Live streaming gives churches another way to connect, but it’s also a powerful way to increase church attendance.
While you might think it just increases online attendance, it can actually boost in-church attendance as well. In fact, it boosts both, which is great for your church.
When used correctly, you can grow your church simply by live streaming your services. Plus, you’ll reach far more people.
Create A Regular Attendance Habit
The first step to increase church attendance is to make attendance a regular habit. All it takes is for a member to get sick, have to switch work schedules, or something else to take them away from regular services. Then, it’s hard for them to get back into the habit. Or, they feel like they’ve missed so much.
By live streaming your services, you give members who can’t attend, but want to, a way to continue attending. This keeps them in a habit. When they’re able to attend in-person again, they’re more likely to come back.
Of course, this isn’t just for members, though. Someone who’s not sure if church is right for them or not sure if you’re the right church can attend online to begin with. As they engage with your church more online, they create a regular habit of attending.
Once they’re comfortable, they’ll attend in-person to become an even bigger part of your church family.
Allow People To Attend From Anywhere
People are busier than ever. They work crazy hours, go to school, travel and so much more. As much as they’d love to attend every Sunday morning, they just don’t always have the time. Part of what makes them become loyal members is having a church that not only understands that, but makes it possible to worship from anywhere.
By showing new visitors, online viewers and existing members that your church is more modern and flexible, you increase church attendance. You can even set up a system that allows members to check in so you can keep track of attendance.
While some people will only ever be online visitors, you’ll discover you have regular attendees that rotate between in-person and online. Plus, you’ll have a better chance of staying in touch with those who temporarily move away, such as college students.
Showcase Your Services Live
Some churches don’t stream because they think it’s too difficult to get started. However, our guide to live streaming makes it much easier to showcase your services live.
While it’s fine, and highly recommended, to record your sermons to let people view them later, there’s something special about streaming live. Think of it as the difference between watching a sporting event live or watching it later. There’s more excitement knowing that you’re interacting with a live audience, even when you’re sitting at home.
Many people experience your church for the first time online. They check out your blog, ministry programs, history of your church and more. But, what they really want to know is what it’s actually like to attend your church.
So, show them. Increase church attendance by helping a church website visitor go from “I wonder what this church is like” to “I can’t wait to attend in person.”
It’s a pressure-free way to attend services. Providing people this option increases the chances they’ll want to start attending in-person too.
Make Your Services Interactive
If you want to make live streaming more effective, make the services interactive. No one wants to feel like they’re just on the outside looking in. Both those attending in-person and those online want to feel included.
Take time to give everyone something to do. For example, if you’re singing hymns, ask online viewers to join in on a pre-arranged video chat service. They get to participate and become part of the service versus just viewing it. You can also ask everyone to submit comments and questions throughout the service.
Then, put the best of them together as a post-sermon blog post. This encourages everyone to continue the conversation on your church website or social media.
The purpose of making services interactive is to give people a reason to keep coming back. No matter how they’re attending, they’ll keep attending.
Crosswalk has some great ideas to further help keep everyone engaged, even if they’re viewing online.
Extend Invitations To More People
Churches are always trying to come up with new ways to invite more people to church. However, the people your members invite actually are interested. They’re just afraid it’ll be too much pressure or if they don’t like it, they’ll let down their friend.
Increase church attendance by giving your members a way to extend invitations to far more people. All they have to do is share a link to the live stream session. Those they’re inviting can engage privately at home without their friend watching them the whole time.
It might seem overly simple, but invitations are more likely to be accepted if people get a chance to experience the church on their own terms first.
Plus, there’s the added bonus of getting to invite all your online viewers to come back again or even come visit in-person the next week. Your live stream is the perfect opportunity to invite people
Use Live Streaming To Increase Search Rank
To increase church attendance, you have to keep people aware of your church. One way to do this is by improving your search rank. This helps people find your website easier, including past members thinking of coming back and locals looking for the best church.
