Updated on 15th July, 2022
About Live streaming for Churches
Live Streaming for Churches and houses of worship bring people together through religion and the faithful community. People find salvation, relief, and hope in their religion. With so many restrictions around the world, gatherings and spiritual reunions have been seriously affected.
The inability to attend our weekly services have made it difficult to connect with our communities. The only thing that people have left is their faith that all this will end soon.
Fortunately for the technology we have today, it has made this pandemic easier to handle. We can now be in contact with our loved ones and continue the lives we previously had online. Thanks to live streaming, the same applies to faith communities and houses of worship. Although we are no longer able to attend in-person services, we can still continue attending online.
Live streaming for Churches: Prep
Setting up live streaming on your website is pretty easy once you know the basics. There are four major components you need for any live streaming setup.
- Video and Audio – Including cameras, computers, and any other image source we discuss in the post. For Audio, we refer microphones, mixer feeds, and other sounds to be played in your stream.
- Video Encoder – This is a valuable piece of equipment we’ll dive into. It sends your video to the internet.
- A Streaming Destination – This is the video streaming platform you choose to stream your content to.
- Internet Connection – A stable internet connection is a must when you decide you want to broadcast video.
Your streaming setup includes your video solution to your encoder, setting up connections and video / audio settings, planning your stream, and establishing a connection between the encoder and the live streaming software solution. Once you’ve connected everything together, you’ll be able to hit ‘Start Streaming’ and others will be able to watch you live video in real time.
Now that the basics are covered, let’s dive into each of these major parts in more detail.
Live streaming for Churches: Equipment
Setting up a simple live stream is pretty straightforward and doesn’t require extra equipment and technical lingo. However, a lot of big churches have thousands of followers. Such churches will have a separate department that deals with the tech and logistical aspects of live streams and prefer an advanced set up.
If your church is big, or if you prefer to have a more advanced (yet affordable) set up, here are a few of our highly recommended tools and equipment with links to purchase:
While there are lots for video cameras out there, the most basic one is right in your pocket. It’s your smartphone! Whether you choose to broadcast from an Android or iOS (Apple) device, you can go live in less than 3 minutes.
If you want a serious camera, we recommend the Panasonic HC-VX981K for $797.99. It combines Ultra HD 4K video recording with in-camera 4K cropping and editing tools. The camcorder has advanced features including an HDR Movie Mode to retain more highlight and shadow information.
Interestingly, studies have shown that audio is more important in video streaming than video. This is because even if the video quality is low, the audio saves the whole process. If you push high quality video out without the right settings (bitrate, resolution, and internet connection), the live streaming video will stutter which can become frustrating. Therefore skimping on audio equipment is more dangerous than skimping on video.
Medium high quality ($30-$80)- USB and 3.5mm microphones, or built-in microphones on professional live video cameras. Alternatively, you can go for Professional Quality ($80-$100): XLR microphones
Encoders / Streaming Apps
Video encoding is the process of making video files smaller through compression. There are two types of encoders – hardware and software.
Hardware are physical devices or ‘encoders’ that are connected to your video streaming platform through RTMP. These are smaller, portable boxes or larger permanent fixtures. A few examples are Teradek Vidiu, Black Magic, and LiveU.
Software encoders or Streaming Apps include:
- vMix Video Streaming Software
- Wirecast Live Production Solutions
- OBS Studio Broadcasting Software
- VidBlasterX Video Production Software
Video Streaming Accessories
You’ll also need a variety of miscellaneous live streaming equipment. This will include cables, tripods, batteries, and like light stands.
These accessories will make your live streaming set up the best it can be for your business. As you start to live stream content, make a list of live streaming accessories that could help enhance the quality of your videos.
With every live streaming production, a tripod is the most important accessory. You don’t want a shaky video or your camera to fall off its make-shift tripod. A steady camera is essential for a quality live stream setup.
Content Delivery Networks (CDN)
Think of a CDN as a large network of servers spread all across the world. If you only had one server and wanted to access a live stream, the distance between you and that server would increase latency. But with a CDN in place, your device will connect to the closest possible server, thus reducing latency and making your viewing more pleasurable with little or no buffering.
We don’t recommend using consumer video platforms like YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter. They have a few downsides such as when workplaces and universities often block these platforms. Since they’re not white-label, the ability to scale isn’t accessible to all businesses.
The best CDN to choose is a streaming platform that is white label and also allows you to live stream on your own website, but does not slow down your website in turn.
Advantages of CDNs
Greater Speed – CDNs deliver low latency content directly to the server closest to your end user, drastically improving speed.
Improved Scalability – This is perhaps the biggest advantage to using a content delivery network. Since CDNs can easily scale, using one is the safest and fastest ways to provide thousands of users with content, without the risk of creating bottlenecks.
