When churches first started livestreaming, church leaders had a lot of:
“If people don’t have to leave home to enjoy the service, will they ever come to church?”
“How will people build meaningful church relationships if they livestream our sermons?”
Yet livestreaming has become a major trend among growing churches. In 2015 alone, Livestream (a live video platform) reported that 3,000 houses of worship in 57 countries used their platform to broadcast 121,026 services, ceremonies, and meetings.
That’s a lot of livestreaming in the church.
Let’s take a look at the reasons churches around the world are choosing to livestream their services.
1. Members can participate even when they can’t attend
There are plenty of valid reasons why dedicated members of your church might not be able to join you on Sunday:
- Sometimes kids get sick, and that means someone else has to stay home to take care of them.
- People go on vacation, and it’s not always possible or practical to plan a big trip around a church service.
- For families with new babies, it takes a while to make church part of their routine again.
- Health problems can make attendance difficult.
With livestreaming, you don’t have to worry about people missing integral parts of a sermon series or struggling to contribute in a small group that revolves around Sunday’s message. No one has to miss out on the launch of a new outreach or announcements about upcoming events. When you stream your service, fewer people will miss out on the things your church is doing.
Livestreaming gives members who must be away a chance to stay on the same page as everyone who attends in person.
2. Potential church visitors can discover you
Livestreaming turns every sermon into an opportunity for new people to encounter your church online. When someone in your community considers attending your church, your website is going to be their first stop. Livestreaming a service lets those potential visitors tune in and experience your worship and teaching. This helps them know what to expect when they show up in person next Sunday.
Plus, you and your staff can share the link on social media every weekend. This is a valuable reminder for church members who can’t show up, and it also puts your message in front of people who may never experience your church otherwise. As members like and share your post, more of their friends will see your sermon. (Pro tip: when you post the link online, include a clear sermon description.)
Livestreaming increases exposure to your church’s message—both for people who are intentionally looking for you and those who stumble on your service online.
3. Members can stay connected when they move away
A variety of circumstances can cause church members to move to a different town (or even country):
- Youth group members go to school in another state.
- College students study abroad for a year.
- Work takes businesspeople out of town for months at a time.
- Mission trips take members to other countries for months or years at a time.
Your church is still part of their home—and livestreaming can help them stay connected to your community. Offering recorded sermons online lets them stay rooted in your teaching, but with livestreaming, the service is unfolding in real-time, and out-of-towners get to experience that just like everyone else.
It’s the difference between watching and participating. The worship, the prayers, the unveiling of carefully-prepared teaching, and new church endeavors—live viewers get to join you for it all. If you don’t offer livestreaming, your long-distance members are missing all of it.
For members who make permanent moves, it’s not easy to find a new church, and choosing one isn’t a task they should take lightly. Offering livestreaming lets God continue to use your church while they find a new one they can physically participate in.
4. Livestreaming lets you share important events
Big events deserve to be shared. When friends and family can’t fly in to see baptisms, new member ceremonies, baby dedications, or ordinations, livestreaming lets them celebrate with you. Being able to watch it in real time is the next best thing to being there.
Your church plays a big role in the lives of your members, and this helps them share that with the people they love.
5. Livestreaming amplifies your outreach events
Guest speakers, concerts, and other special events draw bigger-than-usual crowds, and they’re often easier to invite people to than a typical Sunday service. Livestreaming increases visibility on these public outreaches, so you can engage more people.
If your church hosts events people are talking about, it’s worth making them events people can easily share. It’s easy to get your congregation to share a link to an event, and watching a video online is a much smaller commitment than showing up in person.
As you encourage your congregation to invite people, remind them that they can share the link to your livestream on social media. You could also add the link to your event invitations to make your livestream even more accessible.
6. Livestreaming helps multi-campus churches thrive
If you have a multi-campus church, livestreaming allows all your campuses to draw from the same service. This can be a great way to share valuable resources like preaching pastors and worship leaders with church plants, ensuring that your limited volunteers and staff are making the biggest impact possible.
If they have the staff, they might not have to stream the entire service—you might just want to share the sermon or the worship across campuses.
The impact of livestreaming
Livestreaming makes your church more accessible to church members and visitors alike. It gives you convenient ways to reach new people. And ultimately, it can increase the impact of your message. Is it time for your church to go live?