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The second guest in their line up was someone I was already familiar with. His name is Tom Sinclair from Streaming Idiots YouTube channel. His videos have helped me in the past with live streaming solutions so I was interested to hear him speak about using Facebook live for church services.
So in this article, I will give you not only the key takeaways that I got from his presentation but also how I have also seen what he shares work with our own Facebook strategy to start and grow our church.
Tom Sinclair – Facebook Live For Church Services
Basic Requirements For Using Facebook Live For Church Services
It may seem like a no brainer but, I thought I should make sure that you have all the basics covered before you start live streaming to Facebook.
First and foremost you need a Facebook page for your church. It is not enough to just live stream to your personal page. Later we will discuss how to gather people to watch your Facebook Live stream and if you do not have a church Facebook page, then the strategy won’t work.
You can read my article on growing a church with Facebook to find out more about how to do this.
Capability To Stream To Facebook Live
Again this is a basic but you need to have this in place before you get started. Just using a smartphone is not going to cut the mustard. You need to be set up with at least a simple setup in order to use Facebook Live effectively. Here are some articles that will help you get set up.
Getting People To Watch Your Facebook Live Stream
It is not enough to just post a video on Facebook and expect people to watch it. You need a strategy to get both your church members and their friends and family to watch your live stream.
The first thing is that you need to embrace technology rather than seeing it as a distraction. I personally believe that God desired for us to discover the technology to live stream. He even allowed us to discover the use of social media. All of this can be used for His purposes.
Stop Hating The Cell Phone
In most churches across America that I have been in, they always ask their congregations to turn off or silence their cell phones. Instead, why not embrace them? Use them to spread the word about your church.
Recently I shared with a fellow pastor in our local community about this opportunity. He didn’t want to change. He didn’t see the value in what I was suggesting to him. That is until I started planting our church and started asking people to use what Facebook calls “check-ins.”
When he saw people in our church checking in on Facebook and how that was spreading a free advertisement for our church Facebook page, guess what happened? Yep, his church started using check-ins.
Using Facebook Check-ins
Facebook Check-ins are easy to get your people to do. All you do is ask them to open up Facebook on their phone. Have them tap “What’s on your mind” and then select “Check-In” Automatically it will see where the person is located using GPS and give them the option to select your church.
Once they check-in, then all the people on their friend’s list will see that they are at your church. That will cause their friends to possibly think, wow, Bob goes to church? Or Gee, what type of church would allow Jane to attend?
Whatever they think, for some people it will cause curiosity. They will want to find out more about where their friend or relative is. They will click the link to your church’s Facebook page.
Using Your Facebook Page Live Stream
Once they get on your church’s Facebook page, they will see your posts and they will see your videos, including the current live stream that is going on. Now, most people will want to snoop. They will want to check out what type of church Bob or Jane goes to.
All this curiosity is a good thing. It is the bait you are using to catch fish.
Benefits Of Live Streaming On Facebook
The biggest benefit of live streaming on Facebook is that people get a virtual back row seat to check out your church. From that seat, they will see.,,
- Is the church a safe place to explore their spiritual needs?
- Are there seats available for them or their family?
- Does it have a nice atmosphere and look appealing?
- Is the lighting and the sound good?
These are things that they probably will not even consciously think about yet will be a part of their decision making process all the same.
Some of the things they will think about are these…
- Would I be comfortable at this church? Are these people like me?
- Are their kids? (The question can be asked regardless if the person likes kids or not.)
- Do people seem friendly?
Finally, live streaming opens the doors to two other benefits that are more evangelistically orientated.
First, you open the doors to what I call divine appointments. This is the instance where Tom describes a person seeing one of their friend’s check-ins 30 minutes after it was posted. They go check out the church Facebook page, open the live stream, and at that moment the Pastor is sharing a sermon that is exactly what they were needing at that moment. It was a God-ordained appointment.
The second example is that we all know people hate coming to a new place. It makes it much easier if a friend comes with you.
With them having seen one of their friends or relatives are already coming to your church, and them having already experienced what church is like, it makes it much easier for them to come and join your worship services. The fear of what to expect has been eliminated.
Why Should You Use Facebook Live For Church Services?
Besides the great commission of preaching the gospel to the entire world, there are a couple of other reasons why your church should use Facebook Live for church services.
Pastoral Care Of Your Flock
Care for the elderly and shut-ins. Some of your flock may be too old to get out anymore to attend services. As the boomer generation gets older, this will become even a greater need.
By you live streaming you are providing an easy way for those people to stay connected and for you to still encourage them on Sunday morning. All it takes is your Facebook Live stream and a tablet they can watch it from even if they are bedridden.
For those who are sick, they can watch the live stream as well. You can still invest in their life on Sunday. For those on vacation, it helps keep them connected to the church. The same for those who are snowbirds who only attend your church part of the year.
Keeping people connected to your church when they either cannot come or will be away for a time is important.
Most churches do not live stream to make money. In fact, it takes a while to see a financial return on your live stream.
Tom talks about those who are elderly in his church who when they pass, will give a donation to the church in their will. The live stream helped keep them connected and caring about what is happening with their church.
He also talked about how people will donate to the church who are regular viewers of the live stream. He mentioned you can set up a donate button on Facebook or direct them to your online giving page on your church website.
Over the years I have received online donations because of my ministry. Every little bit helps, and pretty soon your investment in live streaming equipment will be returned.
But most importantly, your investment in the kingdom of God will be returned in lives changed due to the Facebook Live stream of your church services.