Let’s face it – livestreaming church services has been possible for quite some time, but it’s only since early 2020 that everyone started doing it. A pandemic with lockdowns and stay-at-home orders caused the biggest shift in the way we “do church” since…well, since ever.
Live streaming church services has allowed a much wider reach for many churches, and indeed some have reported massive increases in attendance, even if it is virtual. This ease of reaching people is tempered by the demographics – many older people have found it difficult to get online.
There are pros and cons to everything, and here are some of the top considerations for church live streaming.
Connecting with the Congregation
Although you may reach a wider audience, it’s harder to connect with them through a screen. You won’t get the kind of feedback a live audience can deliver, and even if a text chat is available, it’s still not the same.
There’s no coffee beforehand, there’s no chatting after, and there’s no real connection for those in the congregation with each other. Meeting in person is not only important for church, but also a vital part of human society.
Wherever it is possible, it is better to at least have some people able to meet together, or make it evident that you are trying to connect through the screen – church is a group experience.
Mistakes? We’ve made a few.
Before livestreaming, there were distractions and disasters all around at every church service. The band would play the wrong song, the lights would flicker, the preacher would lose his way. That’s all cool – it’s just how it goes. No matter how professional you try to be about it, church is a group of dedicated amateurs who simply do their best.
Livestreaming captures these issues for posterity, which is not a problem – but can be perceived as one. Allow the mistakes – unless…
You can broadcast a video as if it were live, having recorded it days or weeks previously. This means it can be edited to remove all the issues but can remove you even further from connecting with the congregation.
You won’t be able to reference current events, but it can be beneficial – especially if people need to take a break one week.
For real life church, people just turn up and sit down. For livestreaming, you need to consider cameras, lighting, computer equipment – and most churches won’t have had a budget for livestreaming when this all started!
As we are now almost a year into this new horizon, churches are buying new equipment and learning new skills. While it is a financial investment, it’s also an investment in your church community. Many have found faith through connecting with churches online, and it is a great opportunity to reach out to people you may never have been able to touch before.