How to Connect with Your Church Digitally

Before you rush out and buy camera gear and spend thousands of dollars trying to get a livestream like every other church, ask yourself a few questions.

1.     What do I want to accomplish?

  • a.     Do I want to want to have a normal Sunday service broadcast from my sanctuary or a different room so people can watch it online?

  • b.     Do I want to do a simple, intimate setting with just myself (or a few people) and do a devotional style teaching?

  • c.     Do I want to have an online group experience where people can join in, see one another and chat?

First, determine what you want to do because this will guide your decisions with software and media equipment.

FACEBOOK LIVE

In April 2016, Facebook launched Facebook Live, a live video streaming service that lets anyone broadcast from their mobile devices straight to their Facebook News Feed. This is easily the #1-way churches of all sizes livestream their services. The great thing about Facebook live is that you can stream from your smart phone, tablet, or computer for free. There are other options to stream to Facebook using cameras and professional audio set-ups, but this is not required.

 Keep in mind that Facebook Live is not only great for Sunday services, but you can use it as a means to connect with people on a daily basis to shepherd them through this crisis. A great way to do this is by sharing a 5 to10 minute devotion and prayer.

 **Note: Facebook does not always have to be “live”. You can pre-record a video on your phone and then upload to your church’s Facebook page or your personal profile just like you would with a video of your kids or anything else.

Here are some examples of how churches in Florida have utilized Facebook Live:

Here are some “how to videos” on setting up Facebook Live:

One challenge you may face is church attendees that do not have Facebook accounts or be familiar with using social media. However, do not let this keep you from taking the leap to start virtual church. You can either teach them how to do so, record your video directly through YouTube or record on your phone and upload to YouTube.  Once uploaded, you can share the video link through email or text. See the next section for details.

YOUTUBE

Interestingly, some stats say that GenZ watch up to 2 hours of YouTube every day! YouTube is extremely user friendly and is one of the best ways to upload videos you have recorded to distribute to your people. All you have to do after uploading your video to YouTube is send out your video link and anyone can view it. Viewers do not need a YouTube account to watch.

Also, YouTube also has a live video feature like Facebook. However, there are a few additional things to setup in order to get this to work and it is not as easy to do if you are not tech savvy (but you can learn by just watching a YouTube video on how to set up the “live” feature!). The easiest option is to utilize YouTube to send out videos that you have pre-recorded. Just record what you want others to view with your phone, tablet, computer or camera equipment and upload it to YouTube for people to stream on demand.

 Starting a YouTube account is easier than it has ever been right now. All you need to do is head over to www.youtube.com and if you already have a Gmail account for email, you can sign in using those credentials. And there you have it, your own YouTube account that you can upload your videos to and send the masses to watch your content.

 Click this link for instructions on how to create a YouTube channel/account for yourself or your church: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/1646861?hl=en

ZOOM VIDEO CONFERENCING

Zoom is an easy way to host a video conference. This is great for small groups and/or environments where you want to teach a class online, hold a meeting, or just have some face time with your leaders. You simply host a “Zoom Call” and then anyone with the link (or zoom meeting code) can join in via Audio and/or Video from their phone, tablet or computer. Moving forward, Zoom is a great tool to regularly utilize if you need to have a meeting with any group in your church.

Zoom has a free option as well as a service you can pay monthly. A free account is limited to 100 total people in a single call and a maximum time limit of 40 minutes. For only $14.99 a month you can host meetings that last up to 24 hours and includes a feature to record the meeting (share it online, via email, or save for personal reference at a later time).

 Visit https://zoom.us for all of the details.