Churches and houses of worship bring people together through the meeting of religion and community. It’s a place where people can find salvation during hard times. Historically, tradition and word-of-mouth have been the way churches have expanded their reach. Today, modern technologies have created new options for getting church services out to those who need them and cannot attend a service in person. Live streaming services have brought the new potential to church and other religious services.
As the world moves to social isolation and governments are asking people to social distance, one of the biggest hits will be churches around the world. As COVID-19 continues to spread, people cannot gather in large groups during this time of need, resulting in no church services.
But, it’s possible still to have a church gathering through live streaming solutions. A live stream church service lets pastors stream their sermon remotely to people around the world without anyone leaving the safety of their own home. In this article, we’ll share how churches can use online streaming platforms to learn how to live stream church service.
What we’ll share in this article:
- Live Streaming Solutions for Churches
- Benefits of Live Streaming Solutions
- How to Live Stream Your Church Services
- Platform Solutions for Live Streaming for Churches
- Final Thoughts
Live Streaming Solution for Churches
We’re reviewing and ranking seven popular streaming services that ministers and pastors can utilize to stream Sunday services. We’re basing our comparison of live streaming for churches on the features of each online streaming platform.
It’s a Solution, Not a Service.
It’s important to note that these platforms are not platforms where you can view live streams of church services. These platforms are hosting platforms for those looking for ways to stream their church’s service to their congregation remotely. Churches are currently facing the problem of not being able to have an in-person sermon. These platforms are the solution to that problem. This guide to solutions and platforms available will allow churches to live stream their services around the world during this time of need and after too.
Benefits of Live Streaming Solutions
Broadcasting a religious service offers many benefits for churches like yours. When you live stream a church service, you have the ability to:
- Reach members during emergency pandemics like COVID-19, which we’re currently experiencing.
- Allow members who are sick or injured, too old to make it in person, or have a disability that makes it difficult to travel to watch your service.
- Live streams help members who are traveling and want to continue to participate in their own faith community.
- Extend your reach beyond your local community and help people to connect with one another.
- Create a live stream of your sermon or broadcast a private event for members of your congregation who cannot attend.
- Record your live streams and make them available as video on demand. This is also a great way to lock in the experience of each event forever. It allows people who missed the live event to watch it later on their own time.
How to Live Stream Your Church Services
We’ve created this step-by-step how-to guide on the live streaming of church services. While it may seem overwhelming to figure out how to get your Sunday service online quickly, we’re here to help you. Please follow this how to live stream your church service to set everything up correctly.
- Start with a road map of where you are now and where you want to be. Take note if you already have video equipment available and what type of new equipment you’d like to invest in.
- Consider where you want to stream your sermon. This will determine the platform you end up using to live stream the church service.
- Use a video encoder. An encoder takes your video signal and compressing it into a stream of data that can be sent over the internet. There are pieces of software that you can use for encoding, but for the best quality, use dedicated encoding hardware.
- Ensure that your internet connection is fast enough to stream. You can get a dedicated internet connection for your stream.
- Work on your lighting. When you work on your lighting within the church, your live stream will have a better quality picture for those watching.
- Choose a camera based on workflow requirements. Set up your camera with the view you want people tuning in to see.
- Use a separate mix for your audio live stream by using an Aux mix output. Then you can mix it remotely for a better audio feed.
- Ensure you have the licenses that allow you to stream the copyrighted music that you’re streaming.
- Pick the live streaming platform that’s right for your church.
- Create your account, set up your stream, practice streaming it and then hit go on Sunday morning.
Here is a series of videos dedicated to live streaming your church services.
7 Platform Solutions to Live Stream Your Church Services
With that information, it’s time to compare the best qualified live streaming platforms churches should consider. First up, we’ll take a look at our own online video platform.
- Starter Plan: $19/month (includes 100 GB of bandwidth & 20 GB of storage)
- Premium Plan: $125/month* (includes 2,000 GB of bandwidth & 200 GB of storage)
- Enterprise Plan: $289/month (includes 5,000 GB of bandwidth & 500 GB of storage)
For more details, please visit our pricing page.
