Streaming Church From Pastors’ Houses
Streaming Church During Shelter-in-place
How Faith Church Streamed From Their Pastor’s Home
As many states impose shelter-in-place orders, more and more churches are dealing with how to continue normal ministry content while facing the increasingly challenging circumstances imposed by COVID-19.
One solution we’ve seen many churches implement includes setting up streaming setups from their pastors’ homes. This can be a great way to keep the church engaged while still adhering to measures to require minimal staff and keep their team healthy and safe.
One of the churches that has taken this route is Faith Church in St.Louis, MO. While their setup may be more produced than many, it provides an example of a model for churches big and small to continue ministry during this time. We got the opportunity to speak with Bryan Weddle, IT Director af Faith last week during our Church Online Streaming Summit.
One of Faith Church’s campuses is a mobile load-in site that was closed due to coronavirus, so their team decided to use this existing equipment at their pastor’s home to stream. Bryan explains that they used their mobile video and audio rack in the garage, and ran cables to the living room for cameras and a confidence monitor.
Faith is using this new portable studio to provide content from their pastor both on Sundays and throughout the week. “One of the things that we’ve focused on right now is that while everybody has so much downtime, we’re trying to fill this downtime with as much positive content as we possibly can,” Bryan explains. “There’s so much negative news going around, they’ve gotta be encouraged and lifted up in this time.”
As to connectivity for streaming, Bryan explains that they simply used their pastor’s cable home internet connection for streaming through Living As One. Because of Living As One’s Resilient Streaming Protocol, smooth streaming is possible without buffering even on inconsistent home internet connections. “That’s one of the incredible things about Living As One,” Bryan mentions, “we did [streaming] from Tuesday to Sunday, 14 services, some prerecorded, and we never had one issue.”
With all other streaming options, whenever the internet has problems, your users will be watching a pixelated stream or a buffering wheel. After the second buffering wheel, 70% of your online viewers have already left. Living As One has the only protocol to resend and correct data on a 2-minute delay, thus reducing stream complaints by over 85% on average.
Some things to keep in mind when considering streaming from pastors’ homes:
- It doesn’t need to be fancy
- Even a single camera can be effective. Your church is looking for authentic content at this time; it doesn’t need to be polished.
- Focus on lighting and audio
- In a house, lighting and audio can be much harder to control than on a stage, but it’s critical to ensure that the message is clear and not distracted. Use a good sound-isolating microphone and remember front-lighting for your pastor, whether through something like low-cost LED panels or using soft natural lighting from a window (rather than shooting into a window).
- Plan your connection and encoding
- 720p video can be streamed on around 4-6Mbps upload or 1080p on 8-12Mbps. Home internet connections can be unpredictable! Living As One can help provide smooth streaming without buffering even on inconsistent connections (or even 4g hotspots).
- If all else fails, pre-record
- Having your pastor pre-record elements and post them as simulated live events through Church Online Platform can be a great way to keep your audience engaged if streaming is not an option, but you will lack the experience and interaction provided by live content.