The Benefits And Disadvantages Of Church Streaming Services
Digital church and church streaming services are here to stay, and while they hold many advantages it’s also a key decision that no church should take lightly. Here are the benefits and disadvantages to be aware of before your church starts live streaming services.
Stephanie Antonucci Leathe
September 30, 2022
Online church is becoming more and more accepted, with many churches launching online campuses of their own or choosing the hybrid model. But for the churches that have not made this shift yet the change can seem daunting.
First, there is the question of how a congregation will adjust to online services - how many people will actually join a church livestream on an ongoing basis? Then there is the question of where to host your online services. Is it better to stream or broadcast a service, and what are the costs involved? The list of issues that can come up goes on and on…
As church streaming experts, we can honestly say that it’s ok to feel overwhelmed at first. What is most important is laying down the goals you have for your church, and finding the best fit from there. Are you looking to do services one-way only, or are you more interested in building an online community around your church with real engagement?
If the second option is your choice, you don’t need to go with broadcasting or expensive video conferencing software that isn’t suited to church uses. You need a church streaming service that is interactive, engaging and has all the potential to grow into a fully-fledged online church community.
There are many streaming options available, but not all are built to the standard needed for churches to offer safe, reliable online services via livestreaming.
But before we jump into the best platform for your church to use, it’s good to understand the benefits and disadvantages of church streaming services and the platforms they are housed on. More on that below:
The Benefits Of Church Streaming Services
Let’s talk about the positives of church streaming platforms first. While these platforms will vary to a certain degree depending on who built them, there are advantages that can be seen across the board.
The first advantage is definitely the ability to expand your church’s reach. Think about how church attendance typically takes a nosedive during the Summer holidays for example. People go on vacation and leave the pews empty until they return. But if your church streams services, these church members can still attend services no matter where they are located - no more losing touch. It also makes it easier for the differently-abled, the elderly, and others who have difficulty attending their usual Sunday services.
The second advantage is connected to streaming your church services, you can ensure that the community stays connected to the church any time, anywhere. This also means that you can expand your church far beyond its actual geographical reach - people from all around the world can become part of your congregation and spread the gospel with you.
The other reason that streamed services are becoming so prominent is that they really resonate with the youth. Young people today are crying out for a community, but traditional church settings don’t always suit their diverse needs.
Research has shown that more than fifty percent of young people have sought out churches online, with even higher percentages already reading scripture on their phones or seeking out other opportunities to connect within the faith. Going online with your services also means you’re not limited when it comes to creative interaction options, from watch-together movie nights to playing suitable online games together.
With a church streaming service, you can do more than just host a normal service. You can introduce smaller groups and one-on-ones online too, from next steps classes to Bible studies or counseling. Going digital really expands the horizons in terms of how often your congregation can access the church, as these different groups and services can be scheduled right throughout the week.
But the biggest reason by far why churches choose live streaming services? It’s cost-effective. Broadcasting via television can be a whole rigamarole of working with networks, paying high fees for equipment, and other needs your church will have. In comparison, starting with an online streaming service is much simpler and more affordable.
Your online church services can start with a basic microphone and webcam, a good streaming platform, and a solid internet connection - it’s that simple. From there you can purchase things as your online church grows, but that can all come with time versus the high barrier of cost that comes from television broadcasting.
Disadvantages of Church Streaming Services
One of the biggest disadvantages is that starting an online church comes with a lot of key decision-making. You need to choose a church streaming platform that is suitable for what your church is planning to use it for, as well as being easy to use for congregation members and attendees.
It also takes time for a digital church to develop the feeling of community and engagement that comes naturally with in-person services. You really need to foster that connection, and not all livestreaming platforms offer the same level of interactivity. Facebook Live is a good example of this - it’s very much a one-way thing, much like watching a TV show. That also means that viewers can start to feel disinterested or click away.
But on a platform where people can still greet their neighbors, add reactions and do a live chat during the service, suddenly the interest in the message becomes much higher. The back and forth is really what people are looking for, and when it isn’t there they stop showing up.
For churches, this poses another challenge.
They need to select the right platform from the beginning or risk having to jump around and adjust their digital operations when things are already struggling. Going into it with the right tool from the start can be a make-or-break decision for church leadership.
Why Altar Live Is Perfect For Church Streaming Services
Have trouble with all of the above but really want to reap the benefits of what streaming your church services can offer? You need to try Altar Live. It’s much more than a video conferencing platform like Zoom - it’s a tool that allows you to build a true community around the gospel, without the limitations that other conferencing platforms have.
With Altar Live, churches can increase the number of returning visitors, deepen the quality of engagement, and actually know who is attending their online church services. Attendees can join with a single link click, no software or app download is necessary. This makes it simple enough for all congregation members to use regardless of their technical capabilities or the device they are joining from.
Add powerful engagement options, the ability to host small groups and Q&A’s or moderated panels, or even the powerful metrics tools and you won’t find this type of dedicated church platform anywhere else.
Digital church and church streaming services are here to stay, and while they hold many advantages it’s also a key decision that no church should take lightly. At the same time, many pastors and church leaders now are beginning to examine the possibilities that come from future-proofing their churches in this way, believing that it will lead to higher growth in the future. If this is where you find yourself right now, reach out to us to get a free trial for Altar Live today.