Your Guide to the Best Church Live Streaming Equipment

Church Live Streaming Equipment

With the worldwide reach of the internet, ministries are no longer limited to their local reach when seeking new members. Instead, many are turning to expand their outreach by live streaming services and events.

Although COVID-19 has accelerated the plans of many churches to begin a live streaming program, it’s a valuable option for congregations to consider even when they can throw open their doors to in-person worshippers.

In this article, we’ll tell you why your congregation should consider live streaming church services and give you information on some of the basic equipment — hardware and software — that you’ll need to get started. Let’s begin:

Table of Contents

  • Why Live Stream Church Services
  • Equipment Needed for Live Streaming Church Services
  • What to Look for in Live Streaming Software
  • Conclusion

Why Live Stream Church Services

Making the choice to live stream your church services, either in a conscious effort to expand your congregation’s reach or out of some sort of logistical necessity, can provide your church with a variety of benefits

Some of those include:

  • Bring in new worshippers
  • Maintain your current congregation
  • Be prepared for emergencies
  • Bring in far-flung guest speakers
  • Improve your donation income

Let’s take a look at each of these reasons in a little more detail:

Bring in New Worshippers

church live streaming solution
Live streaming your church services gives you a worldwide congregation instead of just a local one.

Hosting bring-a-friend services and advertising all have their place, but their effect is only going to go as far as your congregation’s physical sphere of influence. After a certain radius around your church, your ability to find new people is going to diminish greatly.

When you live stream your services, however, your ability to reach new people is only limited by their ability to find you online.

People from all over the world can find your church’s social media profiles and your website and, if you’re live streaming services, they can watch. And once they’re watching your services, they’re more likely to return for future services and become loyal watchers if they like what they see.

In addition, you can still leverage your current congregation to become your fiercest promoters when you broadcast your church services online.

Posting links to the live stream on your social media channels and encouraging your worshippers to share those posts with their followers can bring in people who otherwise wouldn’t have joined. These shares become even more powerful if your worshippers share that they’re featured in the service, or if they pull something meaningful from the message.

The expansion in your congregation can be greater, and come at less time and resource investment, than hosting traditional, in-person membership drives.

Maintain Current Congregation

Similar to expanding your congregation, live streaming your services can help you maintain people from your current congregation whose attendance may otherwise fall off.

People’s church service attendance stalls or stops entirely for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Age preventing them from getting to church
  • Illness or threat of illness
  • Transportation issues
  • Scheduling conflicts
  • Childcare concerns
  • Relocating permanently

In many of these instances, your church would see its attendance numbers and participation decrease. For those with even temporary barriers to attending in-person services, getting them back into your church building may be a difficult task.

If these congregants can, instead, watch your service live from the comfort of their homes or view a recording when they are able, you maintain their participation in your congregation and keep them engaged even from afar.

Be Prepared

Virtual Church Attendance
Emergency-proof your worship services by putting in place a virtual attendance infrastructure to live stream when you need it.

As the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent closure of many churches for in-person worship showed, the ability to hold services can turn on a dime.

Situations such as building renovations, non-working utilities, and flooding can all make it difficult for your congregation to meet in-person, leaving you and your team scrambling to find an alternate location.

If you’re already live streaming your services, or at least are prepared with the right tools and equipment to live stream, you can quickly adapt your services temporarily. This allows you to continue to host services with as little interruption to the normal routine as necessary, giving your congregation that feeling of connection and comfort in what may be otherwise uncertain times.

Bring in Far-Flung Guest Speakers

live stream your church's virtual guests

Guest speakers bring new energy to your church services, but getting them to come to speak can be a hassle.

Travel arrangements, places to stay, and scheduling can make finding new, interesting guest speakers difficult.

If you’re live streaming your church services, however, getting a new guest speaker is as simple as having them record their message and play it back, or video conference into your live stream. 

