Connecting with the masses through livestreaming
It’s hard to keep up with all the change in the world lately. But one thing that is simple enough for your church to do is livestreaming your services.
Whether it be your church service, small group meetings, or Sabbath school, livestreaming can help your community stay connected. Though the doors of the church building are closed, the virtual doors are wide open.
Livestreaming your message
What is livestreaming?
Livestreaming is a real time broadcast. It shows the raw footage of the service or event as it happens, which allows for engagement with the audience.
Engagement is one of the main perks of livestreaming versus pre-recording and posting later. With pre-recorded footage, you’ll have time to edit and polish up your video, but viewers cannot participate. While there are advantages to publishing polished services, audiences tend to connect better to livestreamed services because of the little mistakes that make it feel more genuine.
Pastor Matthew Lucio advises in the webinar to remember things are different, and that’s okay.
“Instead of just pretending we’re all at church, and going through business as usual, just accept we’re not at church, and that’s okay.
There are certain things we’re going to lose by doing it this way, and there are certain things we’re going to gain. Just figure out what we’re going to gain, and take advantage of that.”
Who should livestream?
Many, if not all, parts of a church can benefit from livestreaming—it’s not only for the sermon.
Ministries can share encouragement. Digital missionaries can teach others how to share God’s message online. Conferences and unions can host digital events to spread the gospel.
Individual church members host online Sabbath schools or prayer meetings. For the children, Sabbath school teachers set up time to meet with kids, sing praise songs together, and pray with each other.
Livestreaming allows the church to continue and grow, even when we can’t all be together.
Why should you livestream?
With livestreaming, you have instant access to the masses.
Audience members can tune in—in real time—from their living rooms, bedrooms, gardens, wherever! And this easy access to your livestream can extend your reach far beyond your physical church building.
What equipment do I need?
With the technology available to us today, livestreaming is easier than ever—you can even stream from your phone.
If your phone has unlimited data, you can livestream anything. However, if your data is limited, livestreaming may not be ideal for you. In which case, a laptop with a camera and good microphone will work.
The most important thing is to start with what you have. All you’ll need is a stable internet connection and a camera with a microphone. Usually, laptops and smartphones provide both.
From your phone, you can easily connect to Facebook watch and Instagram live. Through a computer, you can connect to Facebook Live. Just make sure to have good lighting so your audience can see you. Windows with natural light work best, but small lamps are helpful, too.
Where should I livestream from?
Like how viewers can watch from anywhere, you can stream from anywhere. A home office, your church office, or even a mountainside if you have service.
With livestreaming, there are endless possibilities, so don’t limit yourself.
What kind of program should I livestream?
Livestreaming is not only good for sermons or parts of church services. While people are stuck at home, it’s the perfect time to virtually “meet them where they’re at” and serve their immediate needs, as Jesus did.
An example of serving their immediate needs is using livestreaming to host a “Cooking with what you’ve got” event. Coming up with meals and knowing how to create those meals has become a challenge for families everywhere, so an event like this would be welcome.
Another idea is for pastors to host Q&As for the church. When face-to-face communication isn’t possible, it’s important to use virtual communication to over communicate. People have a lot of questions, and they need answers.
How do I livestream?
The most common way to host a livestream is through your church’s Facebook page.
When you log into the page, go to the church profile page and select “Live Video.” It’ll prompt you to create a title and description, and then you’re all set.
When should I livestream?
Because of the freedom of livestreaming, you can share whenever you believe your audience will be most active.
For some, that’s during regular church times. However, it doesn’t only have to be on Sabbaths. You can stream throughout the week with digital missions projects or cooking tutorials.
Ideas for online small groups
It may also be helpful for your church to create a weekly content schedule. Tuesdays are cooking days, Wednesdays are for online prayer meetings, etc.
Here are some other ideas for small groups:
- Sabbath school discussion
- Kids program
- Bible study
- Recipe club
- Singles group
- Learning entrepreneurship
- Marriage counseling
- Health department (COVID-19 precautions)
- Lessons – kids at home, small group helpers
A popular free option for meetings is Zoom, where up to 100 people can meet for 40 minute calls. If you have more people, or need more time, the paid version allows those extensions.
What are some livestreaming best practices?
- Engage your audience
- Include a call to action
- Welcome viewers periodically throughout the video for those who tune in later
- Ask someone to monitor the comments
- Ask engaging questions
- Thank your audience for watching
Don’t wait for everything to be perfect, just do it!
Remember to support your local church through viewing the services online. It may be tempting to tune into livestreams of popular preachers or larger churches, but your local church needs you now more than ever. Seeing your engagement on their site encourages them to keep posting.