In the light of churches not being able to open for worship due to this current pandemic, you may wish to investigate other ways of worshiping together. One such way is by providing a live stream so that the congregation may worship – but from the comfort and safety of their own homes. To assist with that please look at the information below.
Could you live stream your worship?
With the current advice being for people to self-isolate and to avoid any non-essential contact, many churches may be wondering what to do regarding church services. One option to consider is live streaming. A number of large churches throughout the world already do this. It’s a way of harnessing technology to ensure those not there in person, for whatever reason, stay connected, spiritually-fed and informed. Live streaming options can even allow for interaction from those watching remotely.
If you wish to explore this option, the best two live streaming services are probably Facebook Live and YouTube Live. Both are free, and relatively straightforward to set up. Both Facebook and YouTube (Google) have pages which will talk you through how to start up your live stream, and how to work it. To find out more, visit:
Facebook: Facebook Live Stream Help Centre
YouTube: YouTube (Google) Live Stream Help
You may also like to consider other resources to help you with this, such as FreeOnlineChurch. Have a search round on the Internet you will find lots of advice, information and guidance there!
Some things to bear in mind for live streaming…
If you plan to stream or record your service you should consider the following:
- Make sure anyone appearing in the broadcast is aware beforehand, and their permission to be seen and/or recorded online is sought. Written consent is needed, and no one under the age of 18 may be featured without written permission from a parent or guardian.
- Check your copyright! Your church will hopefully hold a Church Copyright Licence (CCL), usually obtained for the projection or printing out of hymns and worship song words. In the UK the CCL also include other licenses which permits churches to record live music during their services. However, CCLI does not provide a licence for streaming or webcasting church services which include copyrighted content. Therefore worship songs should not be streamed unless permission has been granted from the copyright owners or the songs are in the public domain.
- Please be aware of the need for sensitivity when sharing private and confidential information during a service (such as during prayer), which may not be appropriate to be more widely broadcast.
- It may be best, in light of the above points, to simply stream the sermon/message to avoid any copyright issues.
Some tips for live streaming
You’re ready to go. A number of key considerations will enable your live stream to run as smoothly as possible, and reach those for whom it was intended.
- Use a tripod, and not someone holding the phone. This will make sure that the frame is the same throughout the feed. When positioning the phone, it is purely down to the space you have. You don’t need to have it dead centre, or ensure a projection screen is in view.
- Ensure the audio is as good quality as you can get. Consider a good feed into the phone via an audio interface, such as an iRig Pro.
- Remember to tell your entire congregation and your online followers when you’ll be going live. Aim to give them 24 hours notice before a scheduled live stream, allowing them to make sure they watching. A nice idea is to have your live stream reminder posts share a little but about what the stream and service will include.
- Make sure your signal is strong! Aim for Wifi, but if needs be you can use 4G, so long as the signal is strong enough. Do a test the day before on your own Facebook account – you can always delete this once you’ve finished.
- Think about your description. Write the post how you would any other update you’d share – give viewers an idea of what the stream is about, ask and question and encourage them to engage with you in the comments section. You’ll be able to see this interaction during the live stream, and can directly answer their questions while you’re live. Remember to mention the viewer by name when they ask a question and thank them for watching – this builds that community feel and makes the follower feel like a valued member of the community.
- Think about who and what can be seen – have all those who might appear been briefed, and what can be seen in the background? If you’re going to have a discussion, an attractive but simple background would work best. If you’re walking around, have you told all those people who might like to talk during the broadcast what you might ask them and how long you might talk to them? While you will want it to have a relaxed feel, live streams always work best when they’re planned.
- While the trend for videos is shorter the better, when going Live it’s better to stay on for longer. You can stream for up to four hours on Facebook, but research shows around 20 minutes is the ideal time. It is best to include any Bible readings, prayers and main sermon during this time.
- Those who are not able to follow a live stream for any reason, may appreciate a printed copy of the order of service, with the full sermon, or notes, if possible.
- Your live stream doesn’t have to be from your church building. If you have postponed using a meeting space, the stream can be done from your home. Just be aware of surroundings.
These tips have been adapted from the Church of England, and added to by the Baptist Union of Great Britain. (The original CoE page is here: Church of England Link and the Baptist page is here: Baptist Link).