Before you host your first live streaming church service, you’ll want to build in a little time to prepare. Set yourself up for success with a quick but thorough checklist for your live stream event. 

By spending a few extra moments preparing, you have a better chance of pulling off an error free live stream. 

The day before you go “live” checklist

Around 24-hours before your event, you will want to review that everything is in place and possibly do a dry run. But first, the logistics. 

Invites and registrations

If you’ve invited congregants to your event via link, make sure everything is in the calendar the way you want it. Double check event timings, description, attendee list and any other information.

Live streaming solutions like Faith Online manage this process in one place with an easy-to-use calendar to manage your church events. You can also keep track of responses, send updates, and manage multiple streaming destinations in one place.

Prepare materials

  • Have your live stream event title and description ready. Make sure it clearly tells attendees what to expect
  • Anticipate as accurately as possible, the time you will need: Get an idea of the time each section of the live service will last, and identify any potential gaps to avoid. 
  • Check if all additions to your video are ready to go: text captions, images, audiovisual content and graphics you may use on-screen.
  • If you’re going to feature multiple speakers or performers, make sure the “director” and guest speakers know their role and timings.
  • If there are remote guests or church members who will speak, do a test log in to make sure they can connect with audio before you start

Camera placement

  • Pick a camera location that will ensure an optimal view of the church event.
  • Check for potential distractions or disruptions when placing your camera for the live stream. This includes background noise, lighting, and people interference free location.
  • For a more advanced introduction to camera placement and shot selection techniques, check out our guide to shot selection

Prepare and check your platform settings

The platform you use could be Facebook, YouTube, or some other streaming destination but, independently of the platform, you must:

  • Make sure you’re able to live stream on it! For example, to live stream on YouTube channel, you must activate the live streaming feature, which takes up to 24-hours
  • Make sure you have the proper privacy settings
    • If only invited members can watch, make sure to mark the event as private in
    • Set the event to public if you want anyone with the link to watch
  • Ensure the encoder bitrate and quality settings are correct for your platform and internet speed.
  • Get a good profile picture and cover image for your church on each platform.
  • Because of the different resolution they use for streaming, your stream may look great on some platforms while looking worse on others with the same settings, so ensure that you use your original video feed as the highest quality stream.

If you use Faith Online in combination with our booking feature, you can manage all of this in one place. Faith Online takes care of the details like the encoder bitrate, so you simply set up an event like you would any in-person event.

Test all your live stream equipment

A man checks his mic to make sure it is working

Be sure to test the equipment beforehand to ensure it works and have a backup for each device if possible. If you are new to streaming or video production, stick to tried and tested equipment that gets the job done. Not checking compatibility is often an overlooked issue with new equipment. Ideally, you have also tested your internet in advance to ensure you have a fast enough connection to support your live stream.

We suggest you test the following equipment: 

  • Microphones (audio if often more difficult to troubleshoot than video)
  • Camera
  • Secondary Cameras 
  • Mobile device/Laptop
  • Other video and audio recording equipment

Other tests to run:

  • Make sure you are able to monitor the live stream video from a reliable device. 
  • Watch the stream from different devices and ensure it works on mobile devices.
  • Check battery life on all the devices
  • In case of a multi-camera setup, test the different cameras possibly with someone on the ground who can confirm.

Practice with a dry run

Equally important to testing everything separate, is testing everything together using live video monitoring. This will check if all your equipment, material, software and platform work well together. If possible, do a dry run of the entire session, or at least long enough to make sure everything is working as it should.

Get someone on your team watch the broadcast of your trial run, or better still record the dry run. After you record, watch for the following and make adjustments as necessary:

  • Watch and analyse for any errors
  • Review if sound or light issues impact the stream quality
  • Identify any timing gaps

Woman performs a song into a mic in a dry run before an event

Always have a backup plan

Planning for unforeseen events is not always possible. Thus the ever important Plan B. In other words, a well-devised backup plan can help in case of emergency. The most important thing might be a backup internet connection, but backup gear, batteries or power sources can also be vital. 

  • If someone accidentally goes wrong with the microphone, have a backup phone or PC camera ready to go so you can still have audio in your live stream 
  • Familiarise yourself with what you can do to monitor and improve the stream while it’s live
  • Have a process you can follow if a viewer’s stream isn’t working – what steps can you follow to address their problem and what questions do you need to ask them?
  • In the event something goes wrong with the live streaming service, know who you can contact for help. 
  • “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” Yes, that age-old advice can sometimes do the trick even in wireless modern devices as well. Restart your internet modem, mobile devices, and streaming software, and see if the problem goes away. You can also try uninstalling and reinstalling any problematic software apps.
  • Check your streaming device’s connection speed

To see if your streaming device is having connection problems, run a speed test on it by following the instructions below for whatever device you’re using.

Free platforms can leave you stranded from a lack of technical support. Paid services like Faith Online offer support teams, customisation and advanced technical advice. If you have signed up for a live streaming service, it’s good to know contact details so you can work even faster toward a resolution.

Time to Go Live: Final Preparations

Check that you have everything you will need during the service. Specially in case of longer live sessions, it makes sense to ensure that you have an adequate supply of things you might need. Make sure everything you need during the event is prepared and in readiness prior to going live. 

  • Notes
  • Water
  • Any medical or food supplies
  • Mobile devices
  • Props, slides or books

Ultimately keep in mind the purpose of your live stream. Try to relax and focus on interacting with your audience. It’s time to focus on engaging your church members just as you would in person, and ensuring that the live stream has an overall sense of cohesion.