Streaming Church Services Online
Churches all across the world have begun streaming church services online. As a global pandemic has disrupted most churches’ ability to meet physically, streaming services online has become one of the only ways for churches to maintain the connection with their congregation. Streaming services online has also become an amazing evangelistic tool, extending the reach of churches across the country to impact new people with the good news of Jesus.
In order to stream church services online, your church will need to choose a streaming service and streaming platform. This post will discuss two popular streaming options for churches: Vimeo Premium and the Church Online Platform. But first, it’s important to understand the difference between a streaming service and a streaming platform.
Streaming Service Vs. Streaming Platform
Here’s the difference:
Streaming Service: As your church uses a phone or camcorder to stream or record church services, you’ll need a way to encode your recording into a format that can be streamed online. A streaming service will take your phone-recorded video stream or the sound/audio mix of your service, encode it in a way that can be understood online, and push out the steam to one location or multiple locations.
Streaming Platform: Your streaming platform is the place where you send your video stream. Churches can stream to one location or to multiple locations.
Some services are both a streaming service and a streaming platform. For example, both Facebook and Youtube are a streaming service and a streaming platform. Individuals can stream live or upload a pre-recorded video and both sites will encode to stream on their platform.
Vimeo Premium is a full streaming service and streaming platform. The Church Online Platform is a streaming platform only.
|Vimeo Premium||Free Church Online Platform|
|Stream Service + Platform||✔|
|Builds Website SEO||✔|
|Ability to Livestream||✔||✔|
Vimeo Premium is both a streaming service and a streaming platform. This means a church can pre-record a service or stream live and Vimeo Premium will encode the stream for online viewing. Vimeo also offers an embeddable video player that can be placed within your church website. Your church services can be streamed to multiple locations at the same time including Youtube, Facebook, Vimeo, and your church website. Learn how to set up Vimeo Premium for your church services.
An important benefit of Vimeo Premium is the embeddable video player. As individuals visit your church website to watch church services, you want to keep them engaged with your church website as much as possible. Offering individuals the ability to watch services right on the website gives users a seamless experience, allows them to easily explore your church website, and gives your website SEO “juice” that builds credibility with Google.
Pros: Embeddable video player, chat function, multi-stream ability, builds website SEO
Cons: Lack of private chat function, no native Bible app., multiple services takes extra effort
Church Online Platform
The Church Online Platform is a free place to send your church service streams. The Church Online Platform is made to offer those watching church services an engaging experience with features like chat, Bible app, and an opportunity for a private prayer chat. Colors on the Church Online Platform can be changed to offer users as seamless as possible a transition from the church website to the Church Online Platform location. Menu buttons like give, about, and I’m new at the top of the screen offer opportunities to send people back to the church website to engage more with your church. The Church Online Platform is free and fairly easy to download and set up.
If your church is considering this platform, it’s important to understand that you must also choose a streaming service. The Church Online Platform can receive and play your church stream, but you have to find a way to record and send your stream to this platform. They offer a list of possible streaming services your church might use.
Pros: Price (FREE), engaging viewing experience, private prayer chat, Bible app. included
Cons: Still need streaming service, Not your website, Doesn’t improve SEO
Putting it All Together
The Church Online Platform offers a helpful streaming platform for churches looking to stream but aren’t sure how to embed the stream into their website. Private prayer and a native Bible are also benefits. The need to still find a streaming service is a notable negative. Although the Church Online Platform is free, a church may end up paying for their streaming provider. Also, the fact that the platform is not on your church website is a downside. However, the Church Online Platform is still one potential church streaming solution for many churches.
Churches looking to build website traffic and reach more people online should strongly consider using Vimeo Premium. Vimeo Premium allows a church to embed on their website while pushing the stream to other locations online. This opportunity offers a church an increased ability to reach people with the message of Jesus. More streams = more potential viewers. An embedded video on your church website offers users a natural viewing experience while offering them opportunities to explore and engage deeper with your church.
If you’re looking to improve your church’s online streaming experience, we’d love to help. Schedule an appointment below with one of our experienced church growth consultants to see how Missional Marketing can help your church reach more people online.