Every day, houses of worship around the world are tasked with uplifting their communities. But in today’s busy world, reaching new and existing congregants can be a challenge. Live streaming — whether for services, ceremonies, or events — offers a solution.

Forecasted to become a $70.5B industry within the next three years, live streaming will become the norm for consumers. And not just for traditional broadcasting, like sports, award shows, or concerts. While it may seem like live streaming could create a disconnect between those at the event and those watching from a device, research shows the opposite. According to a 2017 survey, one in five people said watching a live stream makes them feel “like a part of an event.”

For houses of worship — and their congregation leaders — the feeling is mutual. “I know that the relational part of what I’m trying to project from the pulpit is reaching into people’s homes, even if I can’t be there myself,” says Amy Butler, Pastor at Riverside Church in New York City, with respect to live streaming Sunday services.

Live streaming your sermons to Facebook

According to a 2018 study from LifeWay, 84 percent of churches already have a Facebook page. They use this channel as an outlet to inform community members about upcoming events. With Vimeo Livestream, you can take it a step further and simulcast to Facebook Live, and other social channels, just like that. It’s never been easier to bring your high quality stream to the web.

What’s more, live streaming on Facebook is one of the best ways to bring your content front and center in its news feed. Live videos, on average, get six times as many interactions as static videos on Facebook. The very nature of live streaming a church service encourages discussion amongst viewers, further developing a sense of belonging and community.

Ministers at Riverside Church, who use Vimeo Livestream to broadcast their Sunday services on the web, can attest to the benefits of live streaming to Facebook. “I love that it lets us simulcast,” says Jim Keat, Associate Minister of Digital Strategy & Online Engagement. “We’re always sending our live stream from Sunday morning to our church’s Facebook page, allowing for that organic traffic to just stumble into church.”

Technical setup for live streaming

Live streaming may seem like a highly technical and daunting endeavor, but in reality, many churches can get started with tools they already have. At a minimum, all you need to live stream is:

  • A camera with a video capture device, or webcam
  • A high-performance computer
  • An internet connection

Which camera you use will depend on your budget and goals of the live production. For many churches, renting cameras is a nice option as they ease in to live streaming. This approach also helps them evaluate which equipment works best for their needs. (Don’t know where to start? Check out some of our favorites here.)

Most importantly, make sure you have a reliable internet connection. As a result of companies like Netflix and Hulu bringing clear and consistent streaming to the masses, viewers expect the same everywhere. Including in live video.

Tips and best practices for live streaming

In order for houses of worship to remain relevant and engage existing and new members, they must experiment with new strategies and media to spread their message. Creating static video content is not enough. Live streaming is proven to create more engagement among users. It can also create a sense of belonging, even when they’re behind a screen of their laptop or tablet.

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P.S. Our free guide, Live Streaming for Houses of Worship, shares how churches of all sizes and denominations, from around the country, have succeeded with a live streaming strategy. Download it today.