[You’re reading a post in a series about live streaming church services. You might want to start at Part 1. Or don’t. I’m not your mom.]
Live church streaming is awesome, but like most newer technology, it’s over-hyped and over-recommended. Not every church needs to be streaming their services. Not every church needs a 144 square-foot screen or a long-throw HD projector. Not every church needs a dozen light bars and a smoke machine.
And yet, somehow, every church needs donuts and bad coffee, but I digress:
Streaming is not for every church, and I’d like to give you a few indicators so that you can determine if live streaming is for you.
1. You don’t already record your service audio.
My church has been streaming for over a year. We started recording our services decades ago. We switched to digital fifteen years ago, and we started our podcast so long ago that I can’t exactly remember. 2005, I think. Our tech progression has been slow, but steady. At this point in the game, digital audio recording and podcasting are so simple, with tutorials everywhere and serious cost reductions in the technology required, that if you’re not doing it, you shouldn’t try to leapfrog over into something else. So much is learned in the audio-only phase.
Besides, we’ve found that more people make use of our audio resources than our live stream. At least to this point.
2. You can’t afford to do it with excellence.
If you’re method of streaming, week in and week out, is to use an iPhone 4 with a video-out dongle–which I’m not even sure is possible–you’re not ready to do this. Seriously. You need to have the right equipment in order to do this. At the same time, though, you don’t need to buy a RED camera. We’ll get into what you need equipment-wise later, but this is not a shoe-string project. People will be watching this live stream on computers, tablets, phones with HD resolution. You’re standard definition stream is not going to cut it on any screen larger than a 4-inch phone.
If money is an issue preventing you from achieving excellence with a live stream, then maybe you should be budgeting to add streaming in six months or a year. Don’t rush it.
3. Be honest: Are your services worth sharing?
Though question to answer, especially if the honest answer is “no” and your pastor is the one pushing for live streaming. But–and this is key–as I said in the first post: people will visit you online before they visit you in person. If you’ve got a live stream set up, and they can see how lifeless and/or weird your church is, you’ve shot yourself in the foot. Of course, even if they don’t see that on the stream, they will when they walk in, which is why you should probably start livening up your church, but that’s a topic for a different website.
And those are three reasons for not setting up a live stream. There are probably others, and I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
But maybe you can’t think of anything beyond this: how did we set up our live stream?
We’ll talk about that next time.