One of the most critical requirements for a Church that’s going online or virtual would be to have the Order of Service made available to their congregation at the same time when it used to happen during the physical gathering in the Church. The questions tries to unravel what are the ways for a Church to satisfy this need.
The most popular and free platform that’s used by Churches worldwide to stream the Order of Service online at a specific time on Sundays would be YouTube.
On YouTube, you could achieve this outcome using 2 methods:
- YouTube Premiere
This is YouTube’s version of scheduling a video later. If your Order of Service is to begin at Sunday 10 AM, you can record, edit and upload the video anytime before that and then schedule it for premiering precisely at 10 AM on Sunday. YouTube has added enough instructions on this page to explain how you can do this. You would require a YouTube channel to do this but otherwise it’s a free feature. Here’s the People’s Church announcing that they are going to conduct the sermons using YouTube Premiere:
Please note that YouTube Premiere is a one-sided experience where the audience become passive participants in the service.
- YouTube Live
YouTube Live lets you live stream your Service online to your Church congregation / members. Unlike YouTube Premiere, here the experience is not pre-recorded but telecasted live as it’s happening. YouTube requires your channel to have at least 1000 subscribers if you want to do a YouTube Live. More details can be found here.
Deciding between YouTube Premiere and YouTube Live
In my opinion, YouTube Premiere would make a lot of sense in the current scenario where most Churches are not having a physical gathering. So, you have time to prepare the content, edit it by adding appropriate call outs / titles if need be and then schedule it for the right time. On the contrary, if your requirement was to stream an experience which has a physical audience as well, it would’ve made sense to opt for YouTube Live, while ensuring that you have the internet bandwidth to conduct it without any hassles.
Other than YouTube, you could check out Zoom for live streaming. All plans on Zoom allow up to 100 participants by default in every meeting (up to 500 with Large Meeting add-on). You can host an unlimited number of meetings but if you would like to have more than one meeting concurrently, you will need additional host licenses. More details here.
You might also find other tools that cater to this requirements. I will be adding more tools to this list as and when I come across them. Cheers!