Two years ago, pastors around the world found themselves forced into live streaming. We all pulled out our phones and tablets and began scrambling to figure out how to keep ministry flowing digitally. Before too long, most of us got a handle on it. But now live streaming has become an expected front door to reaching the community and connecting with prospects. If we don’t continue innovating and thinking creatively, we’re likely missing some great opportunities to maximize media for ministry. Here are a few tips to step up your media game.
Move beyond one platform and get your program out to multiple platforms (YouTube, Facebook groups, Facebook pages, your website). A great tool for this is Restream.io — you can send one feed and it does the heavy lifting, making sure your service is being sent to multiple destinations.
Your livestream should be interactive. Find a volunteer (or team of them) to monitor live viewers and ask engaging questions during the worship service. This lets viewers know there’s a real person behind the screen who is interested in connecting with them. Ask for prayer requests, provide points from the sermon, scripture, etc. You can keep up with viewers who engage with direct messages after the service ends.
CALL TO ACTION
How are you connecting with new guests who are watching online? Consider a service like TextInChurch.com where you can connect a text keyword like “welcome” or “Jesus” to a phone number. When viewers text in, it begins a conversation that will eventually lead to a personal connection.
ADDRESS YOUR VIEWERS
Are you addressing the camera and welcoming viewers? Make sure they know their “attendance” is noted and appreciated. You may consider pre-recording a special greeting that airs before or after the service (and plays only online). This is a great time to make a more personal connection with an online audience.
MOVE BEYOND THE SCREEN
PhoneLiveStreaming.com is a great tool that will take the audio portion of your livestream and send it out via a phone call. It may seem archaic, but the data shows that young and old both prefer managing fewer technical hurdles. This service includes an accessible archive of the past 10 broadcasts, calls to action (“press 3 if you’d like to pray with a pastor”) and will turn your services into a podcast automatically. This is great for shut-ins who aren’t tech savvy and works well as an outreach tool – just publish a phone number. When folks call it one time, they’ll be called whenever you go live.
People will tolerate mediocre video, but they won’t tolerate poor audio. And what you hear in your worship center hardly ever sounds the same over the web. Make sure you’re monitoring and correcting broadcast audio. At the very least, most mixers have an “AUX SEND” that can be set up as a separate mix.
WARM UP THE AUDIENCE
Go live a few minutes early with an announcement loop and add a service countdown. This gives time for an audience to build and creates a sense of anticipation for the viewer.
This list is only scratching the surface of ways to improve your broadcast, but above all, EMBRACE IT! No, it likely wasn’t in your plan to start a full-fledged broadcast ministry two years ago – but here we are. Your church can reach far beyond its walls every week. Make the most of it. Have any questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out!