Trends in the Church will influence your church.
I’m not talking about negative cultural trends or anything theological.
What I have in mind are actual, positive trends churches explore to share the gospel, make disciples, and engage their church members.
One of those trends is livestreaming, which makes perfect sense.
With countless people on social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, YouTube), and the cost-effectiveness of livestreaming, many churches have jumped into these waters face first.
This isn’t a good or bad thing.
It just is what it is.
What about your church?
Should your church start livestreaming your services, Bible studies, or events?
Well, it depends.
In this post, we’re going to talk about:
- Three reasons why you should use livestream
- Whether or not your church should livestream
- How to livestream at your church
Let’s get started!
Three reasons why you should use livestream
It’s essential to know the why behind what you want to do.
So, why should your church use livestreaming?
Here are three of the most common reasons:
#1 – People watch (a lot) of video
Here’s something you may have noticed:
We are slowly becoming a video world.
Think about it.
Everywhere you turn, you have access to a screen that can play a video. From televisions throughout your home, to mobile devices (phones, iPods, tablets), computers at work, and screens in businesses and public places, videos are constantly vying for our attention.
Then take a sip of these sobering statistics:
- Nearly 58% of worldwide Internet usage consists of video streaming (Global Internet Phenomena Report)
- 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos every week (WordStream)
- More than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube every day (Business Insider)
- 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every 60 seconds
Know what else?
We haven’t reached the limit of videos.
According to one study, video streaming is predicted to make up 82% of all Internet traffic in the next few years.
This deluge of video has molded the way everyone (including yourself) interacts with the world around them. In short, we are growing to prefer consuming video for nearly everything.
Now, don’t read these statistics and rush to pre-produce your worship service every week and broadcast it on Sunday.
Instead, my goal is to encourage you to see how livestreaming is one way you can tap into this shift in media consumption.
There’s more to video than changes in the culture.
There are two really practical ways livestreaming can benefit your church.
#2 – Reach absentees
Every week, you’ll have people who are unable to participate in your worship service for various reasons, including:
- Business travel
Today, just because someone is absent, it doesn’t mean you can’t engage them with your ministry—live. Your church members will likely prefer to keep in touch with their church when they’re absent if possible. By livestreaming your worship service, you can help absentees stay connected while they’re away.
#3 – Reach more people
Livestreaming your services is one way you can reach more people.
Think about it.
Before visiting your church, the vast majority of people will check you out online first.
They’ll visit your church’s website.
They may see something about your church on social media.
In either case, when potential first-time guests can experience your worship service online, then they will feel more inclined to visit.
They’ll get a feel for your style.
They can see what to expect.
By providing livestream of your worship service, you can help them overcome their fear of visiting your church for the first time.
Before making a commitment to livestream your services, there’s one question you need to answer:
Why does my church really need to livestream?
Livestreaming is no longer a trend or just something to be aware of.
Many churches are currently livestreaming their worship services or have experimented with it at some point. Since this is the case, other churches (maybe yours?) are now joining the livestreaming movement.
Before you make a move, hang tight.
For starters, just because a different church is livestreaming their services or just because you read the stats above doesn’t mean you should start livestreaming this week.
When it comes to reaching people, every tactic works and every tactic doesn’t work.
In other words, the timing may not be right for your church.
From having someone who can take the lead in production to not being a good fit demographically for your church community, there are several factors involved in deciding whether livestreaming is right for you.
One deciding factor in whether to livestream is your church’s budget.
In short, do you have the money to invest in producing a high-quality livestream or not? For most churches, spending the money to create a high-quality livestream isn’t a good idea.
Is it possible to just stream your worship services with one of your phones?
Yes, you can technically livestream with your phone.
And yes, it is possible to do this because social media platforms have—in a way—made this possible since so many celebrities and brands shoot livestream videos with their phones.
But here’s the deal:
Production value is still important.
It’s not fair, but people in your community will hold your church’s production value to similar standards as businesses. They’re used to watching videos from individuals or businesses with big budgets. So, when they watch whatever you produce, they’re going to have—to varying degrees—similar expectations to something they just watched online.
What’s the moral of the story?
Don’t haphazardly step into livestreaming your worship services unless you’re ready to produce them to the best of your ability.
Still ready to move forward with livestreaming?
Well, let’s take a look at what you’ll need to make it work.
How to livestream your church’s worship service
To get started, there’s some essential equipment you’ll need:
- Livestream service
In this post, I’m not going to get into the weeds of the details. But here are some helpful resources you can refer to for guidance:
- The Most Affordable Livestreaming Cameras for Churches
- Livestreaming Equipment: Which Tripod to Use?
- Lighting Your Livestream
Now, regarding livestreaming your services, here’s what you need to know:
You can publish your livestream directly on Facebook and elsewhere, or you can use a service to schedule and simultaneously broadcast your worship service (or another event).
Here are some options to consider:
Is livestreaming right for your church?
This is a question only you can answer.
Remember, it depends primarily upon the size of your church, your church community, and your church’s budget.
Is livestreaming an option for every church?
Yes, it’s an option.
Is it right for every church to livestream their services or other events and classes?
Think through the following questions:
- Is your church ready?
- Does your church have the budget for high-quality production?
- Is the timing right for your church?
- Do you have anyone in your church who can support this work?
- Will the cost and time provide a return on investment for engagement and reach?
After you work through these questions, you’ll be well on your way to deciding whether livestreaming is right for your church.