How to Live Stream Church in 2022

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Published on

April 2, 2022

Why Live Stream Church Services?

Church live streams have been popular for years, but we saw a huge increase in churches live streaming their services in early 2020. Even as more people return to in-person church, live streams remain popular. And there are so many reasons why!

  1. It’s Convenient

A live stream allows families with young children or busy schedules to tune in, without the headache of getting the family out the door. People who otherwise would have missed a Sunday service due to time constraints are logging on from home. Live streams let every member of the community stay engaged. 

  1. It’s Accessible

Church live streams bring the service to those who can’t make it in person, whether they are ill, elderly, disabled, or otherwise homebound. If we’ve learned anything over the last two years, it’s that when it comes to access, there can be no excuses. We are committed to democratizing video production and making events available to all.

  1. It Builds Community

33% of new churchgoers find their church online, through websites and live streams. Live streams are an easy way for potential members to get to know the pastor, the church community, and the teaching of the church before they commit. Churches that live stream their services with LiveControl see a 100% increase in online viewership and up to a 45% increase in donations through their branded streaming pages. That’s money that goes straight back to the community, creating an active, engaged cycle of investment. 

  1. It’s Comfortable

Watching church from the comfort of home is appealing to many congregants! Think about it – opting out of the early morning commute sounds great to many people. A live stream ensures that they won’t miss the service even if they choose to skip the drive.

How  to Set Up Live Streaming for Church

The first thing you’ll need is a camera. Ideally more than one. We recommend a minimum of two cameras that can capture a range of views. 

Choosing the right camera can seem really daunting. After all, there are tons of options out there, and more every day. But when it comes to live streaming church, we’ve identified the angles and shots that make for the best live stream.  

Breaking Down the Perfect Angles

First, a wide-angle camera is great for capturing the front of the room, where speakers, musicians, and presenters stand. The wide-angle shot is essential for making the at-home audience feel like they’re really there.

And on days when there’s a lot going on, it’s an important shot to have, so nothing gets missed. That way, when the Christmas pageant is on, no one will miss the littlest shepherd when she says her lines!

Then we recommend at least one  side camera that can track subjects, pan, and zoom. These cameras work in tandem to capture close-ups, mid-shots, and details.

They can capture choir soloists, guest speakers, and candle-lightings, no matter where they are. The best side cameras are PTZ cameras, which pan, tilt, and zoom, and can be controlled remotely. 

A multi-camera setup is essential for a worship ministry setting, because there are so many moving parts to a service.

Between the pastor, music director, guest readers, soloists, instrumentalists, and the congregation itself, a single stationary camera simply doesn’t cut it. Trust us – stationary single-camera live streams have lower viewership than multi-camera dynamic streams. And it’s easy to see why!

Dynamic stream vs. a static stream

Choosing the perfect cameras for your needs doesn’t have to be hard. Check out our latest article on the Best Cameras for Live Streaming Church

Live Stream Church in the Right Format

Your live stream won’t look or sound right if it’s not formatted correctly. In some cases, poor formatting means you won’t be able to get your video online at all! 

A digital encoder converts your footage to the optimal format for any streaming platform. It also combines your multi-camera footage into a single video, and ensures that your audio and video are compatible with one another and synced up. 

Once you’ve connected your cameras to your encoder, it’s a matter of selecting which platforms you want to use for your live stream. And there are many options!

What Platform is Best for Live Streaming Church?

Each streaming platform has different benefits, and produces different types and amounts of engagement. When you initially begin live streaming, it’s a good idea to have your stream running on several different platforms. Your congregation’s preference can be hard to predict, and a group that you expected to flock to Facebook might prefer watching on Youtube. Let’s dive into the differences between platforms. 

Live Streaming Church on Facebook Live

Facebook Live is a great option for churches and other houses of worship. Most people over the age of 25 have a Facebook account, and the Facebook interface is very intuitive.

Additionally, if members of your congregation struggle with technology, it’s easy for a loved one to bookmark the church’s Facebook page for easier access.

