For many people, Christmas and Christmas Eve church services are high on the list of meaningful traditions of the season. Even though most churchgoers would like to be able to attend their own church’s holiday service, sometimes it’s just not possible to be there physically. But that doesn’t mean they have to miss out on the occasion.
Churches that are willing to live stream their Christmas services not only ensure that all their congregants can enjoy the sermon and festivities, but also invite others outside the congregation to join in, expanding the church community. If live streaming could be wrapped up in a bow, we’d say it’s an excellent Christmas gift, for churches, congregants, and community members.
If your church is considering live streaming their Christmas service, we recommend carefully considering the questions below to make sure you’re fully prepared:
Christmas Live Streaming For Churches: Things To Consider
- Do you have access to the necessary equipment? You don’t need much to get started with live streaming, but you will need some basic audio and video equipment. If you’re not sure where to begin, take a look at this equipment checklist and this camera guide we created specifically for churches. Much of this equipment is available in varying price ranges, so you don’t have to break the bank.
Keep in mind that live streaming for churches is becoming more commonplace year-round. In fact, 30,000 Google searches each month relate to finding church services online, and churches that live stream consistently are seeing major benefits. The equipment you buy should be considered an investment in your church’s future that will continue on well after your initial Christmas service live stream.
- How will the logistics of your Christmas service impact your live stream? Sometimes Christmas services are more complex than regular church services because they may include caroling groups, short plays depicting the birth of Christ, candlelight musical performances, etc. Elements like these may require more thought to ensure good camera and microphone placement; you may also need additional microphones to capture the best sound possible. Work through these logistics well ahead of time to be sure you have all contingencies covered before services begin. There may even be dress rehearsals of these performances which would be a great opportunity to do a test run of your live stream as well.
Beyond buying equipment, do you need help getting your live stream up and running? Download this free guide for seven detailed, easy steps to follow.
- Can you find the right people to help? No tech department at your church? That’s not unusual—and it’s no reason to forego Christmas service live streaming! Most churches rely on tech-savvy volunteers who care about the ministry to help run the live stream—even if they don’t have much experience in the area. Plus, many churches have discovered that once they started live streaming, a number of young people stepped up to the plate to pitch in. All you need is one knowledgeable person who’s willing to get the ball rolling; from there, they can recruit others. (You might find it helpful to read how one live production director views recruiting at his church.) Additional outside help can also be found with the right live streaming platform provider (see below!).
- Do you have a platform to share your live stream? Before you can start live streaming, you need to decide how you plan to broadcast. In other words, what online platform will you use to share your live stream with the world? There are two kinds of live streaming platforms: social media networks like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook; and live streaming platform providers like Stretch (and many others).
Social media networks are no-cost platforms, but you’ll need to be confident in your own technical expertise since they provide little to no support. On the other hand, a good live streaming platform provider will add to the budget, but in return you’ll receive technical support, guidance on equipment and production techniques, and a custom portal designed specifically for your church—all of which will dramatically improve the quality of your live stream. Do your research before you choose, so you can make a more informed decision (and better allocate your resources!).
- Think about ways you can use the live stream to promote your church. More than half of all Americans plan to go to church at some point during the Christmas holiday. That’s a big jump from the 20% who attend church regularly, so it’s safe to assume your live stream might also be accessed by some folks who aren’t regulars. Plan opportunities during the live stream (prior to or after the service) to point first-timers to your website, talk about your mission statement and/or beliefs, and instruct people how they can get more information about your church, or connect with your church via a digital “connection card” on your website.
Want more information about live streaming for churches? We’d love to help!
Whether you’re only considering Christmas service live streaming or researching the idea of a longer-term streaming program, we’re happy to answer any questions you have about setup, equipment, or live streaming in general. Contact us anytime!