Live streaming has become the go-to strategy for churches to continue to worship together since the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many to cancel their services to prevent spreading the virus. Ministries across the world are using live video on Facebook, YouTube, and other popular streaming platforms to continue to preach sermons and worship through music.
We recently asked our Facebook Group filled with thousands of church tech leaders and volunteers for practical tips that can make your livestream better. During this season, many of them are using video equipment they already have set up in their auditoriums. Others have set up makeshift streaming studios in their church offices and homes.
We hope that these tips taken from all levels of video setups will help you to make positive tweaks to your church’s stream. Small improvements over time make a huge difference.
#1 – Test your stream privately, including all individual elements, before you ever go live to the public. This will help you to identify any problems such as an unplugged mic or format issue.
#2 – Streaming with a smartphone is a great place to start. As you start to build momentum, you can add better sound, lighting, and cameras to make improvements.
#3 – If you have a chat section, have a dedicated staff member or volunteer ready to greet people, answer questions, and share resources as needed.
#4 – Be authentic. You’re not a megachurch and shouldn’t try to mimic everything that they do online. Present a true representation of your church.
#5 – Before your church begins live-streaming, determine if you will aim for a professional, high-production approach or a casual, homey feel. Go all-in with your decision.
#6 – Adding “room mics” to your post-fader audio mix can help to make your stream viewers feel like they’re part of the live experience.
#7 – Online forms are a great way to capture information from viewers so you can connect with them more. These can help to identify salvations, testimonies, new volunteers, etc.
#8 – Never play prerecorded music, such as Apple Music or Spotify. This content will get flagged immediately and could cause your stream to be shut down.
#9 – Lighting goes a long way to give your stream a great look. No matter the complexity of the setup, your subject should be lit well.
#10 – Engage with your audience! Ask questions, take polls, and encourage prayer requests. Embrace a two-way street mentality to make it feel more like a community.
#11 – Keep your stage, studio, or recording area clean. When watching video, people can easily get distracted by the small details around you.
#12 – Utilizing multiple camera angles is a great way to make a small stage or studio feel larger and more interesting to your audience. This is particularly engaging during a music moment.
#13 – Look for new ways to reach your online audience with more streams. Going live on weekdays with a few minutes of encouragement can go a long way without a lot of setup.
#14 – Don’t just assume that everything is working perfectly for your online viewers. Have your stream pulled up on a consumer-level device to monitor real-world audio and video as an outsider would experience them.
#15 – Start a few minutes early to allow people to log on and chat together. Show “pre-service” slides with announcements or a countdown during this time.
#16 – Don’t be afraid to look straight into the camera and talk specifically to your online audience. Let them know that you see them tuned in and that what you’re saying is for them.
#17 – Showing lower-third titles is a great way for your audience to follow along when singing songs, reading scriptures, or preaching key points.
#18 – Since your live stream is available for anyone to watch, it’s a good idea to tell people where you are broadcasting from. It can also be fun to ask for viewers to tell you where they’re watching from.
#19 – Don’t feel like every element of the service needs to be live. Pre-recording worship or other elements can reduce stress on streaming day.
#20 – Your camera(s) needs to be close enough that the online viewer feels as if they could have a conversation with the speaker. Anything farther away feels too disconnected.
#21 – Provide multiple times that people can watch. Your church may normally be limited to 1 hour for a service each week, but these limits don’t exist online. You could stream the same recording multiple times on a Sunday and have the recording available to watch later.
Still Have Questions?
Churches all over the world are facing the same challenges that you are in this season. Get connected to other media teams like yours by joining our Facebook Group filled with over 35,000 church tech leaders and volunteers who know what it’s like to be in your shoes. We encourage you to join our group and ask as many questions as you need. We think you’ll be surprised by how many others are like you and have advice to share.Join Our Facebook Group