microphone.
When microphone shopping, look for a cardioid mic. Cardioid mics pull in a wide field of sound from a single direction which is perfect for capturing everything that’s happening on a stage.
Live streaming entails transmitting video live through the internet. If your internet is slow, your church live streaming ambitions will suffer.
Internet connection speeds should at least be capable of sending out 15/Mbps for stable streams.
You don’t need anything fancy when it comes to your streaming computer. You’ll just want to make sure that your machine has at least 4GB of ram and a semi-modern processor (we like Intel i3 or better).
Laptops or desktops are fine for streaming.
Picking a Streaming Platform
With your equipment in place, the next church live stream question you’ll have to answer is which platform you’ll be streaming through. Simple, big-brand platforms include YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook.
Streaming through any one of the market’s popular platforms should allow you to embed your live stream into your church’s website. That may be welcome news if you have congregation members that would prefer to find your feed through there.
Based on our experience managing live streams, your church should consider streaming through YouTube to start. If YouTube doesn’t work for you, you can sample Facebook and Twitch after.
Taking in Feedback
Once your church stream goes live, have a means in place where members and technical support can provide you with feedback.
From a technical perspective, feedback will enable you to know whether or not your audio/video feed is coming through clearly. This is important as we’ve seen online sermons get conducted without audio. Most of these issues don’t get discovered by the people running the service until after it’s done.
Beyond technical feedback, allowing viewers to offer feedback on your sermon is a great way to help simulate a semblance of the interactivity you may enjoy with in-person services. YouTube, for example, enables you to turn on a chat box so people can comment live on the content you’re pushing through to them.
Sitting at home all day, it’ll be easy for your congregation members to lose track of time and forget when church streams start. To make sure they don’t miss service inadvertently, think up ways you can notify your followers shortly before your stream goes live.
Leveraging mass text messaging software or an email marketing tool like Mail Chimp are both great ways to ping people en-masse and keep them in the know.
If your congregation is like most, it probably has some people that aren’t very tech-savvy or don’t have the financial means to purchase technology. Do what you can to identify who those people are. When you do, offer them loaner devices, if possible, so they’re not left out until normal church services resume.
Even when COVID-19 begins to subside as vaccines get distributed, it may be a long time after until people that are immunocompromised or are older can participate in in-person services. With that in mind, plan on your church live streaming set-up staying in place for the foreseeable future.
After all, it never hurts to make the word of God more readily available.
Church Live Streaming Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated
As you’ve read through all of the church live streaming set-up and consideration remarks we’ve shared, we hope you’re not finding yourself overwhelmed. If you are, keep things simple.
Doing something as easy as getting a tripod for your smartphone and mobile live streaming directly through YouTube will get you online fast, albeit, without the clarity and quality you may want to invest in for your long-term streaming strategy.
Our team wishes you the best as your congregation works with officials to worship in a way that works best for you and welcomes you to check out more content on our blog if you’d like additional guidance.