How to start an Online Church
Are you committed to sharing your interactive church service with others? Do you want to share your church service with those who cannot be there in person? Don’t be intimidated by an online church platform! Having an online church service is an innovative and easy way to share your mission with others.
And while there are advantages and disadvantages of online worship, starting an online church will ultimately expand the reach of your church as a whole.
In this guide, we'll talk more about interactive church service ideas, the best Zoom for churches, and what you will need to prep your church media team:
Step 1: Decide If The Service Will Be Pre-recorded or Live
This step may seem simple, but it is very important to choose if your online church service will be pre-recorded or live. It gives an idea of what the preparation process will be like. Your virtual church fellowship ideas may differ if you plan to go pre-recorded.
Step 2: Choose a Platform:
There are many great church streaming platforms that are low-cost and even free.
- Facebook and YouTube: Free and very simple to use. Many people already have easy access to both sites.
But these may not offer ad-free streaming or always provide quality videos to all of your attendees, and you may not reach people in the same way as you would when you are building virtual communities.
- The Church Online Platform: Designed specifically for churches, Church Online, allows attendees to engage and connect with their church community during an online service.
If you opt for this platform, you may have to invest in Zoom to allow your members to have small group meetings to meet. Church Online is a limited service and only allows one event at a time and can only host services. You will need to purchase one of their premium plans if you want technical support for your ministry team.
- Altar Live: Altar Live offers even more features. It not only takes the best of Facebook, Youtube, Church Online, and Zoom but allows you to run unlimited and concurrent events.
With Altar Live, you can engage with people via chat, polls, Q&A, virtual tables, and video conference watch parties. You not only can host online church services, but also small groups, events, and meetings for your church. Anyone can use Altar Live and feel a part of a church community.
Step 3: Decide on a Web Camera
It is extremely important for the congregation to see you. Having a camera or webcam solves this issue. It is perfectly fine to use the built-in webcam on your computer or you can opt for something more functional and high-quality. Though they can be a bit pricey, video cameras on a tripod work well and can really bring your online church service to the next level.
5 Types of Cameras to Use
- Webcam: A webcam is a camera that is connected to your computer. Most computers have some sort of webcam built in, but there are also external options you can connect through USB. Here are some options that work well with live-stream church services.
- Smartphone: Streaming doesn't have to be a complicated high-tech process. It can be as simple as using your smartphone! With a smartphone, you will be able to have a pretty good stream quality. iPads also can work too!
- Wireless: Wireless cameras allow more movement and are easy to transport. Some wireless cameras can be controlled by an app and are relatively cheap for houses of worship to acquire.
- IP: While IP cameras are a little more complex and high-tech, their versatility allows so much flexibility. IP cameras connect through Ethernet and include power through it as well. This means you can run the IP camera 24/7 in real time. One complicated aspect of IP cameras is that it requires an encoder. These types of cameras are also pretty expensive. If you opt for an IP camera for your online church service, check out the Panasonic AW-UE100W/K
- Professional Quality: Professional-quality cameras such as HDMI or SDI cameras give the best streaming quality for your online ministry. With these cameras, you can change and upgrade lenses, zoom in, use a wide-angle focus, and so much more. While these cameras have many features and flexibility, there is a learning process and some may find them very complicated to use.
Professional Quality options: Panasonic AG-CX350 and Panasonic AG-DVX200.
Step 4: Have a Good Internet Connection
For your online church service, it is essential to have a good connection. Don’t risk having glitches during your service. Prior to your online church service, test the internet speed using different services like: testmy.net. This site will show you two numbers that indicate how fast data can be sent (Upload speed) and how fast it takes to receive it (download speed).
To have a successful online church service, you should have an upload speed of at least 1 Mbps (Megabits per second) but the 2-5 speed range is much more reliable.
Step 5: Don’t Forget the Microphone
Using the built-in microphone in your camera or computer is a great low-budget option. It also may be beneficial to purchase a microphone to help with the sound quality. For mounting on the camera, “Shotgun” mics are helpful. Using clip-on mics and hand-held microphones can work too. Using these mics during your online church service will enhance the audio quality of live music and speakers.
Once you are able to accomplish these steps, you will be ready to create and schedule an online church service! Soon you will be happily communing virtually.
Using The Right Live Streaming Platform For Churches
Altar Live is live streaming software designed to take your streams and turn them into a community. Increase the number of returning visitors, deepen the quality of engagement, and actually know who is attending your online church services.
Plus, you can replace all your Zoom subscriptions with one Altar Live account - sign your church's communications team up for a free trial today!