By Paul Richards
A friend of mine, Andrew Haley, the product evangelist for Wirecast, explained to me on a recent podcast about how important technology has been to Christianity over the past 600 years. Haley explained, “One of the main reasons why western religion has succeeded so greatly to this day, is because it has always taken advantage of emerging technologies…The medium isn’t the message; it’s the medium that you use to communicate the message. In the 1500s, we saw the printing press emerge, and Bibles were being printed for the first time in history. We saw an explosion of what was being made available in written form, with new translations that were suddenly available all over the world…Over the past 100 years, we have churches moving on to the radio with the early evangelical churches that have now moved into TV and televangelism…and now today we are moving into a new form of communication, where you can distribute your message on digital platforms using social media. The churches that are the most successful and most resonate with people are the ones delivering their message in the places that people are listening.”
When we are considering the power of live streaming, we are also talking about the massive reach of social media. With the right strategy put into place, your live videos can turn online viewers into lifelong supporters of the church. New technologies are allowing churches to accept digital donations both through their websites and social media pages directly. Your influence online can now become a bridge for new members giving them the nudge of confidence they need to walk through your church’s front doors. We all must remember that watching a church service online will always pale in comparison to the real thing. The ultimate value of a church service comes from an authentic experience with God, and the community inside your church enhances those moments in a way that cannot be replicated inside an online chatroom.
While live streaming experiences like these may transcend the barriers of your church’s four walls, the heartbeat of your community will always be inside your church’s brick and mortar location. Your church services may have a profound impact on viewers around the world. These viewers may or may not be Christians. These viewers may have spent years looking for faith in all the wrong places. With the right strategy, your online video content should have the ability to help people realize what they are missing each Sunday and prompt them to take the next logical step toward becoming closer to God and your church.
It’s a good idea to put a digital contribution button right next to your live video stream on your website. You can now accept digital donations directly through major social media such as Facebook and YouTube, which I believe may be the #1 way churches can increase first time giving. Many churches embed their YouTube live stream video players on a specific page of their website. But at the same time, the live stream will also get distributed on social media networks automatically by default. I suggest putting your in-house digital donation button right next to the live video on your website with a short explanation of the church. At the same time, you will likely find that Facebook and YouTube are generating online donations for you as well. Starting in 2018, Facebook and YouTube both started making it easier for non-profit organizations to accept donations directly through their social media pages during live streams. These new features are powerful, easy to use, and incredibly scalable.
Paul Richards is the chief streaming officer for PTZOptics. His new book, Helping Your Church Live Stream, is the #1 new release in Pastoral Resources on Amazon. You can download the first three chapters for free and enroll in the included online training course for this book at www.churchstreamers.com.