Video Streaming 101: How to Get Started

As technology grows, streaming sermons and church conferences has become far more popular. It’s a great way to connect with those who cannot be physically in the building, for a variety of reasons, or those who wish to connect to the message on other days. So it’s no surprise that streaming the worship service has also become a consideration for many churches.

Streaming a worship service is full of its own unique challenges. Namely, how do you get the same immersive sound quality over streaming? The short answer is, you won’t. Due to acoustics and the way sound is transferred over the Internet, there is no way for a streamed worship service to sound as good as it will in person. But there are many tools that can help you get the best quality possible.


Many churches start with a webcam, which is the basic tool used for streaming. This isn’t the best option for sound or video quality, but it is the most affordable. If this is the best option for your church, then the best you can do is to choose a high quality external webcam. Do not rely on the cam inside a laptop; the quality will be far too poor to use.

Here are some good options if you’re considering a webcam:

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The defining feature of all these? HD. If you’re going the webcam route, be sure you get an HD compatible model.

Basic Setup for a Live Stream

The best basic setup for live streaming includes a camera, a dedicated microphone, a video hosting service (ideally one that distributes the content as well), and an online streaming platform. You could also use a video editing software of some sort, but that isn’t necessary to get a great basic streaming set up. is one such online streaming platform that allows worship teams to send their messages out to those who wish to tune in remotely. There is a free trial, so you can give their services a go for 30 days (at least three church services). Their service can be combined with WordPress, so you can feature the service right on your church’s blog.

Others include Streamspot, ChurchVU, Sunday Streams, Church Streaming, and even YouTube Live.

Recording a Stream

If you want to stream live, and offer that stream as a recorded archive for later viewing, you’ll also need some kind of recording equipment or software. Many streaming platforms automatically create an archive for you, but you’ll need to be sure they do so, before trusting the process to their service. The best way may be to simply set your video camera up to record while you stream.

Once you’ve recorded your stream, you can upload it to a number of video hosting services. YouTube is by far the most popular online hosting tool. Vimeo is also a consideration, especially if you don’t want to have YouTube ads (which you cannot control the content of) before your stream.

By setting up these basic tools, you can reach disabled members of your congregation, those on vacation, or those who are homebound due to inclement weather. You can also draw in visitors who feel more comfortable checking out your services from their own homes before they come in to the building. Your worship service won’t be as impressive over a stream, but with careful attention to the location of your camera and audio feed, you can still get the message through to a wider audience.


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