Pros/Cons to Live Streaming the Service Online

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For the past ten years or so, many churches across the country have taken the step to stream their services online to expand their audience. Many have a variety of quality outputs based on a production standpoint, but as a church wanting to move to live streaming, it is good to know some of the pros and cons.

 

Let’s start with some of the pros:

 

  • You will be able to offer the viewing of your services live for members of your congregation that cannot make it to church
  • People are much more likely to check out your church in person if they have gotten a chance to see what your service is like online
  • Search engines such as Google will have additional “focus words” to direct searches to your live stream page
  • Archive your service for playback
  • Useful marketing platform
  • Chat room options allow conversations to happen in real time, giving your church the ability to have an “Online Pastor” to answer questions or continue conversations with people that are not present at your church

 

Now let’s talk through some of the cons:

 

  • $$ – Everything costs money, and to do a live stream that represents your church well, there will be costs involved such as: camera(s), streaming service, capability to mix audio for online feed, cables, converter boxes, computer to host feed, etc.
  • Extra volunteer to run and monitor the live stream (this does not necessarily a con if you have someone eager to get involved somehow!)
  • Troubleshooting – sometimes live streaming can act finicky, and requires extra attention and sometimes on the fly, last minute (or second) troubleshooting
  • Mistakes – everyone makes mistakes, period. Just sometimes live streaming will mean those mistakes get streamed…online. If you choose to publish or archive the video after the service is over, you won’t be able to edit any of those mistakes out unless you remove it, edit it, and reupload it…which just seems like extra hassle

 

Now although these just represent some of the basic pros and cons for live streaming, here is an option to consider if you are thinking about making the move:

 

Facebook:

 

  • Facebook live stream is probably the most effective (and cheapest) route to take. The only software you need to allow Facebook to livestream your service by using an external camera (not your phone or camera on your computer) is an encoding software such as Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder
  • Facebook also allows for third party embedding, so that gives you the capability to embed the live stream into your church’s website
  • Once you start a livestream, Facebook will send out a notification to all of the “followers” on your church’s Facebook page. Did I just say free advertising?
  • Facebook also allows you to see how many people viewed the video during and after the live feed and many other helpful insights
  • The commenting capability in real time can be extremely useful, especially if you have a dedicated pastor or trusted church member that is commenting on behalf of the church like what was stated in the pros list above

 

To learn more about the specifics to set this up, please visit this website for more instructions.

 

Hope this blog was helpful!

 

Written by: Alex Purtell
Alex is the founder of Froot Group, a worship staffing company.

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