The more technology advances, the more it changes the way people do things. Almost everything has advanced alongside with technology even the way church services are held. Holding a service online is not just convenient for your members that cannot make it to church as a result of age, distance or other factors. It can be the only option for your church especially during the current COVID – 19 pandemic.
Holding a church service online can appear to be a daunting task especially when you have not done it before, plus if you don’t have the right technical team to pull it off.
You can hold a successful church service online even if you don’t have a website or don’t have all the technical gadgets you need.
If you have never held a church service online before, you are sure on your way to holding a successful one soon. Read on to find out how you can do that:
Before we go on to talk about how you can stream a church service online, it is good you know what live streaming is all about.
What is Live Streaming?
Live streaming simply means using a camera to record and broadcast an event in real-time (as the event is going on).
Why Should you Stream Your Church service online?
- Have you ever thought about why you should stream your church service in the first place? Streaming your church service online can be the only option you have if there is a limit to how many people can fit into your place of worship.
The number limit can be multiplied if you stream the service online.
- If you are the only one in charge of your church service, you can still anchor your church service even when you are not physically present.
- If you don’t have the financial resources to hold a physical church service.
Owing to the current social distancing policies that different governments have put in place to curb the COVID 19 pandemic, holding a church service online is the option most churches are left with including yours.
So how do you get started with holding a church service online?
What You Need to Get Started with Streaming Your Church Service Online
Before you jump right into streaming your church service online, you need to make sure you have the following essentials to make the process a lot easy for yourself.
Make sure you have:
A camera is one of the most important tools for you to have if you want to stream your church service online. A camera is important because that is what you would use to capture the whole church service, a camera could be anything from a smartphone to a laptop, and all the way to a camcorder depending on your budget.
You can use any of the devices mentioned, just make sure the device you use can digitally record images and sounds.
A Good Lighting
When you are streaming your church service online, you have to make sure that your audience gets close to or if not the same feeling they will get if they were attending a physical church service.
The lighting of the venue or studio you want to use should be good enough to show the real state of things where you are recording from.
If you want to create a consecrated environment, then maybe candlelight can work, but if you want to have a more clear and active online service, then getting decent lighting is all you need.
As a beginner, you can make use of the energy bulbs in your environment or better still get some softboxes and ring lights if you want more light based on your budget.
It is, however, good to note that the more lights you have the better your video appears.
A live Streaming Service
You might be wondering what you need this for, but you need a live streaming service to connect your video to your audience. You need a platform to connect you to your already waiting audience since you are going to be interfacing with them in real-time.
When it comes to streaming service online, many people find it easy to get a device that can take video, be it a phone or a professional camera and a venue for the streaming. At the same time, a lot of people find it difficult to decide on the live streaming service that is good for them.
Once you have gotten all these settings, you are sure to hold a successful service online.
There are different live streaming services available, but your choice will largely depend on your audience. We will take a look at the different live streaming services to help you decide on the one that is best for you. Ready? Let’s get started.
Live Streaming Services You Can Use for Holding a Church Service Online
Facebook is usually most people’s first choice when it comes to deciding on the live streaming service to use because most companies and even churches have invested a lot into their Facebook pages already. With Facebook, you can reach your existing congregation by letting them know that your church is going live via a notification.
Before you go on to decide to use Facebook or not, it is good you know the advantages and disadvantages of using Facebook for live streaming.
Advantages of using Facebook to stream your church services
- Facebook allows you reach your existing audience especially if you have a page that you have been managing.
- Facebook allows you to engage with your audience more intimately. With Facebook, you can still share your Livestream as video to your followers later, this way they don’t miss out on your content.
- Facebook allows you to save money because live streaming on Facebook is free.
- Increase your brand awareness; since you get immediate feedback from your audience during your live session on Facebook, then that can serve as a free PR for your church.
- It saves you time; Using Facebook to stream your church service live can save you the time you would spend to record, edit, and finally upload a video.
Disadvantages of using Facebook to stream your church services
- Technical issues; when you are using Facebook to stream a video there is no doubt that you will likely experience some technical issues ranging from blurry videos, disrupted sounds, and even slowness for your audience watching it.
- You may not be able to reach all of your audience with Facebook, you know why? Facebook is monetized by content producers who pay for their content to reach more people. For this reason, Facebook requires some incentives to allow your video to reach your entire audience.
In simple terms, Facebook wants you to pay to reach more people. The truth is that your live video notification will reach only one-third of your audience.
Youtube is another common platform when it comes to creating videos for an online audience. Many small and medium churches may not want to put in their effort into using youtube to stream their church services because of the challenges that they may likely face trying to set up a youtube channel.
Regardless of the challenges that may occur trying to set up a youtube channel (connected to a google account on youtube), there are reasons why you should use youtube for your online church services:
Advantages of using Youtube to stream your church services
- Youtube allows you connect with your audience (people that have already subscribed to your channel). Youtube allows you to relate and engage with your followers and audience at a certain level that creates a bond.
- Establishing the brand of your church; according to research, 70% of youtube audience make a decision after watching a video. Using youtube to stream your church service will definitely establish your church.
