HomeChurch OnlineLive Streaming4-Point Checklist for Live Streaming Church Events

4-Point Checklist for Live Streaming Church Events

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Live streaming events is a great way to expand your church’s ministry. There are lots of steps and a few different ways to approach this ministry of your church. If you’ve been charged with your church’s vision to begin, once you get started, there is often concern or even panic that can set it. You want to make sure you give a great first impression but are a little overwhelmed by the different obstacles that live streaming presents.

Here is a checklist of four tips to help make sure things go off without a hitch:

Point #1-Test, Test, and Test Again.

This cannot be stressed enough. Don’t rush your first public live stream just because everyone wants to see how it looks. Very often we see churches get their equipment in on Thursday and rush to try to do their first public live stream on Sunday. While this can happen, it is not a good idea to make your first live stream public. Test it many times leading up to your service, and then run a private stream during your first real service with a few beta testers watching for you. This will allow you to see what obstacles may come up during the actual service times.

Point #2-Use Dedicated Equipment and Internet for Streaming. 

Imagine this scenario: You are using a computer to live stream with, and after testing multiple times during the week, you have your settings dialed in and things are set up for a seamless Sunday morning. You show up an hour before service to find that all of your settings have been changed and you have to start over.

We see this happen often. That is why we recommend the computer or hardware used to live stream is dedicated to the live streaming system and not used for other tasks. Equipment such as a laptop or a device like the churchstreamer have become inexpensive in the past few years and allows almost any budget to afford dedicated equipment.

The same advice goes for your internet connection as well. If you have a robust local network, ask the IT person to prioritize the connection used for live streaming so that other traffic at the church does not interfere with it. If you have a small church with a single router, you may want to disable public wifi usage during the live stream or have your Internet Service Provider bring in a second connection that is only used for live streaming.

Point #3-Ask the Audience for Feedback (but not while live)

Your best source of feedback is your online audience. You want to tailor your live stream to give off the same vibe as your live service does. Remember that you can’t please everyone, but you can use their feedback to make sure you are creating the look and feel that is best for your church. Just make sure you don’t ask for this feedback during the live stream. If you are using a chat box or social feed with your live stream, asking for feedback during the live stream may create a negative situation that interferes with the online worship.

Point #4-Use Close Up Shots of Everyone

As tech enthusiasts, we all want to have the perfectly framed camera angles and a very professional looking broadcast. However, we can tend to get caught up in trying to make things perfect and sometimes forget that a church broadcast should be different than a sporting event or concert. The viewers want to be part of the service the same way they are when they attend. They want to see more than just a stage and a speaker.

Don’t be shy about having close up shots of the speaker and of the congregation. Bring the shot back and let them experience it through the eyes of someone in the back pew. Then zoom in and let them see the speaker just like someone sitting in the front.

If available, have a camera on the side or in the front that gives them a view of the congregation and cut to it every now and then. The point is to help them get the feel of what it is like to be attending. They will thank you when they attend a service.

5 COMMENTS

  1. i don’t think asking for the feedback while live will cause any issue. You say it will “create a negative situation that interferes with the online worship.” it do not make any sense

    • HI Alley. Thanks for reading and commenting on the article. Perhaps I chose the wrong word to use in that sentence. Maybe I should have used “distracting situation” rather than “negative situation”. To elaborate a little, here is the situation that we see very often. The church has 200 online viewers and most of them are commenting with each other about the worship and uplifting each other. About 10 of the 200 viewers have very slow internet connections where they are watching from and just can’t stay connected to the stream consistently. The broadcaster comments “please give us some feedback on how it looks”. They get many saying “it looks great”. But the 10 that are having problems start taking over the comments section by saying “it looks very choppy” or “I can’t hear it very well”. This ends up taking over the chat room as the person running the broadcast tries to help these 10 people fix their computer or internet when they ask “what can I do to fix this?”. If the broadcaster had provided a link to a form on the website for feedback or waited till the end of the service to ask for feedback, the situation that distracted from the worship would have been avoided. The broadcaster surely wants to help everyone have a smooth streaming experience, but during the live stream when everyone is trying to worship may not be the time for feedback on the technology or problem solving.
      But of course this is just what we have seen with some churches on our platform. Your situation may differ from theirs and I encourage everyone to experiment and find out what works best for their church and online congregation.

  2. Perhaps I’m just too cautious, but how can you suggest occasionally sending a view of individuals in the congregation? Doesn’t that require a release from each of the individuals shown? I know that photographers can get in big trouble from publically releasing pictures of people without their permission. Is this really any different?

    • Hi Ray. Thanks for reading the article and commenting. You bring up a very good question and a topic that is discussed at many of the church conferences I attend. Most of the opinions that were expressed to me were that the church is covered by a notice being posted in their lobby letting everyone know that the service is being live streamed. But I suggest each church ask their attorney to make sure they are following all applicable laws.

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