At the start of this year, I doubt your church anticipated needing to live stream your Easter services instead of gathering in person as you always have. The coronavirus (more commonly known as COVID-19) has brought life as we know it to a screeching halt. Churches have been forced to adapt, taking advantage of technology to hold virtual services and stay connected.
With Easter just a couple weeks away and no guaranteed end in sight to the COVID-19 crisis, it’s important that your church knows how to live stream your Easter services for your congregation.
Although live streaming can’t be compared to how your church normally celebrates Easter, people desperately need your Easter services right now. If people need anything in this uncertain and scary time, it’s the hope of Easter.
But live streaming your Easter services and message can be intimidating. Especially for smaller churches that don’t have the budget for expensive gear and software and have little experience live streaming.
This article is a guide to help you figure out how to best live stream your church services this Easter, with tips and recommended tools to get you started quickly, even if you have no experience.
Choosing the Right Live Stream Platform
There have never been more options available for live streaming your church services. This includes both paid and free platforms.
We’ve listed several platforms below for you to consider using for your church.
It’s important that you find a live streaming platform that best suits your church’s needs.
The good news for churches on a budget is that you don’t need to pay a lot of money in order to have high-quality live streaming.
The live stream industry has grown, and there are several free, easy-to-use options now available that can adequately meet your church’s needs.
Below are the 2 platforms that we believe are the easiest for your church to start using.
1) Facebook Livestream
Facebook is not only a free option for your church, but it’s also a very practical one. If your church already has a Facebook page, you can notify existing followers when your livestream starts through a notification that your church is “going live”.
Considering that most of your congregation likely uses Facebook on a daily basis, this platform is a very familiar option for your people.
A disadvantage of using Facebook for live streaming your church services is that this platform is heavily monetized. Many Facebook users and pages pay to have their posts appear in your followers’ news feeds. So this means that your live stream will likely not be seen by all (or even half) your followers, unless they know that they need to go directly to your Facebook page to view it (which can be easily arranged through an announcement, whether through email or your website).
Learn more about how to livestream your church services through Facebook Live in this helpful article by factsandtrends.net: https://factsandtrends.net/2020/03/13/how-to-live-stream-your-worship-service-on-facebook/
2) YouTube Live
Setting up a YouTube live stream can be more challenging than Facebook live, but there are advantages to using this platform.
One advantage is that, although YouTube is monetized, its monetization strategy works differently than Facebook’s. YouTube makes money from advertisements displayed around your video, as opposed to Facebook which makes its money from Facebook users who pay to boost their content above yours. Meaning that YouTube is motivated to make your videos as easy to find as possible so that you will be motivated to create more content on this platform (giving YouTube more of a chance to advertise on your videos).
And seeing that YouTube is very popular among millenials, this platform provides a great way to reach this generation with the truth of your messages.
Those who follow your church’s YouTube channel will receive a notification when your live stream starts, which is a helpful feature.
YouTube also makes it very easy to embed your live stream into your website, unlike Facebook. Which is a great way to promote your most recent message on your website. Providing videos on your website’s sermons page is also a good strategy for making your recorded messages more engaging.
If you do choose to use YouTube instead of Facebook, you still have the option of sharing the link to your YouTube live stream on your Facebook account.
View this helpful article for a walkthrough on how to use YouTube to set up your church live stream: https://easychurchtech.com/how-do-i-live-stream-on-youtube-for-my-church/
Alternatives to Facebook and YouTube Live
There are many alternatives to Facebook and YouTube Live. Some of them are even custom tailored for churches. But before mentioning them briefly below, there are a couple cons to consider before choosing any of these options.
The first is that Facebook and YouTube are already very readily used by most of your congregation, unlike many of the options below. It’s simpler and more convenient to have your live stream on a platform your congregation knows than to introduce something new to them.
The second point is that Facebook and YouTube are very well-maintained and reliable. Some of the options below can have unpredictable issues that are more difficult to troubleshoot.
With that quick explanation behind us, we continue with our list of live streaming services for your church to consider. Keep in mind that some of these platforms are free and some require payment. Some are intended for live streaming a service to many individuals at once, and others are perfect for hosting a small Bible study or prayer meeting online.
- Google Hangouts
- 8×8 Video Conferencing
- BlueJeans WebRTC Video Conferencing
- Amazon Chime
- IBM Video Streaming
- Switcher Studio
The Power of Live Streaming
If the COVID-19 crisis had happened 30 years, churches would not have had the ability to continue communicating like we have the freedom to do now. Modern technology has made it possible for Bible studies and prayer meetings to continue and for pastors to not only continue their preaching ministries, but to reach a whole new audience online with the message of hope this world desperately needs right now.
Pastors around the country are reporting thousands of people tuning in to their church live streams and thousands of commitments to Christ being made.
This is a scary season for all of us, but God will use it for good as He does with everything else (see Romans 8:28). Maybe choosing to live stream your Easter service this year is one way He’ll choose to use this dark time to bring about a greater good.