Every week, more churches around the world are livestreaming their worship services. Livestreaming church services makes it possible to reach new and distant attendees as well as long-time congregation members who can't always make it in person. Church livestreams allow your congregation to engage with your message in real time and even revisit a sermon if they miss it live. It’s a powerful way to keep your community of faith connected through worship, music, and prayer.
Why Should Your Church Live Stream?
- IT PROVIDES COMMUNITY TO MISSIONARIES AND CHURCH PLANTERS.
- IT’S A BALM FOR SICK MEMBERS, NEW PARENTS AND THOSE WHO OTHERWISE COULD NOT ATTEND IN PERSON.
- IT’S AN EASY WAY TO WELCOME VISITORS AND NEW COMMUNITY MEMBERS.
- IT LETS EVERYONE PARTICIPATE IN MUSIC AND PRAYER.
How to Livestream Your Church Service
Now let’s talk about how to livestream your church services. Beyond simply broadcasting a video of your in-person sermon or bible study, livestreaming your church services presents the opportunity to create a virtual experience for your congregation that reflects your message.
You might feel intimidated by sharing your worship sermons through livestreaming. We get it: It can be overwhelming navigating livestreaming equipment options and trying to learn new technical terms. Don't worry! Livestreaming your church service is easier than you think. The tools you need are simple and accessible — in fact, they’re likely already in your pocket.
What equipment is needed to live stream a church service?
Livestream your church service with an iPhone or iPad!
You'll need an iOS device, microphone, tripod and a streaming software such as Switcher Studio.
The days of needing expensive video cameras to produce decent livestreams are over — because now there’s a high-quality camera built into every iPhone and iPad.
Just take a look at the latest iPhones. Each one comes with at least two different lenses (a wide angle and ultrawide angle) plus an additional 2-3x optical-zoom lens on the pro editions. With these features, your iPhone camera is way more powerful than most webcams and nearly as advanced as DSLR and mirrorless cameras.
Plus, since you can stream directly from your mobile device, you don’t need to worry about setting up a computer and capture card to get video onto a livestream from an external camera. That means using an iPhone or iPad to livestream a church service is one of the most cost-effective approaches out there.
Using an iPhone or iPad to livestream your church services seriously minimizes the need for additional equipment, and it means you can enhance your production with a livestreaming app … like Switcher! Since 2014, Switcher has been making it easy to create incredible livestreams and virtual experiences with iPhones and iPads, which is why we’re the livestreaming solution of choice for thousands of houses of worship around the world.
So how do you use the tech you have to make meaningful livestreamed church services?
Immerse your virtual attendees with multicamera LIVE video
One of the tricks of livestreaming a church service is creating an experience that’s immersive for online viewers (without disrupting the experience for in-person attendees). Using unobtrusive — but high-quality — mobile devices to stream is a great start.
For a truly outstanding viewing experience that will keep your online congregation coming back every week, we recommend connecting additional cameras to create a seriously immersive live event. Then, place your cameras strategically so both audiences can get the most out of the service.
How to use Switcher for multicamera church livestreams
If you have multiple iPhones or iPads at your disposal, use Switcher to connect up to 9 iOS devices to create a dynamic worship livestream! Place devices throughout the sanctuary to capture different perspectives of the service. During your stream, you can switch between angles, and even display multiple angles at the same time using our built-in Multiview templates.
Multiple angles keep online viewers engaged with the message and immerse them in the experience, bringing them closer to the feeling of being there in person — which is the ultimate goal of church livestreams.
You can even display your live Switcher Studio production on a screen or projector for your in-person congregation, so everyone can enjoy clear, high-quality visuals.
Enhance your church livestream audioIf your audience can’t hear what’s happening, they’re going to tune out. Adding music and external microphones to capture the service can make the experience more meaningful for virtual viewers. It’s a great way to help them feel connected to the community.
How to use Switcher Studio to improve your livestream audioIs your church already using an audio interface like a soundboard for your services? Good news: You can connect that directly to your main Switcher device. Now, your online viewers are hearing exactly what your in-person congregation is hearing.
Add graphics, text, photos, and moreOnce you have crystal clear audio and immersive video, you can enhance your church livestream even more with additional visuals. Support your message with inspirational images. Display referenced passages or key themes. Even add worship lyrics or calls to action so your at-home congregation can be fully engaged.