This allows you to bring in speakers from all across the world, even ones who are prominent and in-demand in your church community, without having to spend months planning and preparing for their visits. Your congregation benefits from hearing new voices and perspectives and the exciting guest speakers can help you bring in new people who otherwise wouldn’t attend your services.

Improve Donation Income

 

church streaming monetization
With a monetization paywall, you can keep donation income steady even when worshippers aren’t physically in your church building.

As much as you may not want to think about it, donations are important to everything your church does. They pay salaries, keep operations running, and allow you to plan outreach efforts for causes important to your congregation.

When you see dips in your attendance, that often also brings with it a dip in donation revenue. If the dip in donations lasts too long, it can have serious consequences for the financial future of your church.

Live streaming your services not only keeps your current attendees engaged when they’re unable to be with you in person, but it also allows you to collect donations from worshippers all over the world.

Equipment Needed for Live Streaming Church Services

To live stream your church services, you will need to invest in some equipment and tools to make streaming easier and give your recordings a more polished, professional appearance.

While you could simply use someone’s smartphone and stream using a free platform such as Facebook Live, there are limits to the quality and length of service you can stream with this method. To give your worshippers the feeling that they’re in a church with you, you’ll need to invest in some equipment, including:

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Video switcher
  • Live streaming platform

There are wide ranges in price points and complexity for each of these items, so you could begin your live streaming journey with something less expensive. As you get more experienced and knowledgeable, spend a little more money to upgrade your equipment.

1. Camera

Camera to Live Stream Your Church Service
Larger or small, there’s a video camera that suits every budget to live stream your church service.

Cameras are suitable for live streaming range from lightweight and easy-to-use to bulky and feature-rich. The camera you select for your streaming church services is going to depend greatly on what you need it to do.

If You’re on a Budget

Beginner video cameras can produce decent video quality, but you may have to compensate by ensuring optimal lighting conditions. These cameras are more lightweight and less expensive, but they don’t offer as much control over your shot as a more expensive camera.

If You’ve Got a Little to Spend

Middle-grade video cameras offer better picture quality and more control over your shot, but they will cost more than a beginner camera. These cameras can tend to be a bit bulkier, so they may not be ideal if you plan to do a lot of moving while recording.

If You’re Ready to Invest

Professional video cameras can come with hefty price tags, but they offer the best in video quality and manual controls. Some may even allow for interchangeable lenses, giving you even greater control over your shots.

2. Video Mixer

live streaming mixing equipment
Effortlessly switch between cameras, audio inputs, and other media with the right video mixer.

If you’re planning to switch your live stream between cameras, patch in people who are video chatting into your service or play pre-recorded footage, you will need a video mixer.

A video mixer allows you to select audio and video sources so you can show footage from multiple cameras, display graphics, or play other video footage during your live stream.

A budget video mixer will give you a few different HDMI input options so you can mix from a few different sources, but as your confidence with live streaming services increases and you add in more complex elements, you likely will need to upgrade to a more expensive option that offers multiple mixing inputs.

If You’re on a Budget

Most budget video mixers work well with smartphones and tablets for live streaming, meaning you get fewer input options than higher-priced pieces. If you’re really counting your pennies, a lower-tier mixer paired with something you’ve already got in your pocket — your smartphone — will get the job done.

If You’ve Got a Little to Spend

Spending a little more money on your mixer, and on your camera, to get more input and mixing options to improve your live streams.

If You’re Ready to Invest

Multi-camera streaming and picture-in-picture capability are essential when live streaming a church service in a large space. Spending some extra cash to get these options will take your services to the next level.

3. Tripod

For most live streaming church services, the camera will be held in one place for the majority of the time. Rather than requiring someone to stand in one place, holding a camera, a tripod is an essential investment for hassle-free, steady shots.

Although there are low-dollar and high-dollar tripods, as long as you find one that does what you need it to without a lot of frustration, you don’t have to spend a ton.

Look for something that’s durable and has a more fluid drag head, allowing you to tilt and pan without causing your shot to look jerky. Its legs should telescope in and out fluidly, so you don’t have to deal with individual legs getting stuck when you need to adjust a shot.

