Cascadia District Online Church Life Resources


Featured Article

Choosing a Live Streaming Platform

May 15, 2021
 

Today we’re here to break down which live streaming platform is best for your church.  There are a few things to consider when you set out to choose the platform that will be best for your church’s needs.

YouTube and Facebook logos

 

Where is your audience?

You want for your congregants to be able to find your stream easily and be familiar with the tools of that platform.  It’s important to consider accessibility for your congregants.  For most congregants that means the two biggest contenders for your service’s livestream are Facebook and YouTube.

Most churches will want Facebook or Youtube to be platforms where their live stream appears.  With both platforms, one of the biggest concerns is that they use bots to flag copyrighted materials, even if you have your CCLI Streaming License listed in the caption and/or comment section. 
 
With both of these platforms, the main con is that they are not meant to be passively engaged with, so your livestream viewers are flooded with other information and distractions, like notifications, messages, and other video suggestions.  This is the main reason you’d want to consider a platform that allows you to stream to both of these platforms, plus embed it into your website. 

So how do you do that?

What if we'd like to stream to both Facebook and Youtube? 

Restream logo (White R in a black circle)

That’s a great point!  To stream to two places at once, you have a few options.  One is to use Restream.io.  Using even just the free account allows you to stream to both Facebook and Youtube.  The free account only allows the Facebook to be linked to a personal page though, so if you want the stream to exist on your church’s page or group (highly recommended), you’re looking at $19/month.

"Subsplash" plus UMC flame and cross logo

Another option is Subsplash, a site that hosts live streaming, digital giving, and website building capacities.  United Methodist churches have access to these services starting at just $49.99/month + $80/month (for live streaming services).  While it is a more expensive option, Subsplash is a great option if you need a website, a streaming platform, a giving platform, an app, and a basic video editor.  Subsplash is a holistic platform where you can meet all your online needs in one place.  The price is great considering all that comes in the bundle.  Plus, you have access to a support team with easy troubleshooting options.  Just like Restream and our next option, Vimeo, you can stream to multiple platforms at once, like Facebook and Youtube, and you can embed your stream to your website!

"Vimeo" in script

A third option is Vimeo Premium for $75/month.  If you are ready to get serious about live streaming, already have a website, and are ready to make this a priority in your budget, Vimeo Premium is where to go.  Not only does Vimeo give you the option to stream to both Youtube and Facebook, as well as embed a code for your stream on your website, Vimeo also has a studio encoding software with graphics and stock photos, videos, and licensed music.  The studio encoding software can bypass your need for programs like OBS or vMix, which encode your software and allow you to easily switch between different camera angles.

Conclusion

Streaming through a platform that allows your viewers to access your stream from multiple places makes it more accessible and available in places where less distractions exist (like your website!).  This gives your stream a level of professionalism that also brings a reliability your congregation can trust.  This is another step in moving bravely into the direction of integrating the live and virtual worship experiences!

If you have suggestions or questions, please contact Hope Montgomery, our Online Ministry Consultant through May of this year by email here.

 


Tutorials and Guides

Specific information on a variety of topics related to live streaming

Here are some tutorials and fact sheets Hope developed for specific churches while working with them.  She has generalized these to be helpful to any church.

 

Hope Montgomery

Hope Montgomery was the Cascadia District Online Consultant for local churches.  She was available to work with local churches at no cost through the end of May 2021.

This position was funded by a generous grant from the Cascadia District Church Extension Society.  Thank you, CDCES!!

Hope is no longer available to work with you in person, but we have the work she has done here on this page of the website, along with other related resources.  

We hope you find these useful!

Please contact the Cascadia District office if you have any questions:  cascadia@umoi.org


Related Videos:

Live Streaming on a Budget: Options under $1,000

Opening scene of video

 

Earlier Articles:

Copyright Law in the Age of Live Streaming: 8 Things You Need to Know
In her April 2021 article Hope interviewed Diane Sanchez-Bushong, Director of Music Ministries of The General Board of Discipleship, about copyright laws and infringement in the age of live streaming.

Live Streaming: Three Options Related to Expertise Level and Budget
In her March 2021 article, Hope laid out options for live streaming set-ups for each of three budget and expertise levels, including number of team members needed.

Live Streaming on a Budget: Options under $1,000
In her February 2021 article, Hope details information for those just getting started in live streaming with limited expertise and a limited budget for additional equipment

Other Resources:

Local church learning sessions: Technology for worship, small groups and giving is a page on the UM Communications website with links to multiple articles about a variety of online church life functions.

Online Worship Advice and Guidance -

  • See this section of the Greater NW Area Covid Resource Page, under "Innovate in Worship"  at

https://greaternw.org/coronavirus/

  • There are also links there to more resources on copyright and licensing issues

Worship Resources

How to Make Virtual Worship and other Online Church Life Events Accessible to All.  This .pdf from the DisAbility Ministries Office of The UMC gives suggestions on how to make online church life accessible to persons with physical disabilities, hearing loss and blindness, as well as addressing the challenges faced by older adults and those with mental health issues.  There are other resources for supporting those with disabilities during the pandemic at umcdmc.org/2020/03/27/coronavirus-resources-for-churches/

 

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