Live streaming for churches provides an essential service for the community. During the global COVID-19 pandemic, many religious organizations began to change their worship format to incorporate live streaming church services. Even as restrictions relax, many religious organizations have realized they can reach a larger audience by using church live streaming software. But finding the right ministry technology for live streaming can be a headache. What should churches look for in these tools to give their audiences a high-quality message that stays with them long after the sermon is over?
Why Consider Live Streaming Church Services?
For religious organizations that haven’t considered a permanent live stream strategy, let’s first assess the benefits of video conferencing solutions for churches:
· Live streaming expands your geographic footprint to new members outside your community.
· It can be a welcome way for you to reach sick and elderly congregants with your message without forcing them to travel.
· These communications can be archived and made keyword-searchable, so that your videos can be viewed over and over, spreading the message.
· For missionaries in the field, live streaming offers an immediate way to connect with their church.
· Live streaming is a great way to introduce new members to your church environment before they show up on Sunday. It’s like a welcome mat that helps people feel more comfortable.
· Live streaming can go on even during adverse weather events, connecting everyone without forcing them to drive on slick or snow-covered roads.
Livestreaming isn’t like a podcast. By broadcasting your entire service, you share prayer and music as well as the message. These benefits are why so many religious organizations have begun live streaming church services—and plan to continue long after COVID-19 is behind us.
Preparing Your Church for Live Streaming
2020 was the year of the video conference, and churches everywhere embraced the technology for everything from streaming worship services to events like weddings, outreach, funerals, and much more. While many organizations grabbed the quickest solution they could find during the crisis, as mask mandates and gathering restrictions begin to wane, it’s time to consider more permanent partnerships with church streaming software services.
But there are some unique considerations for any religious organization considering permanent live streaming church services as part of their outreach strategy. Churches must consider budget and bandwidth, but they also must:
· Seek buy-in from the congregation, staff, and any governing board, like a board of elders.
· Confirm the budget to cover the costs of professional church live streaming software services.
· Gather staff or volunteers to operate the cameras and audio equipment.
· Determine where the service will be live streamed and archived for on-demand viewing.
Buy-in can be a difficult hurdle to overcome in some cases. For example, both the pastor and the congregants must be comfortable having themselves on film. However, there is plenty of data out there to help reinforce why live streaming and an online presence for churches is so valuable:
· The Church Online reports 33% of parishioners first learned about their church online.
· Pew Research Center says almost half of U.S. adults have seen someone share their faith on social media.
· The Blackbaud Institute reports that $2.2 billion is regularly donated online.
If your church members find livestreaming beneficial, you have a budget, and you want to expand your reach, live streaming for churches is a good choice.
Technology and Your Church Livestream
Once you’ve secured buy-in for livestreaming, there are two primary categories of technology to consider as part of your church livestream:
· Internal technologies for audio and video.
· Church live-streaming software.
Internal Livestreaming Technologies
The cameras you use are the most important equipment to consider. You can typically use any of a webcam, DSLR, camcorder, an action camera, or cameras specifically designed to transmit the broadcast. Here are a few pros and cons of each:
· Webcams, which broadcast through a desktop or laptop, are an inexpensive option. However, it’s tricky to design a professional presentation with these limited tools.
· A DSLR camera works well for high-quality HD video conferencing solutions like MegaMeeting.
· Camcorders were made for shooting video. A benefit is mobility. Look for the ones with HDMI and Wi-Fi capabilities to connect straight to the web.
· Action cameras, like a GoPro, can be expensive, but they work well if you have a particularly mobile service. If your pastor roams around, or your band is particularly feeling it, these cameras could capture all that energy.
One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need to spend big money to get a high-quality camera anymore.
Lighting is another consideration. Your video just won’t look right without professional-looking lighting. Using a technique called three-point lighting is a good way to remedy this for a low cost. Three-point lighting provides a backlight behind and two lights upfront at 45-degree angles. Just remember: What you see and what the camera captures are two different things, so take your time to get things right from the camera’s perspective.
Audio equipment, like lighting, is very important. If you have a small congregation, you may be able to make it just fine with the microphone on your computer. But having microphones that feed into the camera, such as wireless mics, can present a high-quality event for a low cost.
Once you’ve pulled together your internal setup, it’s time to look at church live streaming software. There are some free options available, but they typically were not created for churches. They often lack the kind of support you may need to launch a regular professional broadcast.
What should you look for in a church-specific live streaming platform?
Church Live Streaming Software
Meets by BP can help your organization stream all church events straight from your location to anywhere in the world through the internet. Whether it’s Facebook, YouTube, or somewhere else—or all of these locations simultaneously—our secure platform helps you spread the good word.
In addition to our state-of-the-art HD video conferencing solution, we offer unparalleled support for our pastoral customers. We know that these organizations are often stretched thin as they preach, counsel, and support their members, while also dealing with the daily operational requirements of running what is effectively a business.
For churches, having a 100% web-based platform means viewers will not have to download software to see the sermon. They’ll be able to watch on any digital device from any browser, wherever they have Wi-Fi.
Meets by Business Pro offers churches another benefit that many other providers do not: You can white label your events with our service. This means you can completely brand our video conferencing solution under the banner of your church and embed these broadcasts on your website quickly and easily.
Meets by Business Pro is a 100% browser-based, encrypted and secure video conferencing tool, so no frustrating, risky downloads to slow your customers down.
We are standing by to help you maximize your ministries content. Call on us to find out how we can help your Ministry.