If You’re on a Budget

A mini or light tripod with light load capacity will work fine for most uses. 

If You’ve Got a Little to Spend

Tabletop tripods are a little more spendy and can take some more weight, but you’ll still get excellent stability if you’re ready to pay a little more money.

If You’re Ready to Invest

For a little more money, you can get a larger tripod that will work for both up-close and wider shots.

4. Live Streaming Platform

live streaming platform for churches
A live streaming platform allows your congregation to host videos and broadcast church services online.

Now that you’ve gotten all the hardware taken care of, you need to choose streaming software that allows you to stream your services online. 

Options in live streaming software range from free to enterprise-level, with each option offering slightly more functionality and features to your streaming.

If You’re on a Budget

Free live streaming platforms such as Facebook Live, YouTube, and Periscope mean you’re not putting out any money to broadcast your services.

However, these platforms also limit the amount of time you’re able to stream your services, they don’t come with the capability to record services for later use, and the platform ends up owning control over your content.

If You’re Ready to Invest

Selecting a professional live streaming platform brings with it a wealth of benefits, including:

  • Simulcasting, meaning you can record and live stream at the same time
  • Video hosting for pre-recorded live streams and other video content
  • Monetization options if you elect to offer paid video series
  • You maintain ownership and control over your content
  • Embed your video streams into your own website while maintaining your church branding
  • Advanced analytics so you can track who is viewing your videos

Price ranges for professional live streaming software vary widely, so give careful consideration to the features you need and those you don’t when choosing your live streaming software.

What to Look for in Live Streaming Software

All live streaming software is a little bit different, offering various storage capacities, professional tools, and security features.

Here are some important things to look for when selecting live streaming software for church services:

Live Stream Recording

Live Stream Recording for audio and video
Let your services do double-duty by recording them as your live streaming.

Being able to live stream your services and special events such as Christmas church programs is great, but only offering this content live means you miss out on the potential to capture more viewers if this content is recorded.

The best live streaming platforms will allow you to simultaneously live stream and record that content for later. The pre-recorded content can be shared as-is to allow people to replay it, or you can utilize it in snippets to integrate into other content.

Video Hosting

paywall for live streaming

Live streaming your services is a great start to creating a library of content your worshippers can view on their own time. And for them to be able to access that content, you must be able to organize and store it somewhere.

A professional live streaming platform offers video hosting, giving you the ability to store and share all manner of content. You can create playlists of related content, giving your congregation a ready-made library of sermons, lessons, and other videos for their own study.

Video Monetization

While making money off your live streams may not be your first goal, that doesn’t mean you have to completely put aside the opportunity to bring in some money for your church.

The right live streaming platform allows you to select how you choose to monetize your videos, including giving you the ability to make certain live streams free while others are paid. Hosting special courses that require a lot of time and resources to prepare, for example, can become something you charge for and, as a result, allow you to bring in more money for your ministry so you can continue to do the important work you do.

Conclusion

Why Are Churches Live Streaming
Allow your congregation to worship with you no matter where they are by live streaming your services online.

Live streaming your church services is a great opportunity to maintain the engagement of your current congregation, expand your reach, and be prepared for unforeseen circumstances that can interrupt in-person worship. With some preparation and the right equipment, you can give your worshippers a high-quality live streamed church service experience while delivering the message you want them to hear.

As one of the industry’s leading live streaming platforms, Dacast has everything your team needs to create professional, polished live streamed church services so your congregation can worship at home. 

Ready to see how Dacast can make live streaming your church services easier? Try it free for 30 days. No credit card information is required, and you won’t be obligated to pay any hefty start-up fees or sign a contract.

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Any questions? Let us know by leaving a comment below! We have experience with most kinds of live video streaming equipment, and we can help you with any recommendations you may need. For exclusive offers and regular live streaming tips, join our LinkedIn group.

Thanks for reading and happy streaming!

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