We just wrapped up an amazing series of live Worship Week interviews, during which we chatted with five Switcher users who are streaming their worship services — and much more. Our guests shared about everything from ministering amid a pandemic to their favorite gear.
Check out key livestreaming tips and takeaways from our guests below. And watch the full interviews on our Facebook page.
Recognize and leverage the reach of your livestreams — and have fun
Carrie Jo Gros of Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Topeka, Kansas, told us:
“We have fun with [our streams]! We do things that are kind of silly, and we've had a couple of our videos go viral. … When you're on social media and your pastor is talking, he's no longer talking to those 1,700 families in your parish. He's now talking to everybody, so he's evangelizing through social media and getting out there and people are piqued by the curiosity. ...
“One of the greatest advantages of all the livestreaming that we've been doing throughout the pandemic [is that] we have people not only from our parish, but from all over the United States watching us. We've had a lot of comments from parishioners saying, ‘My friend Susie is watching, [and] she hasn't come to church in forever.’ [By] removing the social anxiety of having to sit in the pews with everybody, we’ve been able to reach a whole new group of people. So we plan to continue livestreaming.”
Get creative with your camera placement and consider adding ambient mics
Stuart Forsyth of Fullarton ConneXions in Irvine, Scotland, told us:
"We've got quite a traditional building. We've got big pillars that hold up the balcony, and we thought, 'That's a great resource to mount our cameras so that we don't have to have tripods around the floor.' ... So we mounted our cameras to the poles, and then we created what's called safe zones. We say to people, 'If you don't want to feature in any of the livestreams ... then you can sit in these safe zones that the cameras don't pick up.' ...
"One final thing we set up was was a couple of ambient mics, round about on the balcony. And that just helped to pick up the congregation singing as well and just helped people at home to feel part of the congregation when hymns and worship were being played."
Stream more than services — and interact directly with your viewers
Jason Arcega of Barrow Community Church in Auburn, Georgia, told us:
"Stream all events: weddings, funerals, youth nights, worship nights, Zoom meetings, fun and solemn events. We had a funeral ... and it was this beautiful thing we were able to share with people who could not possibly be there because there was a lot of family in Puerto Rico. ...
"There's probably more people watching the stream than there are in the audience at that moment. And so it's really important to acknowledge them, especially the pastor when he's up there. 'Hey, everybody who's watching on Facebook Live. ... We want to welcome you. We want to recognize you. We want to interact with you.' And then the key thing is to have not just the Facebook Live stream, but have someone on staff or a volunteer who can minister, be that online pastor at that moment. [Say] 'I'm here to take prayer requests. ... You can private message me.' ... And that way you're still interacting. You're still connecting. ... They may be thousands of miles away from your church, but there's somebody who cares."
ROLL WITH network glitches by being prepared
Kawan Jaramillo of Saturation Ministries Global in Houston told us:
"If the feed freezes [and] you're the person behind the camera, you can't freak out. What I like to do is go in and just start taking off any camera views that I'm not immediately using. We just start taking things offline. So if I'm working with four or five cameras, I'll start taking cameras offline (outside of my main camera). And within seconds, my main camera feed always pops right back up.
"You can always come up with a slide that says, 'Experiencing technical difficulties — bear with us,' just to give yourself a couple of minutes. But for us, I just circulate, [check] on the different camera angles until the internet comes back up. It took us a minute to figure that out, but once we did, we've really been successful at getting the service back up with minor glitches."
Bonus tips ¡en español!
Will Gamboa of Templo Cristiano Nissi in Laredo, Texas
We were also thrilled to host our first livestream in Spanish! Will Gamboa joined us to talk best practices for improving your worship service streams. Check out the entire interview on our Facebook page. We're working toward providing more Spanish content in the future.