A number of years ago I was serving a church as a youth director. The pastor of the church left for vacation and was gone for two weeks. We talked about all the things that I needed to do while he was gone. One of the things we talked about was worship coverage. “Wouldn’t it be great?” he said, “if I could just give my sermon from the beach?” We all laughed at the thought because we knew that was not a possibility.
Today we could easily make that off the cuff silly idea a real possibility. Technology is constantly changing and advancing. We can do so many things now that we could not even imagine doing just ten years ago. There are billions of devices and fast networks that easily connect us to one another. There are apps that help us find directions, play games, text, talk and so much more.
One of the ways I believe God is using me in the world is to create content that equips people in finding clarity and confidence so they can live out their God-Given purpose. The content that I have spent the most time creating are written through my blog and in my sermons on Sunday. Since January of this year I have been experimenting with video content through Facebook Live.
What is Facebook Live?
Facebook Live offers live-streaming video capabilities to users. By tapping the live stream icon, you can start broadcasting video live from your smartphone. Any users following you will have the ability to “tune in” to the broadcast. At the end of the video, you can tap “finish” to complete the video, at which point it will be posted as a permanently available feature on your timeline.
Just after Christmas I logged onto Facebook to post some pictures of my children opening presents and I noticed a different icon. It was a shadow of a person with rings around the head. I hit the button out of curiosity and it brought me to a screen for Facebook Live. I knew about Periscope and Blab and a few other live streaming apps but I did not know that Facebook had this available.
I decided to use it to live-stream my sermons and the response has been amazing! I realized that video is a powerful medium to impact people and when you add a live component to the experience, there’s a genuine component that takes the experience to another level and the best part – it is FREE!
Facebook Live is easier to setup than ANY live streaming services out there. It takes only a couple of minutes to set up. After worship you can download the video from your Facebook wall and upload it to youtube or use it for another purpose.
A concern that has been voiced is that using this technology would encourage people to stay home and not attend church. I don’t believe this to be true. Members of your church have busy lives. Many individuals and families have busy lives and are not able to attend church every week. Hopefully this will help them keep connected to the church and to hear the message that is preached. There are other elements of worship that they are missing out on which will hopefully bring them back to the Sunday morning worship gathering. Also, I have been averaging between 200-250 views per stream. This is double my average worship attendance at my church. Either everyone is watching it multiple times or it is reaching far beyond the people in my congregation.
How to Get Started with Facebook Live
A mobile device (with plenty of battery life)
A Facebook account
Facebook’s mobile app
A strong wifi signal at your location (if the wifi is not strong turn it off)
A tripod with a smartphone mount (here’s the one we used)
When you are ready to go live, simply click on “Update Status” in the Facebook app on your mobile device. Check to see that your post will be public and then hit the Facebook Live button.
You will then be given the option to give your video a title. You can use hashtags and even tag friends in the title to get even more engagement.
Have someone help you frame up the video before you click the big blue “Go Live” button. Once you are live you will see how many people are connecting to the feed and comments coming in as they happen. If you are able tell people in your congregation to share the video on their Facebook walls. This will help create engagement and share the message that is given that Sunday.
If you have questions about how to use this service, or if you have had experiences using Facebook Live please let me know in the comments.