How to start an Online Church
An online church is a way to bring people together in community, but without leaving the comfort of your own home. With an online church service, it is possible for prospective congregants and members to observe the service and see if the church is right for them. Here is a step-by-step guide to creating a successful online church service
June 10, 2021
Are you committed to sharing your ministry 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 service! Having an online church service is an innovative and easy way to share your mission with others.
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.
Step 2: Choose a Platform:
There are many great 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.
- The Church Online Platform: Designed specifically for churches, Church Online, allows attendees to engage and connect with their church community. 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.
- 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 service, 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 in 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.
- 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.
- 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. 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. 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.
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.