Reaching people with hope and good news is important now more than ever. When gathering in person isn’t possible, livestreaming opens up the possibility to reach people without barriers.
While you might be filled with questions, livestreaming is an option that is easier than you might think – even if you’ve never done it before! We’re going to walk you through three simple options that you can launch this week to provide authentic connection despite distance.
Tier One | Just a Pastor and His or Her Phone
You may have seen churches livestream services using a room full of equipment, leaving you intimidated by the cost and time associated. It can be a lot simpler than that while still creating an impact. If you want to get started right away, you might consider presenting a sermon in a personal way with just a pastor speaking directly to the audience. All you need to get started is a smart phone, Amplify Premium, and decent lighting.
- Order Your Tripod and Lighting from Amazon – Thanks to Amazon’s two-day shipping, you can quickly have all the equipment you need with less than fifty dollars. Here is one option for a simple piece of equipment that will hold your phone while providing you with professional quality lighting. Your congregation will enjoy a steady stream without shadows hiding your face.
- Identify the Right Location – If you can, set up in the sanctuary where the pastor usually delivers his or her sermon. People are familiar with the space and your background is likely cleared from distractions. If that’s not possible, no problem! Find a space in a home free of interference (dogs, kids, TV, etc.) and with a background that won’t distract the audience. Test it out by recording yourself in a few locations, watching it back to see which is the most conducive for your audience. Even ask a spouse or friend their thoughts on audio and visuals.
- Check Your Internet Connection – Many of us know how frustrating it can be to have the internet go out at the least opportune moment. If you’re going to stream from home especially, ensure your internet connection is strong enough to stream interruption free. Amplify requires a minimum 2.4 Mbps (internet speed), so be sure to check your specs.
- Where to Stream – Amplify offers a livestreaming service that allows you to easily broadcast through Roku, iOS, Android, and online. In addition, if you have multiple phones available you can stream live through social channels like Instagram and Facebook. If you stream on social, be sure to engage in discussion with anyone that comments.
- Make an Announcement – Send out an email a few days in advance letting your congregation know you’ll be livestreaming this Sunday. We want to remove any confusion as this may be a new process for them. Provide links on where they can watch it, as well as instructions on how to stream. Some of you might find it useful to include an FAQ to proactively address common concerns. In addition to email, send it out on all of your social channels, ensuring the most people possible are aware of the transition. Encourage your congregation to share the posts and spread the word.
- Announce it Again – We know people don’t always hear us the first time. Send out reminders throughout the week and an hour before the service to ensure people have their coffee ready and are prepared for the livestream.
Tier Two | Add in Music
This option allows you to add a musician to the mix in a way that’s approachable and still affordable. Instead of engaging the entire band (and coordinating all of their audio), ask one of your worship team members to lead with just their guitar or piano.
Take all the same steps mentioned above, but in addition:
- Order Audio Equipment (that will do your worship leader justice) – Since you’re adding a talented musician, we want to allow the congregation to join in worship without interruptions. A simple piece of audio equipment that connects to your phone will provide clear sound for your audience. If you have an iPhone 7 or newer models, you’ll need a converter for the traditional audio port. Something like this should do the trick.
- Send out the Lyrics – In your announcement emails, include the lyrics to your set so the congregation can join in from home. This nice touch allows individuals to be active participants, feeling even more connected.
Tier Three | Replicate Your Service Online
While still approachable, this level of streaming is the most robust as you set to replicate your Sunday service. Coordinating audio and visuals for a full band will require more advanced equipment, but we’ll walk you through the steps.
- Identify your Computer – We’re graduating from our phone and instead using a computer to stream the service. A PC or Mac will work and there’s likely no need to buy a new one, but do find the most reliable computer in your network (not the temperamental one you’ve had over ten years).
- Order Your Video Equipment – You may already have this equipment and if so, great! Those of you that don’t, you can use almost any digital camera as long as it connects with your computer. Here is an example. If your computer doesn’t have an HDMI port, you can get a USB converter on Amazon. Lastly, don’t forget a tripod to steadily stream your service.
- Order Your Audio Equipment – Microphones will be important here since you have multiple people talking and performing. It’s hard to stay focused on a livestream when the audio is muffled or background noise is excessive. Consider the number of band members you’ll have playing as well as your camera ports to ensure you have the right equipment for your stream. A mic that might work for your team can be found here. Again, make sure to check that it connects to your camera.
- Order Your Lighting – Lighting becomes more important as you add members to the stage. A simple lighting kit will increase the quality of your stream for your congregation. If you choose to add lighting, test out the placement of your lights, seeing the way they impact the video on screen.
- Test, Test, Test – Even if this isn’t your first time, we all know technology can have a mind of its own. Set up in your decided upon location and do a practice run-through. Playback your audio to make sure it’s coming through clearly. When playing back your video, check to see if you like the placement of the camera and microphones. Is the audio coming through clearly? Is everyone visible? Does the lighting work?
Remember, as you set out to start livestreaming your service what’s important is connecting with your congregation. It’s okay to keep it simple, giving yourself time to learn while asking your team for feedback.