Due to the way they are built, CDNs can handle spikes in traffic as well as a huge increase of traffic for live events.
Better Quality – When you’re streaming through a content delivery network, you are able to provide your viewers with the best possible video & audio quality and resolution. This system also has another advantage – it limits latency and buffering, providing the viewer with a better overall user experience.
Extra Security – Apart from the advantages outlined above, CDNs also provide an extra layer of security for your website. By streaming through a CDN, DDoS attacks can be avoided by distributing the requests among all available servers. In this case, the CDN serves as a back-up for your original server.
Live Streaming for Churches
Now that you understand which tools and practices you need to prepare before going live, here are your options for livestreaming platforms.
There aren’t many services that let you create a respectable church live broadcast for no cost, and those that do have restrictions. However, a free option can be what you need if you are just getting started and cannot afford a reputable church live streaming service.
One of the best ways to engage your congregation in today’s busy environment is through church live streaming.
YouTube is the GO-TO solution for live streaming for churches. It is a simple platform to use and it is easy to set up on a desktop, phone, or camera.
- Accessible on all search engines
- Easy to set up
- Viewers may access it without creating an account.
- viewing statistics
- It’s free to use
- 4-hour live broadcasting limit
- Potential copyright issues for music
- Blocked by many institutions Ads distracting viewers
- No way to accept donations
With 78 percent of internet viewers turning in, live streaming with Facebook is certainly the most well-liked free live streaming option. Similar to YouTube, its popularity does not shield it from significant faults, either.
- Possibility of a large following
- Easy to assemble
- Free to use
- Search engines don’t display Facebook videos
- Possible music copyright issues
- not being able to take donations
- No analytics
As a faith-based organization, the quality of your live stream will determine how well your online worship session turns out. Even if you deliver the finest sermon, have the best church band, or have the most amazing community, you risk losing viewers if people can’t clearly see and hear you.
With StreamYard, you have more control over your live streams. You can edit how the player looks like and add themes and different features to it.
- Fully edit and customize your live stream
- Add your church logo
- Add a banner
- Schedule live streams
- You need another platform to embed the live stream
- May appear complicated to use at first
- Must purchase a streaming plan for high quality broadcasts
Restream’s main purpose is simulcasting or multistreaming and it does a great job at this feature. You can broadcast to multiple platforms at the same time and in turn, get a large audience. Follower may not all have Facebook or Twitter, however, chances are, they will atleast have access to one or the other. Moreover, live streaming on YouTube gives access to everyone, even without an account.
- Great tool for simulcasting
- Edit your player
- Powerful tools and features like metrics, video embed, and others.
- Must live stream to YouTube, Facebook, or other 3rd party platforms – Susceptible to deletion, take downs, and muting
- Must pay for RTMP set up
- Depending on where you are, unstable internet connexion to their servers, causing drop frames and lost packages
By far, Zoom is one of the most popular platforms for video conferencing. By getting one of their plans, you are able to use their RTMP feature to set a destination to different live streaming platforms.
- Supports Large Audiences
- Stream Your Meetings/Webinar on Facebook
- Google Calendar Support
- Easy to Use
- Too Many Subscriptions and Add-Ons for live streaming capabilities
- HD Video Is Not the Standard
- Inconsistent Cloud File Sizes
WpStream video streaming platform for churches and houses of faith on WordPress. With WpStream, you can live stream your sermons, record them, and later publish the recording as a Video On Demand. If you wish to monetize your live streams and Video On Demand, you can do this with either GiveWP or WooCommerce.
If you have a WordPress church website, WpStream is your solution since you can get almost all the above platforms have, plus, be able to have complete control over your live stream on your website, with no risk of take down or censorship due to music or other common complaints.
- Go live on your own website
- Easy to set up – you only need a phone or desktop to go live
- For big churches with multiple pastors and preacers, allow them to broadcast on your website without admin access
- Monetize your live streams via WooCommerce or GiveWP – set up Pay-Per-View or Subscription LIVE’S/VODs
- White label – Add your church’s logo and personality to the page with the live stream
- Works with StreamYard, Restream, and Zoom to elevate your live streaming experience
- Everything is stored on WpStream’s servers and does not slow down your website
- Needs a WordPress website
- After your free trial, you will need to purchase a subscription. Starts at $19 per month with access to all features
- Cannot simulcast without using Restream or StreamYard
Whichever platform you choose to live stream your sermons, make sure you do a good amount of research and use the pros and cons that we provided. This will help you pick out which one is important for you, and which one you could do without.
For full control and ownership over your live streams, we recommend going for WpStream as you do not need to use other 3rd Party Platforms, never worry about censorship, and you can monetize your LIVEs and VODs. Check out Live Streaming for Faith Communities and find out how you can use WpStream to go LIVE today.