How Do You Livestream a Church Service?
Churches and houses of worship in general have traditionally been places where people would come together to pray and engage in each religion's rituals. However, the 2020 pandemic has accelerated the adoption rate of live streaming and online technology solutions to churches.
Church live streaming services have opened the potential for sharing masses, sermons and other religious services to the existing congregation, as well as to new members.
This article will share how churches are adapting themselves to the new world situation, a brief guide on how to livestream a church service, as well as the top church streaming solutions.
How Churches Changed During the Pandemic
Historically, churches and places of worship in general have had a double role: one is to provide the learnings of each religion's top figure, as well as to bring people together and consolidate the community.
With restrictions in place following the 2020 pandemic, churches had to find a way to fulfill their role. The simplest way to do that was to accelerate the use of live streaming to reach their community via the Internet.
According to this Wall Street Journal article, in-person church attendance is roughly 30% to 50% lower than it was before the pandemic. Micro-gatherings of members of the same church or at-home events are some ways people still meet face-to-face.
Live streaming church services is not something new; according to this house of worship stats compilation from 2017, there were some 167k church events online in 2016 alone with over 70% of total donations being made online.
The way to build a Covid-proof and recession-proof situation is definitely offering access to church services to the community via the Internet through live streaming and recorded live streams. This will be the path even if some religions will only offer this option for elderly congregants or when members are sick or have good reasons not to come to the building.
[GUIDE] What Do I Need to Live Streaming Church Services?
Here are the essential things you have to consider when live streaming a church service:
- Reliable Internet - that's what makes live streaming possible. Don't rely on a single Internet connection when live streaming a church service. You should definitely have a backup connection available from a different ISP. The trouble with that is it takes a while to switch between connections.
That's why it's best to use both connections at once using a service like Speedify, for a seamless handover in case one of the connections has issues.
- Audio-video equipment - you can use a smartphone like the iPhone 12 without any issues. For more professional quality, you will need a camera recording in full HD with an HDMI output, as well as a dedicated microphone. And lighting solutions. Learn more about the equipment involved here.
- Social platform - where will you be live streaming to: will it be Facebook, YouTube, Zoom or others? Most recommend using an existing social profile to live stream - most commonly Facebook and/or YouTube.
Churches services can also be streamed to multiple platforms using a live streaming service that supports multistreaming.
- Streaming solution - you can use the native app of the social platform - stream directly to Facebok, YouTube, etc. Or, for a professional production - where you can also add all kinds of text overlays, clips, images, etc. - you should use a dedicated church streaming solution.
This TGC article recommends Boxcast, Restream or OBS.
Another article offers extensive information about 10 church streaming services.
- Live streaming crew - if you don't have budget to hire a professional videographer, you should have someone from the congregation learn how to use the hardware and software tools. You will need a crew especially if you want to live stream using multiple cameras - someone has to switch between them in the streaming software.
Alternatively, before you invest in equipment, you could ask the community if they're familiar with a specific camera / streaming software and use those.
Livestreaming Church Service at Its Best
Once you have the church live streaming gear all up and running, you should think about things like:
- whether to live stream the entire service or just the preaching / teaching;
- whether to have a preaching monologue or engage with the viewers through comments and take questions;
- how to grow the online presence - maybe some targeted advertising based on location and/or age, etc.
- live streaming other church events as well, not just regular services - fundraisers, for example.
How do you livestream a church service? Bottom line - as long as you have a fast and reliable Internet connection, you can bring your religion to the existing community and potential new members using a smartphone only. Live streaming church / house of worship services is friendly to any budget and is here to stay.