I never take for granted how privileged I am to use my experience and passion for digital video in a way that serves the Church.
As President of Resi Media, and now serving as Chief Ambassador for Pushpay, I’ve been blown away by the wide variety of clever streaming strategies that ministries execute. Some churches deliver a constant flow of fresh video content to their platforms; I’ve also witnessed massive engagement boosts achieved by leadership teams that commit solely to delivering live content, only available if you tune in at a designated time.
Seeing this growth and outside-the-box thinking makes me believe the future of the Church tech will be driven by the intentional ways leaders implement and generate community—with the significant caveat that, in this digital era, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to engagement.
Pushpay and Resi strive to lead from the front. We don’t simply provide digital solutions, but actively explore what technology churches need, both today and for the future.
Our annual State of Church Tech report is a big piece of that effort. This industry-leading study pinpoints the front-of-mind priorities and concerns of ministry leaders. This year, the survey included a question about where ministries are livestreaming their worship services. Unsurprisingly, 91% of churches that stream take advantage of social media, while less use embed codes on their website, event hosting platforms, and custom mobile app solutions.
But there was a complementary statistic that had my team bouncing with excitement: we also asked where churches plan to stream one year from now. Among all streaming churches, less than half intend to continue doing so on social media, while all other solutions will remain near their current level of usage.
Those figures, combined with other indicators throughout the report, signal that livestreaming won’t be abandoned by churches. Quite the contrary—streaming is a beloved and powerful tool for building the Kingdom. But leaders have realized they must refine their strategy, so that they can maximize engagement, connection, and belonging in their communities.
Controlling the User Experience
When churches direct their online users toward large video platforms—Youtube or Facebook, for example—they create a competition for attention. These sites, while simple and familiar to users, bombard viewers with status updates, recommendations, advertisements and more. Congregants may have initially tuned in to watch your sermon, but they may quickly be directed to other, more algorithm-friendly church content.
Or worse yet, they’ll click into a cat video. And who can compete with a cat video?
Many churches have recognized that, when hosting their content on large, generic social media services, their audience’s attention is being pulled in a hundred different directions. But if that same content lives on a personalized platform—say, a custom mobile app or dedicated website embed—they can control every aspect of the user experience.
Because of that dynamic, churches are actively adapting their approach to streaming. Which is a fantastic trend to see—but not the end of strategy refinement.
Communicating Direction and Intention
Since the founding of the Church, leaders have been trusted to deliver guidance to those they serve. This same mindset should apply to livestreaming. You should be intentionally leading your community toward how you want them to engage with your video content—and given the proven popularity of streaming (and digital engagement as a whole), that communication can’t be dismissed as an afterthought.
The first step is building a well-reasoned streaming strategy, tailored to the needs and goals of your ministry. For some churches, leaning into their already sprawling online community of faithful may be the trick. For others, the answer might be committing to an element of scarcity by only streaming live content on Sunday mornings. I’ve seen both tactics—and dozens of others—launch churches to new heights.
The common thread of those successes is always the emphasis leaders put into communicating intention. A well-thought-out digital engagement plan isn’t worth much if your community isn’t given direction. Share with them your vision, encourage them to be part of the journey, explain how important their participation in certain channels will be to your church’s success.
—if that last line sounded like how you emphasize engagement with your congregation for more traditional ministries… well, it was supposed to.
All that said, we never prescribe livestreaming strategies. Only your team can know what’s best for your community. What we work toward with our Resi livestreaming products, day in and day out, is creating dynamic streaming tools and features that can facilitate, elevate, and amplify the strategy you’ve decided is best for your church.
But if you’ve already begun developing a streaming plan that you believe might catapult your ministry to the next level, get in touch with our team. Together we’ll put the right tools in place to make your vision a reality.
Interested in more resources like this one? Check out these blogs!
Livestreaming Sermons 101
How to Livestream Without a Budget
The Defining Church Tech Trend of 2023
How to Fill Up Your Digital Church This Easter
You May Also Like