It’s easy for viewers to comment, like, and share the live stream, both during the stream and after the fact, which can help build community and increase your church’s reach. Facebook automatically saves your stream once it ends, helping you build an archive.

Live Streaming Church on Instagram Live

Instagram is a less-popular option for church live streams, but that doesn’t mean you should write it off right away! Instagram is popular with viewers 35 and under.

It’s easy for your viewers to watch your live stream from their smartphone, which is perfect for congregants who are very busy, on their feet, or caring for young children. 

It’s harder to share an Instagram Live stream, and engagement is not as easy. 

Live Streaming Church on Zoom

Zoom is a classic option, and one we’ve become very familiar with since 2020. Zoom allows for viewers to be on camera themselves, increasing the sense of camaraderie and community among congregants.

Viewers can also write comments during the live stream, although those comments are not automatically archived once the stream ends. 

Zoom also prioritizes latency over quality. That means your live stream quality will drop to accommodate for low-quality wifi connections. And no one likes a choppy, blurry video!

Zoom does have recording capabilities, but your stream producer must remember to enable recording. If you forget, you’re out of luck.

Live Streaming Church on YouTube

YouTube is a common streaming option as well. Viewable on a smartphone, laptop, or other screen, YouTube live streams are easy to find and comment on, although the comment format on YouTube is less conducive to community conversation. It can be tricky to get a back-and-forth going that way.

Live Streaming Church on a Branded Webpage

Live streaming from a branded webpage is quickly becoming the most popular option for live streaming church. Viewers simply log on to a website featuring your church’s name, logo, and colors, and watch the service from there!

A branded webpage is the most attractive and professional option, and keeps the focus where you want it – on the service. 

It’s also easy to integrate a donation portal, so that congregants can donate from home during the offertory portion of your service. And live chat features help your viewers stay connected to one another.

A beautiful, engaging live stream is the best way to increase community participation, church membership, and giving. 

Music and Live Streaming – A Word of Caution

Want to know the quickest way to ruin your live stream? Getting it shut down. If your musicians play copyrighted music, even for a few seconds, streaming platforms such as Facebook and YouTube will end your live stream instantly, leaving your viewers in the dark. 

And if your streams get ended often enough, you could lose access to your Facebook and YouTube accounts, forcing you to build your online following from scratch. 

Your custom streaming page takes that issue out of the equation, so you can worship with the music that means the most to you.

How to Share Your Church’s Live Stream

Setting up a live stream requires an investment of time, money, and planning resources. If you do it on your own, it can cost close to $75,000 (learn more about Video Production Costs here), or you can hire an all-in-one service like LiveControl that provides the equipment for free, sets it up, and produces the stream for you – with a commitment of less than $11,000 annually and ongoing special Church pricing for non-profits. 

Once you’ve made your investment – no matter how you choose to do it – it’s important to promote your live stream in order to see a return!

Promoting your stream can increase church membership retention, grow overall membership, and increase revenue, which can be invested right back into your ministry. And we know that your time is precious.

That’s why we’ve worked tirelessly to offer live streaming products specially tailored to churches. Because there’s no reason to get bogged down in the tricky technical details when we can do that for you!

"Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22

Our team can help you determine the best live streaming setup for your church, ship you best-in-class equipment, arrange installation, and then best of all, we’ll produce your live stream for you, remotely!

Let us be your ‘many advisers’ behind the scenes, partnering with you to make your mission and your community richer, more engaged, and more connected. Ready to get started or learn more? Let’s talk!

More from the blog

You might have noticed that your lighting doesn’t look as good on your live stream as it does in person. The common suggestion is to add more lights, but that can be an expensive solution that will not necessarily fix the issue. 

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Grow your church, increase online donations, and share the good word. It all starts with the right camera…

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Now that your church is ready to start live streaming your services and events, it’s time to start thinking about live streaming etiquette. What are the do’s and don’ts of being on camera in front of a live audience? 

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