It’s true that churches all over the world are facing a crisis of membership.
Due to the pandemic, the number of church attendees have significantly dropped. Approximately, only 24% of Americans visited churches or synagogues every week in 2020. On the other side, for the first time, more Americans listened to podcasts weekly than physically attended church services weekly. And in April 2020, 22% of US priests and pastors decided to continue their practice of live streaming their worship service or sermon. Such adaptation allows churches to keep on providing help and sharing wisdom with people who need it the most.
Not all churches are falling victim to lower attendance; on average Protestants are continually reporting steady attendance, though fewer and fewer Americans are actually identifying as Protestant. Ultimately, total numbers for Protestants are in decline. Churches that are bucking the trend of falling church attendance are those reaching out through social media, apps, technology, and live streaming.
But, it makes intuitive sense, doesn't it?
If you want to reach a younger audience, you must speak to them in a language they understand. For today's youth, that means technology. They live in a world of Snapchat, Vine, Twitter, and YouTube. If this is how Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X are interacting with each other, the traditional ways of their parents' and grandparents' churches simply won't speak to them.
It's time for churches to make a change. Not in message, but how that message is delivered.
👀 Finding a place for new technology in your church
Instead of focusing on adhering strictly to the traditional in-person-only format, churches should focus on attracting new members and reaching existing members in new ways. By centering church efforts on attracting and engaging with the community in new ways, you show them that a good, moral message can still be engaging, fun, and meaningful.
One way to do this is to interact with this audience on social media, through live video, GIFs, and Snaps that speak to their hearts and digital desires simultaneously. Likewise, many successful churches are adopting new tools for worship including bible study apps for smart devices. These approaches support the changing worship style of young generations while ensuring that the community built around the congregation is strengthened.
🤔 How live streaming church services benefit your congregation
Live streaming is an interactive broadcast of video on one or multiple, various online social platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. Live streaming incorporates live commenting and chatting to help spur engagement. For several years now, video content online has been taking over as the most engaging and popular on the internet.
Live streaming allows your congregation to enjoy a more casual atmosphere and experience a greater level of openness. And by embracing modern music and technology many churches have already established connection with youthful vivacity. In other words, live streaming is a simple change churches can make in order to free younger people from the rigid rituals and judgement of more traditional churches.
1. Why use live video on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter?
Facebook's umbrella of social tools and YouTube are far and away the world's most popular social networks. Of the top 6 social apps by user count and engagement, Facebook products fill 3 of the highest slots. YouTube comes in second only to Facebook's main platform itself.
Both Facebook and YouTube, as well as a number of other popular networks like Twitter, have live video options and adoption of this technology is impressive. YouTube has more than 2 billion of active monthly users, whereas Facebook has nearly gotten to the point of 3 billion. That shows it only makes sense to take the opportunities these platforms have to offer.
2. Improve accessibility
Nearly half of the world’s population have social media accounts. If you want to reach your audience, whatever age they are, you must meet them where they are—online.
As more and more people seek new ways of building their spirituality, they are searching for connection all over the web. Consequently, there is a growing opportunity to reach your congregation and new members with live streams. Live video of church services, prayer groups, or bible studies can be streamed on numerous engaging social platforms simultaneously using tools like Restream. Believers can worship at home, on their commutes, in a cafe, or in the park.
3. Strengthen community
Social media at its very foundation is meant to facilitate connection and communication. This fundamental function allows you to connect to members of the church and for them to connect easily with one another. Ed Stetzer at Christianity Today highlights, "[t]hrough Facebook and Twitter or through a church blog, I can easily communicate directly with the people in my congregation, throughout the day and week" and "[t]hrough social media, a new attendee can connect to other church members before he or she ever has a chance to meet at a church gathering or a small group." Because it is a powerful tool to connect community, church leaders who are serious about strengthening roots within the community should prioritize social media, content, and spreading their message through these channels.
🤩 How to make the most of live streaming
Considering the number of people using YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms each day, it would be great if you were able to reach out to all of them at the same time. Luckily, with Restream you can broadcast your live services to all of the platforms mentioned above and even more! In fact, you can multistream to as many platforms as you want, greatly increasing your audience reach.
Besides the ability to stream to multiple platforms at the same time, with Restream Studio, you can start your live sessions directly from your browser in a matter of a few clicks. It allows you to invite guests in a simple and straightforward fashion and has a built-in cross-platform chat to help you effectively engage with all your viewers from different platforms. Restream Studio has many more interesting features — try it for yourself!
With an effective live stream strategy, you can build a powerful presence online to spread your message, reach your congregation, and connect with other believers.