- Youtube is cost-effective, meaning that you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money to get service live online.
- Unlike Facebook, youtube is incentivized to make your video reach the public as much as possible. This encourages you to create more videos to reach more viewers.
- Youtube allows you to embed your videos easily on your website.
- Youtube enables you to monetize your videos, so it provides you with an opportunity to raise funds for your church.
Disadvantages of using youtube to stream your church service
- If you are using youtube to stream your church service, then you would likely the quality of your video with the real-time engagement that you would get from using youtube to stream a live video.
- Youtube studio allows you to enhance the quality of your video with the youtube studio, but this service will not be available for you to use if you are streaming live.
- You might find it difficult to share live streams on other platforms before being disconnected from the stream.
Depending on the live streaming format that you want, Zoom is a good option for small and more intimate gatherings. You can use zoom for free if your meeting is less than 100 people and will last for less than 40 minutes. If you want to go longer using Zoom, you would have to pay.
Skype and google hangout are other options for zoom, but zoom has proven to be one of the most reliable live streaming services.
Advantages of using Zoom to stream your church service
- It is easy to use and set-up, unlike other video streaming platforms. Zoom allows for easy collaboration and participation, zoom allows you to join and start a meeting with just one click.
- You can zoom as a single platform to hold meetings, phones, webinars and chats.
- It is free.
Disadvantages of using Zoom to stream your church service
- You cannot hold a meeting on zoom for more than 40 minutes without paying for the service.
- If your audience is more than 40 and you are trying to work on a budget, then zoom may not be the right place for you.
d. Using third-party options
When it comes to streaming your church services online, there are loads of other third-party platforms that can allow you to hold your church service online. Some of these third-party platforms are even made to help ministers hold their church service online.
The issue with some of these third party platform is that they are not really known and your audience may not find it easy to use.
Facebook and youtube are one of the best online video streaming platforms because most of your audience is already use these platforms, so it is easy for them to use and navigate.
Best Practices for Streaming Your Church Service Online With Your Phone
Once you have been able to finally choose the best video streaming platform, then the next thing is to decide how you want your streaming experience to be like.
While many people like to use a DSLR camera to stream their live video, many others may not be able to afford it. If all you have is a smartphone, you can still stream your church service online. Before you start streaming your church service online, you can do these simple things to make sure the video goes on well.
When it comes to video, audio is very important because your audience wants to hear everything that you are saying with little or no interruption at all. So how can you ensure you have good audio when you are streaming with your mobile phone?
- Use a Bluetooth handsfree microphone: Using an external microphone will ensure that what you are saying is properly communicated to your audience. This is because it will help you cancel noise in the environment and also pick and highlight your own voice.
- Make sure your environment is not noisy: If you don’t have a microphone, you can still use your mobile phone in-built microphone. When you are using your mobile phone’s microphone, you should make sure you reduce the noise in your environment.
Reduce the sound of your fan, alarms, generator set, etc. to give your video better audio.
- Get close to your phone or microphone: When you are using a phone to hold your church service online, you have to make sure you are very close to your phone. Being close to your phone allows your phone’s internal microphone can pick up the sounds from your voice.
When it comes to holding your church service online, the way you present the video matters a lot. A poor presentation may result in a poor video. So how can you ensure that you have a good presentation for your video?
- Try standing: When you stand, you tend to engage your audience more. Since you are streaming a church service, you will communicate better when you stand and move around.
- Consider making your service shorter than normal: The shorter the video, the easier it will be for you to retain your energy from the beginning to the end of the video.
- Imagine that you are talking to a physical audience. When you have this on your mind, it allows you to transfer the same life and energy to your virtual audience.
When it comes to streaming your church service online, one thing that you should put into consideration is your camera technique. You don’t need to have anything expensive, simplicity and stability are all you need.
To ensure a good camera technique, you would have to consider the following:
- Stability: Your phone needs to be as stable as possible, if your hands are shaking you may end up having a blurry video that will make no sense to your viewers at all. Achieving stability in your video while using your phone is not impossible a table tripod or standing tripod can be all you need to achieve stability.
- Camera angle: When you are recording a video with your phone, always ensure that you keep your camera at eye level, this way your video will appear more focused and engaging.
- Background: When it comes to recording a video, your background is key. A background full of items can be distracting to your audience. If you are not recording the video with other people, it is better you use a plain background. A plain background will ensure that you are the focus and not items in your surroundings.
Just like said earlier, you don’t need to have an expensive light to record a video with good lighting. So how can you achieve that?
- You can make use of the natural light: make sure you are at an angle where the natural light can come in. This way video will be lighted up to give a clear view of the subject which is you.
- Get a ring light: If you are in an environment that may not make it possible for you to access natural light, you can get a cheap ring light or softboxes to light up your videos.
Good lighting makes your video more alive, which will in turn interest your audience.
If you have been thinking of how to hold your church service online with the limited resources that you have, then I am sure you have gotten answers to some of your questions. You don’ have to break a bank to hold your church service online, with these tips, holding a church service online can be easy for you.