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Stream Your Church Service On the Web

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Have you ever thought about wanting to stream your church services, marriage retreat events, or other functions that go on in your church. Maybe you have congregation relates in another state that would like to see their niece’s performance, elderly in nursing homes that would like to still feel attached to their church, or want to offer an alternative to those that may never have walked into your church to see what it is all about.

Mother and Daughter Watching Streaming Video

No matter the audience, you need to figure out what service you would like to use. Like many services, there are Christian alternatives but they are a bit more expensive for less. But you do help a Christian organization and avoid the hassles that other businesses may bring. Here are a list of many different services that offer something unique.

Google+ Hangout

You may think of Google+ Hangout more as just a videochat feature, but over 200 million people are on that social network and it is a great platform for transmitting video and audio to a huge audience.

Positives: Natively integrated into the Google+ social media network for a huge audience impact. Cost is free. You can utilize the On Air feature and have your videos automatically post to YouTube. You can create events within the network to advertise to all that have added your church’s page to their circles.
Negatives: To view live, they need to either have their own account or a special link created for each event. The quality is not HD. The program was not initially intended as a simply a broadcasting stream.

Ustream

This is the premiere broadcasting service that has been around for a long time. They have paved the way in the world of streaming with numerous features.

Positives: You have HD streaming even at the basic free package with options of paying for premium services such as personal branding, analytics, and video editing. The service may be the most reliable out there.
Negatives: If you have ad-support you never know what you will get and have no way of filtering. The pricing plans may be the most expensive out there and not an option for many churches. You pay per video watched which means you do not control your price plan, your viewers do.

StreamingChurch.tv

StreamingChurch.tv is the best Christian-based solution out there. Take a look at this viable option for churches serious about doing streaming video.

Positives: No advertisements. Mobile friendly. All of the settings and formating are specifically geared to a church’s use, including service times, a countdown display til the next service, and a chat area.
Negatives: Only have one package plan and no free options. The cost is variable based on the number of views as well as the bandwidth speed you use.

Livestream

Livestream is the next up-and-coming broadcasting company that has great rates for the services they supply.

Positives: Paid packages are low. All services, including their free ones are ad free. Award winning reliability.
Negatives: You cannot embed livestreaming onto your website on the free or basic paid subscriptions.

This is definitely not a comprehensive list, but some of the best solutions out there. What kind of streaming service would you go for and why?

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith is a writer, blogger, and social media consultant with a penchant for realism. He assists churches with their digital marketing platforms and church tech ministries; he is also currently an outpatient clinician at a Colorado Community Behavioral Health Center and previously worked at Youth for Christ/USA as the Social Media Specialist and as Youth Ministry Director over the span of more than ten years. Jeremy is a dedicated Christ-follower, husband, father, and church volunteer. Connect with Jeremy via Twitter.

12 COMMENTS

  1. If we have the ccli license for live streaming, how can we do livestreaming on YouTube without having our broadcast interrupted due to someone singing or using a background music on our service?

  2. Thanks for the great article, Lauren! Another affordable (and reliable!) live church streaming option to consider is Stream Monkey (http://www.streammonkey.com). They offer live church streaming across multiple platforms, including iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Roku and iPad for as little as $99 a month. Their founder, Chris Gerrish, is something of a legend in church streaming. In 2009, he built one of the first Web apps for live streaming services on the iPhone. In 2010, he created the first-ever live church streaming channel for the Roku media player—which gave rise to the now-ubiquitous “religion-and-spirituality” category in Roku’s channel store. He even helped LifeChurch.TV launch their channel on Roku and has helped other churches do the same. They’re worth a look!

  3. I’m currently working on online streaming for my church. I believe if you get approved for Google for Non-Profits, you can use some sort of live YouTube feature that’s essentially the same as Google+ Hangouts but HD. You should also look into Church Online Platform to use with whatever streaming service you go with.

  4. If you’re considering streaming your entire service, be certain you’re not violating any copyrights or licenses re: contemporary music. Most licenses (including the basic CLI license) don’t allow streaming However, CCLI does have a license for streaming: http://streaming.ccli.com/

    • Hi Keith, Thanks for the reminder! I clicked through the CCLI link you provided above, and it notes that you do not have to report anything, which is great. Pricing is very resonable:
      Pricing examples
      Churches under 500 = $75 or less per year.
      Churches 500-999 = $100 per year.
      Churches under 10,000 = $300 or less per year.
      See License Pricing for complete details

      Thanks again for bringing this to everyone’s attention!
      -Lauren

  5. I did an event recently with Google’s Hangout on Air. The way I got around the link issue was by embedding it on my website. That way I could send out invites prior to the event.

    This would definitely work in a church environment (just embed the feed on the church website).

    The no HD thing, no work around for that.

    • Jeremy, Thanks for your comment. Glad the Hangout worked for you! Only thing I don’t like about live on air is that it’s live …no retakes or do overs. Thanks for reading CTT! –Lauren

    • Hello,
      I was hoping I could ask you to elaborate a little bit more on how to embed the code into my website? In other words, if your willing to do this, please pretend your responding to a web person. I will then give it to my web people so I can hopefully use Google hangouts on air, but find a way to provide a link ahead of time. For the record, the broadcast I want to embed on my website is every Sunday at 12 Noon Eastern time.
      Thanks for your help,
      Pastor Nate
      Deliverance Revolution.org

    • Jeremy….let me offer more information. First off, I already know how to use Google Hangouts on Air and the primary question I have is where and how do I get the link to embed on my website? Thats the real heart of the matter for me. I know my broadcast is every Sunday at 12 noon eastern time without fail, but where and how do I get one link I can put in my page for “Online Broadcast” ( http://deliverancerevolution.org/online-broadcast-schedule/ )
      I am embarrassed to tell you how we are doing it now….we have people subscribing to our you tube channel and running here and there and there just surely has to be an easier way to do this. When I saw your post about embeding a set link in the website I felt like there was some hope. 🙂

      Thanks again and sorry for the double post,

      Pastor Nate

      • Pastor Nate,

        It was easier to record the steps than list them out. Here is a short tutorial on how to schedule your live event.

        https://youtu.be/1KDxJ0WSTy4

        One thing to be aware of, Hangout On Air doesn’t support reoccuring event times. You will need to create a new event every week and paste the new code into your website.

        Ryan

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