Should our church live stream its services?

By Matt Swaringin

Live streaming doesn’t have to be exclusively for mega-churches anymore!

We live in a time where technology is increasingly important to how the world around us engages with what’s going on around them. We have the opportunity to leverage that for the sake of the gospel.

I’ll be honest: When my pastor told me he wanted to livestream our services on Sundays, I thought, “This is going to take a lot of resources for little return.” As a church plant with an average of 80-100 on a Sunday, live streaming didn’t initially seem to fit in our vision or be a means of reaching our city.

Turns out, I was wrong. It was a worthy investment. Here’s three reasons why:

1. Live streaming allows members to stay connected when they can’t come

We often joke about growing our church “one baby at a time.” Our church family is booming with younger families. In the past five months, five families have welcomed newborns into their homes. Our weekly livestream allowed these families to stay connected with our Sunday service while they adjusted to life with an infant in the house. Whether it’s pregnancy, sickness, or being out of town, live streaming your service can help your members and regular attenders stay connected when they are away.

2. Live streaming allows “not-yets” who are interested in your church to connect and contribute

Visiting a new church is tough. The reality is this: There is a community of people who might not (yet) ever come to church on a Sunday. Maybe they’ve been burned. Maybe they’re busy. Who knows? While they may never step foot in your door, they may desire to explore online. Live streaming allows this community of folks a chance to hear you preach and proclaim the gospel. They will find something to watch. The question is, will it be you?

3. Live streaming gives students an avenue to stay connected

Our church sits between five major colleges. Many of our college students, mostly international, come to church during the school year, but then head back home over the summer. One thing they always mention is missing out while they are away. Live streaming allows students to stay connected.

If you’re still not convinced, let me share this stat: Studies show that people who see something will be more likely to take action than those who simply hear it. Cognitive Science did a study that found people have a 20% chance of retaining information if seeing it, 30% by hearing it, and an astounding 50% chance of retaining it from watching it!

If you’re “sold” and want to get started, be warned. There are an abundance of products that advertise “easy livestreaming.” Before you go and invest your time and resources in these products, consider speaking with someone who’s experienced in the area.

When putting your service or sermon online, it’s important to know there are a lot variables. There are a handful of important, and legal, things to think about — things like licensing, embedding, encoding, and bit rates. If you don’t want to mess with all the technical stuff but want to learn more, I’d encourage you to reach out to for a free consultation to skip the hard stuff and get right to streaming!

Published May 22, 2018

P.S. Get our best content in your inbox

We send one email per month full of articles from a variety of Replanting voices.