However, going live isn’t something we should do just because everyone else is doing it.
Using live video can be part of a church strategy that aims to cater to the different people in the community. Whether for work, health or family reasons, people around us have different needs and responsibilities that mean attending a service or event on a set day, or at a particular location, is not always possible. Live video enables us to take Church to them - wherever they are - and can help us build a relationship with those we may otherwise have never met.
Before we talk about how, what could you go live for?
Some of the churches we've met through our digital training have used these ideas to go live:
- The sermon from a service
- A thought for the day from the vicar or a member of the church
- A reflection or prayer for the community mid-week
- During preparation for an event to create interest and excitement for what’s to come
- At an event showing what’s happening or during a special item
- An update or a good news story
- An interview with a speaker or a member of the church.
If you include music in your video, you need to have the correct licences in place. Guidance on this is included below.
Which platforms should you choose to go live on depends on the purpose of your live broadcast and what platforms your community use.
A general good rule to follow is
- For meetings or events where you'd like direct interaction or privacy, such as social gatherings, prayer meetings or bible studies, a video conferencing platform such as Zoom, Google meet or Skype is ideal.
- For public gatherings, services or events, where you want to gather a crowd, or video clips that you would like to share with a broad audience, use a social media platform such as Facebook, YouTube or Instagram. Choose whichever platform your community frequently use to make it easier for them to find.
Read on to find out how to go live, ideas for promoting your live video, and some important considerations to help you feel confident before you start.
How to go live
Each social media offers the ability to go-live for free using the app or from your browser. Find out how below.
Go live from your Facebook mobile app:
- Go to your church Facebook page from your mobile
- Select Create Post at the top of the news feed
- Press the three dots in the post panel … then click Live Video
- Write a description about your live video
- Click Go Live in the bottom right
- When finished, your video will be saved to your content library in Facebook Creator Studio
- During or after the Live, go through the comments and reply to show that you value their time and encourage them to watch again next time.
Schedule a Live Video Broadcast
- Go to Live Producer.
- Select Schedule a Live Video in the left-hand column.
- Choose the Date and Time of your live broadcast.
- Set up the rest of your scheduled broadcast as you would when you Set Up a Live Video Post.
- Select an image to accompany the announcement post. The ideal image ratio is 1.91:1.
- Click Schedule Live Video to schedule your broadcast.
Your Live video will begin automatically at scheduled start time. You must go Live within 10 minutes of the scheduled time or your video will be canceled.
You can preview your stream 20 minutes before the scheduled start time. To access your stream, select Edit Post in the Upcoming Live Videos tab to make sure your stream is properly set up before going Live.
Upcoming Live Videos
You can see and make changes to your upcoming scheduled videos within the Upcoming Live Videos tab. To manage your upcoming videos:
- Select Upcoming Live Videos in the left-hand column.
- Click Edit Post to make changes to your post. You can also change the date and time of your scheduled broadcast.
- Click View Post to see your post in a new browser tab.
- Click Go Live Now to go Live.
- Click to copy your Live video URL or to cancel your broadcast.
Find more tips for churches on going Live on Facebook, here
Explore Facebook resources for live-streaming events, here
Before you go live on YouTube, you’ll need to enable live streaming
- Confirm that your channel is verified and that you have no live stream restrictions in the last 90 days
- To live stream on mobile, your channel will need to have at least 1,000 subscribers in addition to the requirement above. There are no restrictions for those streaming from a computer.
Enable live streaming:
- On a desktop, go to Creator Studio tools, then go to the Live Streaming tab
- On the YouTube app on mobile, create a live stream.
Note: Enabling a live stream for the first time may take up to 24 hours. Once enabled, your stream can go live instantly.
To schedule a live video:
- Click the camera upload icon in the upper right-hand corner
- Click Go Live
- At the top, select Webcam
- Enter a title and description. Write clear, descriptive titles and descriptions to encourage more viewers
- Schedule your live stream for a later date
- Click More options > Advanced Settings for more settings
- Click Save. Your camera will then take a thumbnail
- Click Share to copy the link to share on social media, in an email or to embed on your website.
