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Free Church Live Streaming Options You Can Use Now

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Written by Paul Steinbrueck

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Most churches canceled their regular Sunday church services because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of those churches have begun live streaming services over the internet instead.

In fact, so many churches are getting into live streaming that our friends at Streaming Church had to temporarily stop accenting new churches while they expand their infrastructure to ensure they can handle the increased demand.

While we’re big fans of Streaming Church, there are less sophisticated live streaming services that churches can use immediately at no cost.

Facebook Live for Churches

Facebook Live is a good option because:

  • It enables your church to live stream directly to its Facebook page.
  • People who “like” your churches Facebook page will be notified of your live stream.
  • It’s easy for church members to “share” your live stream with their friends.
  • Live streaming can be done from a computer or the Facebook phone app without any additional equipment or software.
  • People don’t have to have a Facebook account to watch a live stream

If you decide to live stream with Facebook live, I recommend using the “Schedule a Live Video” option a couple of days in advance.  Doing this will post a notice to your Facebook page that looks like this:

By scheduling a live video, a) it notifies people so they can plan ahead for your service, b) it gives them the option to Get Reminder, and c) it enables you to embed the live stream into a web page.

To embed Facebook Live into a web page:

Click the 3 dots in the top right corner of the post announcing the live stream, select “More” and select “Embed.”

  • Highlight the HTML code and hit [control]-c to copy
  • Edit the web page in which you want to embed the live stream
  • Hit [control]-v to paste the HTML code into the page

If you’re using OurChurch.Com’s WP-EZ website builder you can get more info on embedding HTML code in our help pages: WP-EZ 2.0 How to Embed HTML Code or  WP-EZ 1.0 How to Embed HTML Code.

YouTube Live for Churches

YouTube is another good option for churches because:

  • It enables your church to live stream directly to its YouTube channel
  • People who subscribe to your church’s YouTube channel will be notified of your live stream.
  • Live streaming can be done from a computer or the YouTube phone app without any additional equipment or software.
  • When your live stream is over, your video will be saved to your YouTube channel and can be found by people searching YouTube and Google (who owns YouTube).

As with Facebook, if you choose to live stream with YouTube Live, I recommend using the “Schedule for Later” option  few days in advance for all the same reasons: subscribers will be notified, people can get an optional reminder, and you can embed the live stream into a web page.

Doing this will post what looks like a video to your YouTube channel:

To embed YouTube Live into a web page:

  • Go to your YouTube channel and click on the video preview.
  • Click “Share” and then click “Embed”
  • Highlight the HTML code and hit [control]-c to copy
  • Edit the web page in which you want to embed the live stream
  • Hit [control]-v to paste the HTML code into the page

Which is better – Facebook Live or YouTube Live?

It really depends on your congregation and who you’re trying to reach – which platform do they use more?  My church has more Facebook users, so we went with Facebook live.

Some churches do both. You can live stream to both YouTube and Facebook at the same time from the same computer. When prompted, just give both access to your web cam.

Final word of church live streaming advice…

Don’t just live stream the same thing you would normally do in a regular church service.  There are more distractions at home. People’s attention spans and shorter.  And people crave interaction.  Keep it short, ask questions, and interact in the comments.

Just as our physical gatherings should help us long for the eternal gathering, I pray our online gatherings will cause us to long for physical gatherings. -Eric Geiger

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If there’s anything else we can do to help your church live out its mission online during the COVID-19 pandemic – build a websitechurch website designchurch SEO or anything else, please let us know.

More COVID-19 Response Resources.

Comment and Discuss… What thoughts and comments do you have about Facebook Live and YouTube Live?  If your church has used Facebook Live or YouTube Live, tell us about your experience and advice?

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About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.

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