The forecast is calling for an epic snowstorm early Sunday morning, and it looks like worship services will have to be canceled. That was a reality for some congregations this winter.

Weather can make it difficult for members to be physically present in worship at least a few Sundays every year (although here in Texas, it’s more likely to be a hurricane than a snowstorm). Add to that the people who are traveling on Sunday and those who are ill or homebound, and a significant portion of our community simply can’t gather in the church facility each Sunday morning.

In the past decade, the ability to take the worship service out into the world via live-stream has become exponentially easier. You no longer need expensive cameras, software or mixing equipment. All you need is a smartphone and social media account. Both Facebook and Twitter offer point-and-shoot live-stream services built into their social networks.

With little to no startup cost, every church now has the ability to broadcast Sunday worship services to the world and reach all those people who can’t be at the facility on Sunday morning.

If you’re following along at home, it’s remarkably easy. Open the social media account your congregation is using, check in to the church’s account and watch the video. Click “like” and comment as the video progresses to let them know you’re participating.

If you’re helping your congregation make streaming available, here are a few tips:

Facebook. From the church’s Facebook page, click “Publish” and then “Live video.” It will ask first for a description and then if you’re ready to go live.

Twitter. Compose a new tweet and press the “Live” button. It will ask for a description and then give you the ability to go live.

There are other ways to live-stream that offer a variety of abilities and options, but these two platforms have the most people on them and are the easiest to use.

Don’t forget copyrights

Your congregation probably has a license to cover the performance and publication of the music that is used in worship. Most of these licenses (for example, CCLI, OneLicense, etc.) have an upgrade that also covers live-streaming.

You must have a copyright license to broadcast the music used in worship. For this reason, many congregations opt to just broadcast a portion of the service—often the sermon.

Improving quality

A tripod or monopod designed for your phone can cut down on some of the shakes in your video. You can also attach a small external microphone to many phones for improved audio.

Some worship spaces don’t have a strong Wi-Fi signal. A signal extender or repeater can help make sure there is enough bandwidth for the live-stream.

David L. Hansen
Hansen is pastor of Spirit of Joy! Lutheran Church in The Woodlands, Texas.

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