Live Video for Your Church: Periscope & Facebook Live

Live Video for Your Church: Periscope & Facebook Live

September 8, 2015 by

Two things are changing the way we connect, communicate and consume media: mobile and video.

In terms of mobile, we have billions of devices (over 6 billion) and faster 4G networks that cover more areas around the world. Additionally, Google and Facebook have started initiatives to bring mobile connectivity to the most remote places using air balloons and drones.

In terms of video, everyone is now carrying a powerful media devices that can record, edit and distribute videos faster than ever.

“Each time they turn on the app it’s a ministry opportunity.”

These two technology advancements have created a major opportunity for mobile ministry and new ways to reach people anytime, anyplace.

How Live Video Works

The past few weeks I have seen my pastor, Bishop T.D. Jakes, use video in new ways to reach hundreds of thousands of people. The interesting thing about this is not that he is using traditional videos or sermon clips to reach people, it’s that he is now using live video to speak to the masses in real time and pour into their lives daily. He has realized that video is a powerful medium to impact people and when you add a live component to the experience, there’s a genuine component that takes the experience to another level.

The next question, of course, is how to do it well.

How to Rock Live Video

Initially, Bishop Jakes used Periscope, a live streaming mobile app that’s built into the Twitter platform, to communicate in real time. But Facebook Live, which is tied to our ministry Facebook fan page, had an even bigger impact than Periscope.

Facebook Live, which is the live streaming mobile tool built into the Facebook Mentions app, allows verified public figures to stream live right onto Facebook. (You need to be a verified public figure on your fan page, so that might be limiting for most churches.) When Bishop Jakes would live stream using Facebook Live, it would notify people right in their Facebook news feed and give them the opportunity to tune in.

But, the real value of Facebook Live was in the visibility of the video once it was complete. It would be saved on the Facebook page and could be viewed over and over. This allowed a live ministry opportunity to turn into a recurring ministry tool as more and more people watched the video right on our Facebook page. (Periscope videos can also be saved with Katch.)

How Your Church Can Do Live Video

  • Basic Quality: No one wants to watch you try to walk down the street while talking to your phone. Try to find somewhere stationary to talk to people. Your audience wants to actually focus on you and hear what you are saying. If you are moving around a lot, distracted or not talking directly to your audience then they’re going to lose interest.
  • Engage, Not Length: Normally, two to three minutes is a good time for videos, but when it’s live, you can focus on engaging with the crowd and not limiting it based on time. If you want to start your broadcast, interact with people and then talk for two minutes, that’s fine as well.
  • What Do You Talk About?: This is kind of like asking what to tweet or blog about. Just talk about anything relevant to you and your viewers. My pastor talked about his new book and how it could help his viewers. He also offered encouragement to the viewers. But the thing they appreciated most was him giving them “shout outs” as they let him know where they were viewing from! Real time crowd participation and acknowledgment is amazing. For your church, topics might include a preview of the upcoming sermon, a behind the scenes look at your worship team practicing or even just a conversation about relevant current events.
  • Archived Video: Periscope and Facebook Live both record your broadcasts and allow people to re­watch it at a later time. Facebook has a much larger audience so this gets out to more people, but there’s nothing like real time, live interaction with someone. That’s the real benefit of Periscope and Facebook Live and what differentiates them from YouTube.
“Real time crowd participation and acknowledgment is amazing.”

Give Live Video a Shot

Try live video and see how people respond. They just want to see what a typical day is like for you and hear words of encouragement that can help them better their lives. They just want more access to the church leaders they trust, admire and care about.

Periscope and the newly released Facebook Mentions Live Video are the continuous steps toward an always connected, always broadcasting, always communicating audience. People have realized that every person with Periscope or Facebook Live becomes a major live media distributor. Each time they turn on the app it’s a ministry opportunity. There are many video platforms that allow anyone to record videos and broadcast to people, but only a few have risen to the top and incorporate the live aspect to reach people in real time, anywhere, any place on any device.


Post By:

Jason Caston

Jason Caston is the author of The iChurch Method and an Internet church strategist. In addition to speaking and teaching around the world, he enjoys spending time with his family while using an Apple product to browse Google software.
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