These days churches need to be online. If your church has a website or a Facebook page, you’ve taken the first important step towards connecting with people in today’s culture. But what’s the next step?
A lot of people attend church remotely – that is, they still want to participate in the church service, but for numerous reasons are not able to physically be at church. What if there was a way for your church to have the sermon, or even the entire worship service, available online for viewing?
There are actually several options out there for putting your church services online – and some of them are even free. Here are five of Christian Media Magazine’s favorite tools getting church service videos out on the internet:
YouTube is one of the top video-viewing websites out there. It’s also the number two search engine (right behind Google). You can create an account and upload videos for free, and now your sermons, church services, and worship events have the potential to be found by millions of people. It’s also a simple matter to embed a YouTube video into a webpage. That means that if you put your sermons up on YouTube, you can get the embed code for the new video every week and change out the weekly video on your website, keeping your page looking fresh and current.
Vimeo is similar to YouTube in that it’s a popular, world-wide video hosting website. It’s also free to use at the basic level. Vimeo does not have ads, unlike YouTube. Also, Vimeo allows users to download videos. This can allow your church members to view downloaded videos even when they’re not connected to the internet.
Podcasts can be either video or audio-only. Podcast hosting is available through many different websites and applications. Podcasts are generally episodic releases, a perfect format for something like a weekly church service that releases new material on a regular basis. Users who subscribe to your podcast will receive each new episode in their preferred format, and can listen either online (streaming, while connected to the internet) or download the file to their computer or phone for later.
Videos on Facebook have seen a rise in popularity recently. Videos uploaded directly to Facebook will play automatically in a user’s newsfeed. This way, anyone who follows your church’s Facebook page will see the video begin to play, and will be more likely to stop and watch the entire thing. Also, like on YouTube, Facebook gives you the opportunity to be easily found by new people.
Facebook has also recently added a new video feature called Facebook Live. Using this app, you can livestream your church service on Facebook. This feature also allows people to join in and comment via Facebook, so if you’re having an event where you want audience participation or interaction, this is a great feature to include people who can’t be there in person.
Other streaming services
There are many other tools and services, some free, some paid, that can offer a variety of video broadcast options for your church. Tools like Periscope, ChurchStreaming.tv, SundayStreams, and more can give your church a way to reach people on their computers and smart phones, no matter where in the world they might be.
With so many resources available, there’s no reason why your church or ministry can’t be in on this new online video trend. Putting your services and events online, no matter how you chose to do it, is a powerful way to reach devoted church members and curious newcomers alike, at home and all around the world.