We’ve discussed at length why churches should consider livestreaming and how they can get started for free, but we haven’t yet covered where they can livestream — what sites or platforms are the best fit. There are numerous streaming platforms out there, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the options. The obvious big names are Facebook and YouTube, and these are both great destinations for your livestreams, giving you the opportunity for incredible reach, engagement, and ease of use. But there are also a number of paid platforms that churches may choose if they want more powerful broadcasting options. Here we’ll break down a few of the most popular streaming platforms for churches, detailing what they offer.
More and more churches are livestreaming their worship services as a way to reach people. Much like sermon podcasts, church livestreams let you reach curious new attendees, distant friends and family, and long-time members who can't always make it to Sunday services. But unlike sermon podcasts, livestreams let these people engage with the service in real time (as well as afterward, for that matter). Livestreams also share more than just the sermon — viewers get to participate in the prayer and worship music too.
But that's the why, and we've already covered why to livestream your church services. Today we're talking about the how: how to livestream your church services — and how to do it for free.
If you are just getting started with livestreaming for your church, you may be realizing that there are a lot of options out there for putting your service online. Here I’ll outline some of the basic gear and tools you will need to livestream, highlighting a few production tips that are specific to churches.
I’ll start by saying that there is a time and place for heavy-duty gear like professional optics and hardwired cable runs. But to get started streaming your church services, you’d be wasting money to begin there. If you can remove complexity from your video production setup, you’ll be more flexible when it is time to expand.
Sharing your church services online is a great way to reach people who are unable to attend the gatherings. By streaming the services live, you enable those who are at home, at work, out of town, or in the hospital to participate in real time and feel like they're still an active part of the congregation. Another way to help people participate is to make sure worship song lyrics are accessible.
In the church sanctuary or gathering space, lyrics are often visible on a screen or available in hymnals, allowing everyone to sing along whether or not they know the words. If at-home participants see only the video footage of people singing in your livestream, however, they'll be unable to sing along if they don't know the words. This is especially true for those with hearing loss because they may have additional trouble understanding the words being sung by the congregation.
Fortunately, Switcher Studio's live-video editing app makes it easy to display lyrics — not to mention scripture, graphics, videos, and more — as part of your livestream to Facebook, YouTube, your own site, or almost anywhere else. Just follow the simple instructions below. If you're not a Switcher user, churches can get a free 30-day trial to take it for a spin during a few services. (Since Switcher runs with just iPhones and iPads, you or your tech team can try it without purchasing any gear.)
If I’ve learned anything about church management from my decades as a pastor’s kid, it’s that church leaders have a lot on their plates, and it extends far beyond pastoral work. Sure, they preach and counsel and visit sick people. But they also run teams, hold meetings, deal with budgets, manage conflicts, and oversee basically everything. They’re like CEOs in clerical collars — or snazzy sneaks, depending on your denomination. Oh, and they answer to God. So, yeah, lots of responsibility.