To start the scheduled live video:
- Just before the scheduled time, click the camera upload icon in the upper right-hand corner
- Click Go Live, then Manage to find your scheduled Live video
- Click Go Live on your scheduled video
- When you've finished, click End Stream at the bottom. All streams under 12 hours will be automatically archived. You can access previous, current and upcoming streams in the Live tab.
Share the video link:
- Go to the camera upload icon in the upper right-hand corner
- Click Go Live
- At the top, select Manage
- Click on ... beside your scheduled live video
- Click Share
- Using the share link, embed the video on your website or A Church Near You profile.
Go live on Instagram using the app:
- From your church Instagram profile, tap the camera in the top left of the screen or swipe right from anywhere in Feed
- Scroll along to Live at the bottom of the screen,
- Tap description to tell your viewers what you'll be talking about
- Then tap the circular button
- The number of viewers appears at the top of the screen and comments appear at the bottom
- Tap Comment to add a comment, and tap a comment and tap Pin Comment to pin it so that viewers can see it more easily
- To turn comments off, tap the three dots then select Turn Off Commenting
- When you're done, tap End in the top right then tap to confirm. From there, you can tap the downwards arrow in the top left to save it to your camera roll, or share it to your story.
- Keep in mind that when you save your live video to your camera roll, only the video is saved, and comments, likes and viewers. It may take a minute for your live video to save to your phone, especially for longer videos.
Read more tips on going Live on Instagram, here
How to go live on Twitter:
- Tap the camera icon from the composer
- Tap Live at the bottom selector
- To go live with audio but not video, tap the microphone at the top right. This will turn off the camera, and you’ll be heard by viewers, but not seen
- Fill in an optional description that will appear as a Tweet, and a location if desired.
- To invite guests before going live, tap Invite guests to select or search for people to join your broadcast
- Tap the profile icon of the guests you want to join
- Tap Save
- Tap Go live. Your live broadcast, with description and location (if added), will appear in a Tweet in your follower's timeline and on your profile.
How to end a live video:
- You can end a live video at any time by pressing the Stop button on the top left and confirming your action in the menu that comes up.
For more tips on going live on Twitter, visit the Twitter help centre, here
Zoom can be used for meetings, services and events where attendees join using the Zoom meeting link and password. Enabling live-streaming can allow you to broadcast the meeting to a social media platform, enabling more people to watch without joining the meeting. It's a simple option enabling churches to have multiple participators, screen share videos, presentations and conversations with a wider audience.
Learn how to use Zoom for meetings, events and services, here
To live-stream from Zoom to Facebook, first you'll need to enable the setting
- This feature is available on Zoom pro accounts
- Sign in to the Zoom web portal
- Click Account Management then Account Settings
- Toggle the Allow live streaming the meetings under In Meeting (Advanced), and enable Facebook.
Starting a live stream to Facebook during a Zoom meeting
- Start your meeting
- In the meeting/webinar controls, click More
Click Live on Facebook
- Your default browser will open and you will be prompted to log into Facebook if you aren't already logged in
- Sign in to Facebook
- Choose where on Facebook you would like to Go Live
- Click Next.
- If you are not able to start the live stream, clear your browser's cache and cookies, then try again.
- Zoom does not support the new Facebook Live Producer. If you see a notification to try to the new Live Producer, click Dismiss.
- When you are ready to start the broadcast on Facebook, click Go Live
- Just remember, after going-live, everything in the meeting will be viewed on social media in the live broadcast.
During Zoom meetings, attendees can chat privately 1:1, as well as with the whole group. This feature can be turned on or off. A general good rule for this is:
- Leave on for a private meeting where 1:1 conversations may support the whole discussion, where you know all the attendees and everyone is comfortable having the function turned on
- A public service where this feature may be distracting or open to abuse should have this function disabled
- The function must always be disabled if children or young people are attending.
Find out how to turn off private chat here.
A few considerations
Copyright. Make sure you have the correct permissions to use copyrighted materials in your video, including music, images and literature. Read our information on copyright and licences below.
GDPR and photo permissions. Have you gained consent from those who will feature in the video? Read more about image permissions in our Safer Environment and Activities guidance.