Features: *All plans include
- Content delivery network (CDN) powered by Akamai
- Live streaming, video on demand (VoD) packages and playlists
- 100% white label (ad-free) with customization tools
- Compatible with social media platforms and mobile devices
- Secure video upload
- A video analytics dashboard
- Live recording
- 24/7 customer support
Set at a competitive price point, the Dacast streaming platform offers a feature-rich and comprehensive solution for small to larger congregations. Smaller churches with smaller bandwidth needs may prefer the Starter Plan ($19/month). It includes the same great features as larger churches on the Premium Plan. Also, note that not all OVPs offer such a starter or basic plan at lower rates.
Additionally, Dacast makes it easy to learn, test, set up and start streaming, which is helpful for first-time broadcasters. Our OVP offers full video API access and monetization tools with secure video upload capabilities as well. With these features, you can charge viewers through pay-per-view streaming or subscription-based payments to raise money or to cover special event costs.
All Dacast plans include access to Akamai, the largest CDN in the world. With Akamai, your viewers can watch your stream from all over the world by connecting a server closest to them. The Akamai CDN powers some of the largest companies, including Air BnB and Charles Schwab. This top-tier CDN automatically switches servers when one server becomes congested with traffic, meaning that viewer surges won’t compromise your video quality.
- Basic Plan $79/month
- Premium Plan $127/month
After accessing the one-month free trial, all plans include a one time $79 activation fee and unlimited bandwidth (except for 24/7 broadcast ministries).
- Live streaming of your event
- Facebook and Twitter compatible
- Mobile device and Roku compatible
- Moderated Chat
- Map of who’s attending
- Integrated sermon notes
Note that Video-on-demand (VOD), Ultra HD streaming, adaptive bitrate, and simulated live service features are available only on the Premium plan.
Streamingchurch.tv promotes many “church-specific” features, including sermon notes and a map of church attendees simulating a live service. The Map feature shows everyone in attendance and also groups them into a moderated chat, where individuals can discuss aspects of the live stream church service sermon. The Integrated Sermon Notes let you follow along as the sermon takes place, ensuring you don’t miss a moment.
Streamingchurch.tv does offer both live and VOD streaming (only for premium plans). In addition, this OVP offers embedding options to stream live video. One significant drawback for some congregations is that Streamingchurch.tv does not stream content over a CDN. This can lead to poor video quality when there is a large congregation of viewers watching your broadcast.
- The first plan is $49/month (includes 250 GB of bandwidth & 100 GB of storage)
- The second plan is $79/month (includes 1,000 GB of bandwidth & 300 GB of storage)
- Embed on your website
- Phone and email support
- Facebook and Twitter compatible
- Broadcast 24/7
- Mobile compatibility and customizable phone apps
- Analytics dashboards
Sunday Streams is another option among live streaming solutions devoted to churches and sermon. Their set of features includes the most basic features offered by an online video platform, such as a fully adaptive player and Google Analytics integration to access real-time analytics.
Sunday Streams has a good reputation for responding within 24 hours of a customer reaching out for support via email. However, if you want the guarantee of 24/7 customer support, you’ll want to consider other live streaming platforms for live streaming of church services. This option does offer a 90-day money-back guarantee, which you can learn more about here.
The greatest strength of Sunday Streams is its simplicity and ability to reach novice broadcasters.
- $15/month for 35 simultaneous viewers per live event and 1.5MB maximum video bitrate
- $35/month for 50 simultaneous viewers per live event and 2.5MB maximum video bitrate
- $59/month for 200 simultaneous viewers per live event and 4.5MB maximum video bitrate
- $15/month Plan:
- 24/7 streaming
- Roku compatible
- Online Bible integration
- Social media integration
- With the $35/month plan you will also get access to:
- 50GB of storage
- Compatible with Roku
- Live site/online campus webpage
- Email support
- $59/month Plan (includes all previous features plus):
- 100 GB of storage
- Social Media direct sharing
- Live Recording
- Phone support
- $199/month Plan (includes all previous features plus):
- unlimited storage
- adaptive live transcoding
- 50 concurrent live viewers (per event)
ChristianWorldMedia offers relatively affordable pricing and a lot of flexibility, making it a good option to consider for smaller churches and congregations. With three different pricing options below $60/month, even small religious communities can afford live streaming of church services with this platform. The online Bible integration feature can be very useful as well.
