Streaming Your Very Best Online Easter Service This Year!

By: Jay Kranda

It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner, an amateur, or a professional. You can stream your Easter service! Go live from your phone selfie-style or have a full-fledged studio in your home. Here are some basic tips to streaming your church service:

  1. Make eye contact with your online audience by looking into the camera. It will take some practice if this is a new exercise. Nobody will be laughing at your jokes (that might be normal) and no feedback from faces to know if your message is resonating. Rehearse preaching to an empty room into a lifeless camera. It’s a skill you can acquire over time.

  2. Talk to people online directly. Picture a family watching together in their home and individuals streaming from their laptop. Visualize kids running around a messy living room and others chowing down on their breakfast. Keep their faces and busy living space in your mind during your introduction, message, and sendoff.

  3. Clearly communicate next steps to your online audience. People will be watching in a group or solo. You can set up a connection card (Google Forms or Wufoo), text number, email address, or leverage direct message inbox on your Facebook Page or YouTube Channel. Some will be able to complete the form on your page, and others will be watching fullscreen. I would recommend always pushing an email address or DM the page/channel. Next steps online are harder digitally. They don’t have a card in front of them to fill out during your talk and won’t walk by your connection area on your patio or foyer. You need to be more direct to drive a next step digitally. Write out your next step script and run it by your spouse to make sure its simple to understand.

  4. Form a core group of members of your church to review how your online church service is going. Meet on a Zoom call Monday afternoons to discuss what worked, what didn’t, what should be removed, and what could be added. Feedback is vital while launching something new, like an online service. I would encourage you to do more listening than talking during these calls. Take nothing personally.

Now, let’s look at a beginner, amateur, and professional streaming options for your church this Easter.

BEGINNER: FACEBOOK LIVE FROM YOUR PHONE JUST LIKE JIMMY FALLON

  • Only phone and internet needed

  • Stream to your church’s Facebook Page (not personal account)

  • Use a tripod to steady your camera or set the phone on a box

  • PRO TIP: Test your Facebook Live setup by going live on your personal Facebook account and change who sees it by selecting “Only Me” so you can check your audio/video settings before Sunday

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AMATEUR: FACEBOOK PREMIERE AND YOUTUBE PREMIERE TO UP YOUR GAME

  • Pre-record the message/music and create a single file to upload to Facebook and YouTube

  • On the upload, check the “Premiere” button, available on Facebook and YouTube, and schedule the video to go live at a specific time, which will enable chat at the set time. Your Facebook Page or YouTube Channel will treat the pre-recorded video as a live event.

  • Put in place a Digital Greeter to be present on the page/channel to engage with your community:

    • Welcome people as they join

    • Post links to notes

    • Ask questions like, “Where are you watching from?”

    • Share information about the music you’re singing

    • Answer questions

    • Share next steps at the end of the service

    • Say goodbye, and “See you next week.”

PROFESSIONAL: FACEBOOK LIVE, YOUTUBE LIVE, + STREAM TO YOUR WEBSITE LIKE A PRO

Two options: stream live or rebroadcast:

  • Stream live simultaneously to Facebook, YouTube, & your website using OBS, Wirecast, or custom streaming provider

    1. Facebook Live / YouTube Live – go to live settings and set up your streaming settings provided by software and streaming provider

    2. Apply for a churchonlineplatform.com account. Once your account is approved, schedule your event start date, put in all the needed information, and then go to “Videos” to input your streaming provider information (Video Tutorial).

    3. Next Level Experience: Embed your live media player on a custom page on your website, like www.ChurchName.com/Online, provided by your streaming provider or use the YouTube Live embed code. Ideally, place a response form and links to notes below the media player. Explore Chatroll.com or any embeddable chat add-on.

  • Rebroadcast simultaneously to Facebook, YouTube, & your website using OBS, Wirecast, or custom streaming provider

    1. Facebook Live / YouTube Live – go to live settings and set up your streaming settings provided by software and streaming provider. OBS or Wirecast allows you to use any media file and output it like its a live event. Most streaming providers have a rebroadcast or simulated live feature as well.

    2. Apply for a churchonlineplatform.com account. Once your account is approved, schedule your event start date, put in all the needed information, and then go to “Videos” to input an existing YouTube URL. The Church Online Platform allows you to use a pre-recorded video as your video for a live event. It’s a great feature to easily host as many rebroadcasted events as you desire (Video Tutorial).

    3. Next Level Experience: Embed your live media player on a custom page on your website, like www.ChurchName.com/Online, provided by your streaming provider or use the YouTube Live embed code. Ideally, place a response form and links to notes below the media player. Explore Chatroll.com or any embeddable chat add-on.

Software & streaming providers to explore:

WHAT TO MEASURE WEEKLY TO KNOW IF YOUR ONLINE CHURCH EXPERIENCE IS WORKING


Attendance:

  • Facebook Reach / YouTube Impressions metrics are helpful indicators to know many people saw your service. Treat these metrics like measuring how many people drove outside of your building during your service. Never use it as your primary metric for attendance.

  • Facebook Engagements / YouTube Views metrics are helpful indicators of how many people paused during a scroll on their phone and choose to enter into your worship experience. Kind of like driving by, pulling over, and walking into your building. Engagements / Views are more of a sign that they wanted to experience your online experience.

  • Audience Retention is a metric you can find on Facebook and YouTube after some digging. Each video will be presented in a graph form showing how long people watched your entire online worship service. Retention on Facebook is universally terrible, so don’t be surprised if your retention on Facebook after 1 minute is only 1%. Facebook is a digital marketplace. It’s kind of like browsing Target or Walmart, but in this case, it’s seeing what’s happening with your friends and family via scrolling. YouTube retention will be above 20%, most likely. You need to look at Facebook as an outreach/awareness platform, and YouTube is a more in-depth engagement platform. Also, YouTube has better options to get your stream up on television using Chromecast, which facilitates better retention.

 

  • Use Google Analytics for your website metrics.

    • Page Views are similar to Facebook Reach and YouTube Impressions

    • Sessions are similar to Facebook Engagements and YouTube Views

    • Users are similar to Audience Retention metrics

Next Steps:

  • Measure how many connection cards, direct messages on Facebook/YouTube, texts, emails, and phone calls are completed or sent weekly

  • Measure how many people entered the chat weekly

  • Measure how many salvations are indicated on connection card or Church Online Platform custom chat

  • Measure how many first time visitors are shown on connection card or Church Online Platform analytics


EXTRA EXPERIENCE TIPS

 

  1. Considering doing a hangout after the live stream for new attenders (INVITE ONLY) over Zoom.us to discuss the message and answer any questions for potential new members of your church

  2. Launch online group offerings and encourage existing groups to move online. Learn more by taking this “How Online Small Groups Workvideo course

  3. Send a special gift to new visitors who complete your connection card. Purchase a Bible on Amazon and make a note on the gift section. Throw in a thing of toilet paper for the fun of it.

I want to challenge you to continue to experiment to provide a more robust online church experience. You may start at the beginner option but look at upping your game every week in little ways. I’m praying for your upcoming online church experience this Easter.

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About the Author
Jay Kranda
Jay Kranda is the Online Pastor at Saddleback Church. He oversees an online community with online small groups, homes groups, and local gatherings around the globe. Addicted to the NBA and cold coffee. Married to Jody and they have 2 boys and 1 girl.
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