Why Should You Do It?
If your church doesn’t offer online streaming, the most critical part isn’t the quality of the equipment, but being able to connect with your audience online. A simple iPhone pointing to the pastor will do, as long as the audio is clear, and you can see what’s going on.
If you decide that you want to improve the streaming capabilities of your church, the good news is that there are so many inexpensive options in the market. Companies such as BlackMagic Design, are bringing down prices on equipment that used to be out of reach for many churches.
The fundamental thing that you need to consider if you want to live stream your church services isn’t to have the latest and greatest technology, but is it having the right equipment to reach your current needs.
Leverage Your Community
Getting a weekly broadcast off the ground is hard work, and it may seem like nobody is watching at first. As a pastor, you need to leverage your influence with your local community to spread the information about your stream; it will help you gain some traction at the beginning.
You see, Facebook, like any other social media, is rented space. What I mean by that is that they can limit your reach if they want to. It’s not a platform that you own; it’s a platform that you’re leasing.
Counterbalance that by informing people using platforms other than social media (text, email, website: the platforms you own), and cast the vision of why they should help spread this information. Privately reach out to individuals in your community to help you share your stream once you’ve started. Doing this will help you boost your post within the platform because, most likely, Facebook will perceive it as organic interaction. If they help you share, you will leverage their online influence to extend the message of your church.
Something To Think About Whether You Already Stream Or Are New To This
As we were preparing to move our services to online-only for the weekend, we realized that this was an opportunity to get better. Our church leadership encouraged us to start practicing methods and procedures that could improve our online experience going forward. One thing I know we’ve needed for a long time and something we hadn’t capitalized on was having clear roles for social media volunteers.
This weekend, our lobby moved from our physical location to the comment section on our stream. I reached out to a few volunteers who I knew had the gift of hospitality to help us moderate the comment sections.
Here’s a copy of the email I sent, which outlines some of the responsibilities that they would help us accomplish. If this helps you, I encourage you to copy and paste it and send it under your name.
Letter sent on March 13th, 2020, after finding out that a Dallas County Judge had banned gatherings of 500 or more for the next week.
Hello, First Name Last Name,
As you may know, by now, we are directing all our services for this weekend to online-only (read the statement from Pastor Bryan LINK). We were discussing some of the help we would need for our online services; we determined that having people placed strategically in our online streams acting as informal moderators would be beneficial for the quality of the online experience.
I’m reaching out to you because we think you are someone who would be able to help with this opportunity.
We are looking for people who could:
- Act as hosts in the stream, welcoming people when they join.
- Interact in the comment section with other people watching.
- Guide people by pointing out essential announcements.
- Follow along with the sermon and comment back with Bible verses and points from Pastor Bryan’s message. (An email with Bible verses and quotes will be available after you respond and let me know if you’re able to help.)
- Flagging abuse, because sometimes, we encounter individuals who are trying to push their agenda. We will need to monitor anybody posting comments that aren’t relevant to the topic of the stream, and in case of verbal abuse or use of obscene language, we will need to block such individuals.
- Provide prayer for individuals in need, and also connect them with our prayer team.
This volunteer role is evolving as this is the first time we’re using a group to help us accomplish anything like this. Given the nature of the weekend, we thought it would be appropriate to test this out and see if it would improve our online experience.
If you’re able to help, please reply to this email and let me know which service you’re ready to help host.
Pastor Danny De los Reyes
I hope that you leverage the shift to online only for your church. The purpose of this post is to tell you that you don’t need the fanciest setup if you can’t afford it, start or improve your online ministry by first asking philosophical questions about its purpose. The goal isn’t to have the fanciest streams; the goal is to connect people to Christ and to reach people where they are during these moments of isolation.