However, you’ll need to verify before committing to this option that low viewer and video quality limits won’t be an issue for your live stream church service.
TruthCasting tiers its pricing around the number of congregation members, or on the average weekly on-site attendance.
- Churches under 100 members: $25/month
- 101-500 members: $50/month
- 501-1000 members: $75/month
- 1001-2000 members: $100/month
- 2001-3000 members: $200/month
- Over 3,000 members: Custom Pricing
- Unlimited bandwidth and storage
- Embed code to stream live video on your website
- Phone support
- Live recording
- Compatible with all platforms, including iPhones and iPads
In terms of live streaming solutions for churches, TruthCasting offers many features for live streaming all of your church-related events. As shown above, the pricing stems from how many members you have on-site, rather than the features you need. No matter how many members, as long as you do not exceed your number limit, you have access to all of TruthCasting’s available features.
However, this OVP does offer good quality support. In addition, they host their services with Amazon’s Web Services. If you have questions about their CDN, check out our live streaming cdn comparison.
- $49/month (Starter plan): 250GB of bandwidth and 100GB of storage
- $79/month (Plus plan, targeted HD broadcasting): 1000GB of bandwidth and 300GB of storage
- Mobile compatibility
- Social network integration
- Live Recording
In reality, MyChurchWebsite is a high-end website design company for churches. In addition, this platform offers live streaming for churches. For example, one of their specialties is offering customizable mobile apps for your church. Once you purchase them, you can display these apps in iTunes and Google Play. This is available for an additional $290, and iTunes and Google Play must approve your app.
Like Streamingchurch.tv, MyChurchWebsite does not offer any partnership with a top-tier CDN. It also doesn’t offer 24/7 support. These are important factors to consider, as you’ll have no ability to reach out for support outside of business hours in the case of buffering or other issues.
7. Vimeo (Livestream)
- Premium Plan: $75 / month (billed annually, $199/month billed month-to-month)
- Enterprise Plan: starting at $999/month, business-focused
- Premium (*no longer offers a Basic plan as of 2020):
- Live embedding
- Live chat with moderation
- Plays on Facebook & Twitter
- Tracking & analytics
- Telephone customer support
- Studio – Live production switcher
- Enterprise (includes basic features plus the following):
- White labeling
- Unlimited channels
- Password protected events
- Embeddable player
- Advertising + monetization
As you may know, Vimeo is another live streaming solution available to churches and other places of worship. Vimeo targets those with larger budgets, offering high-end features and customization options for churches that are willing and able to pay. The price point and limited plan options, however, don’t make it ideal for most churches.
First of all, after Vimeo acquired Livestream in 2017, the platform eliminated its Basic Plan offering. If you want to embed your live stream church service onto your own website, you need to consider the Premium plan. However, that plan starts at $199 per month (billed month-to-month). In other words, the Vimeo platform is likely inaccessible for the average church or religious organization.
Vimeo does offer streaming over a CDN, which is important for large-scale broadcasts streaming around the world. A global CDN can provide quality live streaming for churches to large audiences viewing the broadcast simultaneously.
There are a lot of great options for live streaming for churches. The 7 platforms we’ve discussed are the ones to consider using for live streaming of your church service. Consider membership costs, equipment needed, technical support available to determine which platform offers a solution to your problem.
In addition, pay close attention to the live streaming CDN when making your OVP decision. A good quality CDN (like Akamai) helps to ensure the best live stream church service. We know from experience that 24/7 customer support is essential. In particular, this is key for live events during the weekend like your Sunday service and after business hours.
Finally, we recommend taking advantage of the free trials offered by most live streaming solutions! These are great options to help figure out which platform is right for your church. If you’d like to give Dacast a try, you can start now with our 30-day free trial (no credit card required). Among other benefits to the Dacast platform, we offer high-end features (e.g. video hosting) at affordable rates. Whatever your goals, we’re here to help you find the right plan for your church’s needs and budget. Just click the button below to start streaming live with Dacast!
For regular tips on live streaming, you’re also invited to join our LinkedIn group.