I am a small church pastor, as I’ve said in previous articles. My church has less than 100 members. We don’t have the budget to buy a lot of tech gear for live-streaming church services. We are unable to afford professional-grade video software and cameras. We don’t have enough space for many cameras or tripods in the room.
We have not been stopped from creating a Facebook live stream for our church’s Facebook Page. You don’t have to spend much money to do this task.
We wanted to do three things.
- We wanted to make it possible for those who can’t attend the weekly service to continue with our verse-by-verse teachings. Sometimes they’re out of town. Sometimes they get sick. Sometimes life can get in the way. We believe that our church culture encourages us to serve others, so we were willing to help them, regardless of whether they could be there every Sunday.
- We wanted people to be able to experience the service even if they don’t go to our church. We didn’t want it to look more like Christian TV. We wanted to see the real thing. We might call it “reality television” in broadcasting.
- We wanted to provide a service for our community. There are rarely many churches in the area that offer a live stream. They also have the elderly and sick. We wanted to offer them the chance to participate in a local church service.
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Understanding the Limitations of a Small Budget
Experts will tell you that live streaming is best done with 2 to 3 cameras, a video mixer board, tripods, camera operators, and a couple of cameras. They are also correct if you are creating a live-stream show.
But most people don’t have the resources or budget to support volunteers. We didn’t have that budget. We chose an alternative route. One stationary camera is all we have, as well as a computer with free software that connects to YouTube and Facebook and an internet connection.
Although our “quality” may not be as high as others, we accomplished what we set out. Every week, people are watching. Our live stream is usually watched by 30-60 people each week. We will expand our reach and acquire more equipment as our audience grows.
How to Choose Your Camera
Make sure you have sufficient internet speed before purchasing a camera for your church. Upload speeds of 1.5 Mbps are required. Check your router. The old-style “N” routers won’t be fast enough. A “G” router is required.
The Canon Vixia RF82 was our choice of camera. The camera has an HDMI output that sends the signal directly to our computer when combined with an HDMI-to-USB converter. Other cameras are available that can connect to services such as Ustream, but these may not be compatible with your computer.
We decided not to be tied down to any service provider. Instead, we use Vmix video software at our church computer to upload directly to Facebook.
Watch the Live Streaming Results of Our Church
This week, I was contacted by a woman from our church to thank me for starting the church live stream. She has knee problems and cannot get out of bed. She stated that she is connected to the church through the live stream. Mission Completed!
We typically have about 30 people watching our live stream. But, three weeks ago, we set a new record. 126 views. This was more than we had in church! This is amazing!
People have commented that they value what we do. These are people who don’t attend our church.
Is church streaming worth it? It is, in my opinion, more than worthwhile. Let us know your thoughts.
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