Virtual church services: a how-to guide for engaging your church community online

March 26, 2021

Now more than ever, Christians are looking to online resources for new ways to grow their faith. That’s why, when it comes to keeping their communities connected, many churches have begun to adopt a hybrid strategy, combining virtual church services with traditional in-person gatherings. 

       

Best live streaming platform
         

   

In fact, 63% of practicing Christians want their churches to offer more digital resources for their spiritual growth! In order to provide the best online church services and other resources, pastors today are asking questions like:

  • “How can I live stream our church services online?”
  • “What’s the best online church streaming platform to help us reach the most people?”
  • “What other types of digital tools can we use to grow and disciple our community?”

Let’s take a look at answers to these questions, along with tips for building a virtual church online community, and other online engagement tools that will keep your members engaged all week long. 

       

Learn how to stream your church services online

How to stream church services online

Both large and small churches want to live stream their church services online. Fortunately, live streaming is easier than ever, and anyone (yes, anyone!) can learn how to do it. Streaming solutions range from free with limited features to dedicated church platforms that are built for maximum impact. 

To start live streaming, just follow these three simple steps!

  1. Capture: Use a camera and microphone to capture the video and audio of your stream.
  2. Encode: Use a software or hardware encoder to convert your content into usable streaming video formats.
  3. Stream: The best live streaming platforms, like Subsplash Live, allow you to stream your content simultaneously to your church’s mobile app, website, TV app, Facebook Live, and YouTube Live, all with just one click!

Looking for a more detailed walkthrough to get started with your virtual church service? Check out our guide, How to set up live streaming for your church

Church live stream tips

Getting your church’s live streaming up and running is an incredibly exciting part of your digital outreach strategy. Yet some churches find that engagement with their online audience is not what they expected. Here are some helpful tips every church should use to optimize the impact of their live streams. 

  • Broadcast to multiple streaming channels. The fact is, your church audience has a variety of preferences for watching your online church services. For example, a family at home may want to watch your services on their bigger screens through a TV app, while other individuals may prefer streaming through their smartphones on your church’s mobile app. Give your audience the best experience by using a provider like Subsplash Live to stream your services to your mobile app, church website, TV app, and other popular channels at the same time. 
  • Protect your content. Many churches don’t realize that live video platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Vimeo can take control of your church’s content. They can remove your videos, mute them, or block them altogether once they are streamed or uploaded onto their platforms. The good news is that Subsplash Media stores your video, audio, and live streams for you so you can spread gospel-centered content without restrictions. 
  • Live stream more than just your virtual church services. Consider weekly or daily live stream events, such as devotionals, small groups, words of encouragement, or Bible studies. Connecting with your church community through these types of live streams is a great way to reach them on a personal level. 
  • Select the right camera(s). While it’s possible to live stream your gatherings from your smartphone camera, that may not be providing the best experience for your audience. Fortunately, our team has done the research for churches for you! Check out our guide to the best live streaming cameras to meet your church’s needs, regardless of size or budget. 

Plus, with Subsplash Live’s new trimming feature, you can even easily edit the recording of your live streams and then publish them across all your channels. It doesn’t get any easier!

       

Grow your virtual church with Subsplash Messaging!

Build more than just an audience—create a community

People are looking for more than just a once-a-week live streaming experience. They want a place to communicate, connect, and build relationships. As a result, church staff and volunteers often pick different communication apps to message each other. It seems great at first, but soon managing all those separate apps and channels becomes a nightmare. Important conversations get lost, frustration sets in, and people stop communicating.

This is why more and more churches are choosing the best group messaging tool, Subsplash Messaging, to enhance their virtual church experiences! It enables congregants to easily stay connected with each other on any device, both through their church’s mobile app and on the web. All messaging groups, channels, and direct messages are centralized and can be managed safely and securely through the Subsplash Dashboard.

       

People spend at least 5 hours on the smartphones every day!

Go mobile

People spend more than 5 hours on their smartphones every day. Think about it—your phone is where you check the weather, send messages, watch funny videos, and stay connected with your friends and family. This is why going mobile is essential for today’s virtual church communities to stay engaged!

Consider adding these mobile-first best practices to your church’s online strategy: 

  • Use your church’s mobile app for live streaming your services, devotionals, Bible studies, etc.  
  • Add engaging content like sermon videos and Bible-reading plans to your app. These are essential for the spiritual health of your online community.
  • Keep everyone updated by adding event calendars to your app.
  • Send timely push notifications to notify your followers when an event is about to start, and include a link that will open your live stream or other content right on their phones!

       

The best online giving platforms help virtual churches encourage generosity!
 

Encourage (and enable) generosity

Part of every believer’s discipleship journey is learning to be generous through tithes and offerings. Adding an online giving solution doesn’t just increase your overall giving and delight your donors, it enables a genuine act of worship!

Most giving platforms offer a mobile app that is managed separately from your other engagement tools (like your live streaming, media, and group messaging tools). Subsplash Giving offers the best features at no monthly cost, and it’s also fully integrated into the mobile app experience, driving engagement back to your church—not to third-party apps outside of your control.

Start creating your virtual church services today!

When pastors research how to live stream church services, they are presented with a long list of disconnected live streaming providers, mobile app builders, group messaging tools, and social media platforms to choose from. The key challenge they quickly identify is managing these various tools and keeping everything aligned with their ministry goals. 

That’s why we built The Ultimate Engagement Platform™, to give you everything you need to grow and engage your church community. It broadcasts your live streams to your website, mobile app, and other popular channels for a widely accessible, fully integrated virtual church experience! 

Once your live streams end, they are automatically converted to audio and video recordings, which are added to your media library on your website and mobile app. Subsplash hosts your media for you, so you maintain complete control of your content. 

Better yet, you can use the live stream trimming tool to easily edit your videos, upload sermon artwork and your church’s branding, send push notifications, and view your website and app performance all from one dashboard! 

Want to learn more about how to grow your church and create a virtual church community? Let’s chat!

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