How to use Switcher Studio to add visuals
Switcher Studio makes it easy to customize and add visual components. We have dozens of premade graphics templates that are easy to edit by changing the text, photos, colors, and fonts. Choose from full-screen title cards, lower thirds, and even animated text. Then, add the graphic to your production, live, with just a tap. You can also upload your own graphics, photos, and even prerecorded video.
With Switcher, it doesn’t take a big investment to get started, and your production grows with you. Check out our post on livestream gear recommendations for our favorite mobile streaming equipment.
Tips for livestreaming a church service with iOS devicesHere are a few additional things to keep in mind when livestreaming your church service with iOS devices:
- Make sure your device is fully charged before you begin. If possible, keep your device charging while you’re streaming. Don’t disrupt your online congregation’s experience with something as preventable as a dead battery.
- Check your Wi-Fi network. If your internet upload speed is inadequate, your livestream could buffer, slow down, freeze, or possibly stop altogether. You can check your network’s speed by running a quick speed test. The upload speed is the number to notice: You’ll need at least 3 Mbps to send out an HD (720p) stream, and double that if you want to stream in Full HD (1080p).
- Do a test stream before you go live to check your video and audio quality. Nothing’s worse than promising a great virtual experience, but not delivering because you didn’t make a few checks.
Choosing a livestreaming destination
Streaming to social media platforms
Once you have your livestreaming production figured out, it’s time to think about where to direct your online congregation. There are plenty of social media destinations to choose from, including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch. These are some of the biggest and most accessible platforms out there, and well worth considering, especially when your livestream is new.
For example, if you already have a Facebook presence for your church, livestreaming to your page or group is the perfect way to get the word out. Your viewers will be able to engage in real time via comments and reactions, and they can share the stream on their personal profiles to further extend your reach. It's modern-day word of mouth!
However, there are some issues with livestreaming on social media platforms. For churches and houses of worship, one of the biggest downsides is the inability to control the content suggested to viewers once their livestream ends. Each of these platforms behaves differently, but they all have the same goal: keeping your viewers on their site.
On most sites, like Facebook and YouTube, the platform makes a bid to keep a viewer’s attention by suggesting content based on their watch history. In other words, once your livestreamed service ends, your viewers could be recommended videos that contrast with your church’s identity and message.
Embedding your church livestream on your website
The easiest and most surefire way to own your content and control your message is by embedding your church’s livestreams right on your church’s website. This way, you know exactly where to send your viewers, what their experience will be, and what additional content you want to share.
Using Switcher Studio to embed your livestream
Switcher Studio has a solution for this: It’s called the Switcher Player. The Switcher Player allows you to host a livestream on your church’s website or direct viewers to a unique URL, independent of any public streaming platform. The Switcher Player allows you to control the message you want your congregation to receive and reduce distractions from content that doesn’t represent your church’s identity.
When you livestream your church service directly to your church’s website, you’ve brought your online congregation to the hub of your community. Viewers can interact with articles, news bulletins, calendars, and the rest of your website while receiving the weekly message and growing their sense of community — without suggestions of unfitting content once the livestream ends.
Boosting engagement on your church website with video
The Switcher Player also includes built-in interactive tools for your congregation. When you’re streaming your Switcher production to the Switcher Player, you can add interactive links to your production. All a viewer has to do is click the button on your video, and a popout menu will appear with a list of your preselected URLs.
This is a great way to collect donations and tithes via PayPal, Venmo, Tithely, or any other financial service your church uses, further engaging your audience and creating a more immersive experience.
The Switcher Player is available with the Switcher Studio Business plan, and nonprofit organizations are invited to apply for a discount.
Start streaming your church livestream today!
Your congregation — in-person and online — deserves the best your church has to offer. It’s easy to get started, and Switcher Studio is proud to partner with houses of worship on this journey. For more tips and tricks on creating great video, check out our blogs on livestreaming for churches and our YouTube channel.
Visit our features page to learn more about the Switcher Studio iOS app, and see which plan is right for you on our pricing page. Or, to get started now, try Switcher Studio free for 14 days.