Plan before you go live. What are you going to talk about? How long will it be? Make a plan and try it out beforehand - you won’t be able to plan for everything, but you’ll feel more confident and relaxed if you have.
Choose the right platform for your community. We’ve listed a few different ways to go live, but you don’t need to try them all. Choose a platform which your community regularly use to make it easy for them to watch and participate.
Read more tips on going live here.
Guidance on licences for churches
When using copyrighted material including music in a live-streamed service, each church is required to have a licence. We have included some useful information here to give some guidance, however, please do contact CCLI, PRS and One Licence for more detailed advice for your church.
Services with live music performances
CCLI introduced a streaming licence in mid-March 2020. It is available to any church which holds a CCLI Church Copyright Licence, which the majority of Church of England churches do. For many churches, this licence will cover them for their streaming activity:
- For churches who are streaming their services via YouTube or Facebook, the CCLI Streaming Licence will cover them for live worship music performed as part of that stream. (This would include services streamed or webcast via YouTube but embedded into the church’s own website).
- You can check on the CCLI website as to whether permissions for a particular hymn or song are covered by them.
- If the church is hosting the stream/webcast on their own website, they will need the PRS for Music Limited Online Music Licence (LOML) in addition to the CCLI Streaming Licence.
- The CCLI Streaming Licence includes the right to show the words on screen.
- The CCLI Streaming Licence allows a church to make recordings of the services available on their website indefinitely provided you keep renewing your streaming licences.
- These licences cover ‘live’ music performances. If a church is using recorded music as part of the stream, additional rights come into play. Commercially available CDs or music recordings cannot be played unless specific permission is granted by the copyright holder.
Services using recorded music
CCLI now offers an additional licensing option for churches who are streaming their services and wish to use pre-recorded backing tracks or artists recordings.
- The Streaming Plus Licence option adds the right to play music recordings as part of the stream.
- This is ideal for many smaller churches who either don’t have the musicians to play live every week, or it is technically difficult.
- For larger churches, it will enable them to incorporate multi-tracks (stems, loops, community tracks) in their worship.
- This licence will enable churches to play backing tracks or artist recordings from a large and growing number of authorised publishers.
- The Streaming Plus Licence can be purchased outright if the church holds the CCLI Church Copyright Licence, or churches with the standard Streaming Licence can upgrade on a pro-rata basis.
Do get in touch with CCLI for more information, or to answer any questions.
- Another licence, One Licence is available and covers an additional range of church and choral music e.g. Taize, GIA Publications, Oxford University Press, Wild Goose Resource Group, Kevin Mayhew.
- The Church of England uses both a One Licence and CCLI Streaming Licence for the weekly online services to enable access to a broad range of Christian music.
- The same rules described above over seeking permission for ‘recorded’ performance still apply.
Rights-free music from the Church of England, St Martin in the Fields and the Royal School of Church Music
- The Church of England, working with St Martin-in-the-Fields and the Royal School of Church Music, is providing a resource of rights-free music for Church of England churches to use on streamed services, via the A Church Near You resource hub providing you have a CCLI Streaming Licence. Read the press release for more details.
- There are several other Christian organisations that provide apps or software that provide backing tracks for worship, some of which are giving churches permission to use their pre-recorded tracks as part of their streams. Please carefully check first before using this material.
Using other copyrighted material
- Permission should also be sought from the owner(s) of any other creative works included in the service. If reproducing bible verses, or liturgy, usually there will be copyright information in the front of the publication, and usually they will allow for a certain proportion to be reproduced.
- For any images etc. the same rules would apply as in normal circumstances. Never assume that you can take an image found on Google and use it in a church service or include it in a service sheet or similar without permission. Read our guidance on using images here.
- Regarding a Service Sheet, as long as there are appropriate licences/permissions in place, making that service sheet available online should be fine.
Using Zoom to stream services
- Churches using Zoom to stream services need both the CCLI Streaming Licence and the PRS for Music LOML. This is because Zoom doesn’t currently have an agreement with PRS for Music as YouTube and Facebook do.
Church Digital Champion