For many churches, not being able to meet in person has been a big adjustment, and yet now that they are adapting to gathering differently, many churches are finding they are able to reach people remotely in ways they would not have been able to otherwise. If your church has not embraced live social media for streaming yet, why not consider it?
Even if the experience is not exactly the same, technology is allowing churches to share God’s love with people who have never entered one of their buildings. People are already on social media. It’s interactive, it builds community, and it’s a great way to reach younger generations. People can comment, ask questions, or share prayer requests during the livestream (if they are logged in and watching on a device other than a TV).
Your church can use livestreaming technology in a variety of ways, including:
- Your services
- Live announcements
- Prayer nights
- Missionary updates
- Bible studies or classes
- Panel discussions
- Q&A with the pastors, staff, or elders
So should your church stream using Instagram Live, Facebook Live, or YouTube Live? Or something else? Well, that depends on what you choose to use livestreaming for, how you would use it, and where your audience already is. In some cases, you may use different options for different scenarios. Aplos wants to make church management as easy as possible for you, so here are some points of interest and things to consider when deciding what’s right for your church.
Streaming Live to Your Church Using Social Media
- People must have an Instagram account to watch your livestream.
- Your account needs to be public, or they must follow you in order to watch.
- People cannot watch your livestream on a computer, even if they download the app. They will need to use a phone or tablet to view it, or mirror it to their TV.
- When your live video is over, you have the option to share a replay of it on IGTV, effectively archiving it on your account. You also have the option of downloading your live video and saving it to your camera roll.
- You can go live for a maximum of 1 hour. Instagram Live will automatically stop your livestream at the 1-hour mark. You can start a new one immediately afterward, but everyone will have to rejoin.
- You can set it up to automatically filter inappropriate comments, as well as words, phrases, and emojis of your choice, or you can turn off commenting altogether.
- People do not need a Facebook account to watch your livestream if your page is public.
- People can watch your livestream on a computer, phone, or tablet, or they can mirror it to their TV.
- You can go live for up to 4 hours using the Facebook app or 8 hours using Live Producer.
- Your video will be published to your timeline saying you were live, but you can choose to remove it anytime.
- You can set the security level of who is allowed to comment as well as the time between comments. You can also delete comments and block specific users from commenting, but you can not turn commenting off.
- If you want to schedule “live” broadcasts in advance, you can do that with Live Producer.
- People do not need a YouTube account to watch your livestream.
- People can watch your livestream on a computer, phone, tablet, or on their internet-connected TV through a pre-installed app, or by using Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, Xbox One, Playstation, or a wireless-enabled Blu-Ray player.
- You can go live for 4 hours (at 4k) all the way up to 12, depending on the type of video conversion you use. But if you want to have the option to edit your video internally through YouTube, it needs to be under 3 hours.
- Your video can automatically be archived on your channel if you enable the option in your settings and it meets the length requirements.
- You can automatically block comments with keywords you choose, hide inappropriate comments, limit the frequency of people commenting, or allow YouTube to place a hold on questionable comments so you can review them later. You can also disable commenting at any time, even while you’re still recording.
- You’ll need 1,000 or more subscribers to livestream on mobile, but you can still use a webcam or encoder if you have fewer subscribers.
- Before livestreaming, you will need to request approval for your channel. Approval may take up to 24 hours, but once your channel is approved, you can start livestreaming immediately.
Hopefully this helps you decide what social media livestreams are right for your church.
A few more things to keep in mind before going live:
- Confirm that you have a good internet connection.
- Make sure your video is in focus and steady.
- Check that you have good lighting and sound quality.
- Follow all copyright laws, and have the right CCLI license for streaming worship music.
Have any additional tips for churches using live social media for streaming? Let us know in the comments below.