Updated May 18, 2020.
With current government restrictions on large gatherings, many churches are choosing to broadcast their worship services online for members to view at home. This article is intended to help your church go online if you do not currently have an online broadcasting platform. There are many options out there, some free and some paid. We will be showing you how to use the Facebook Live platform, which is free and easy to learn.
- High speed internet access (i.e. cable internet, 4G cellular data)
- Mobile device with a camera
- Facebook app
Facebook Live is a great tool if most of your church members are already on Facebook. It allows live streaming and commenting. It also keeps track of users who are connected to the live stream. In order to view the live stream, church members must sign up for a free Facebook account and watch it from the web browser or from the Facebook app on their phone. The Facebook app can be downloaded from the Apple Store or the Google Play Store.
Setting Up Facebook Live
1. Sign into your Facebook app with your Facebook ID on your mobile device and click on the menu icon the bottom right of the app (or top right, depending on your device). When the menu appears, click on “Your Pages”.
2. If you don’t already have a church Facebook page, click on “+ Create”. Fill in your church information to create your church Facebook page. (Note: You can also create a church Facebook page from your desktop or laptop computer by going to https://www.facebook.com/pages/create/?ref_type=hc.)
3. Next, select your church page from the list.
4. Underneath “Create a post”, click on the Live icon. This will bring up your camera.
5. Type in a description, and click the blue or “Start Live Video” button when you are ready to broadcast. We recommend using the landscape camera orientation for the benefit of members watching on desktop and laptop computers. Note: once recording has started, you cannot change the orientation of the camera.
Tips for a Successful Event
- Do an experimental run before the actual live event to troubleshoot potential problems.
- Let church members know ahead of time when the live video stream will start.
- Invite church members to “like” your church’s Facebook page, so they can see the notification when your video stream goes live.
- Use a tripod or camera stabilizer, so you can have a more stable video stream.
- Consider having an online giving option through a provider such as LifeWay Generosity.
- If you play music on the stream, make sure you have copyright clearance. From Facebook’s help page: “Use of commercial music without appropriate clearances could result in the stream being removed from Facebook. This can happen accidentally if your stream includes background music.”
Watch a demo from Bobby Gilstrap at East Newton Baptist Church, GA
Note: Bobby Gilstrap uses the Facebook Pages Manager app to broadcast the video. The instructions above uses the regular Facebook app.
Alternatives to Facebook Live
Another free alternative is YouTube Live. This option requires a YouTube account with over 1000 subscribers. Read this article for more information on YouTube Live. If you prefer not to use social media, you can always prerecord the worship service and post it on your church’s website.
If you have any questions, please call or email Na Herr at the MWBC office.
- Office Phone: 507-282-3636
- Cell Phone: 612-293-6471
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org