Live streaming helps improve your SEO in several ways. First, if you’re streaming from your church website, you’re showing Google you have a regular traffic, which is good news.
Second, live streaming is more engaging than just a blog post. This means you’ll have more return traffic too. Also, this gives you an attendance boost.
Finally, you can share your recorded stream on your church website. This increases traffic to both your website and Facebook page.
As a bonus, you may also increase your Facebook followers thanks to the boost in engagement. Viewers may be eager to invite others to your next live stream, leading to more Facebook followers and possibly even in-person visits.
Showcase Your Sense Of Community
One of the best parts of attending church is the feeling of community and family. Use your live streaming services to showcase this. Don’t stop at showing the pastor or your choir. Instead, pan out to show your members interacting during the services.
Also, talk about what your volunteers are currently doing. You can even let a few of them speak about current projects.
Another option is to showcase your ministry programs. In addition to live streaming regular services, stream some of your choir rehearsals. Stream Sunday school lessons and other regular activities.
The more you show that you’re a happy church family, the more that people will attend regularly. Maybe someone visited years ago, but wasn’t sure. That person could watch your live services and see that the church family they’ve been searching for is with you.
Give Viewers A Chance To Review Sermons
Live streaming gives everyone who wants to a chance to attend. But, how often do people seem distracted during services? Maybe you have the parent who had to take a fussy child out during the sermon. Or, perhaps there was a part someone didn’t hear right or would like to save to review later.
Live streaming still gives people the benefits of a live service, but saving that live stream and uploading it on your Church Sermons page gives an added benefit. Anyone who wants to can review your sermons.
While it might not sound like a big deal, it provides more depth and connection for many people. Think of it like watching an episode of a favorite TV show. Each time you watch the episode, you discover something new.
You can even go a step further and create blog posts going more in-depth into certain areas of your sermons. You could also allow those reviewing sermons to submit questions or even hold a live stream Q&A session a few days after services.
Provide Prayer Requests Live
When someone attends church, they want to feel like they’re part of a family that cares about them. But, when they can’t attend in-person, they might feel forgotten. This is where live streaming can help increase church attendance.
Ask members and online viewers to submit prayer requests a day or two before services. This gives you time to organize everything.
Then, at some point during your live stream, read out prayer requests live. All those who can’t attend in-person will feel much closer together knowing that you’re thinking of them and praying for them.
It’s a simple gesture that goes a long way toward keeping people more connected. It’s this connect that makes people want to attend much more regularly.
Ask Members To Stay Hello
Improve engagement and increase attendance by introducing your in-person and online viewers. Sure, your live stream introduces viewers to the pastor and their style of preaching. It also shows what to expect during services. What it doesn’t show is what the rest of the church family is like.
That’s a big unknown and may make potential in-person attendees stick with viewing from home. Also, showing your in-person members more helps your online viewers feel more connected.
But, try to go beyond just panning out over your attendees. Actually let people in your church speak to those watching from home. Set up a pre-services live streaming session where you interview one or two members or even just have them stop by to say hello and introduce themselves.
Ask online viewers to send in video clips or even schedule sessions to say hello to those attending in-person. This brings your entire church family, online and offline, closer together and boosts attendance for everyone involved.
Show Occasional Visitors What They’re Missing
Every church has that set of occasional visitors. These are the ones who only come if their loved one has a solo in the choir that week or there’s a special event or holiday going on. If you want to increase church attendance for this set of visitors or members, you’ll need to show them what they’re missing.
Ask your members and online viewers to reach out to anyone they know who only attends church on special occasions. Have them invite them to your next live stream.
Then, during your live stream, show them how engaging and interactive your regular services really are. Take a moment to speak directly to them too. Invite them to start attending just one service in-person each month or if they live far away, attend at least one live stream a month.
By starting off slow, they’re more likely to attend. Then, as they discover all they’re missing, they’ll attend more regularly.
Give Members Reasons To Attend All Week
So far, we’ve mainly talked about live streaming normal Sunday services and some special events. But, attendance doesn’t have to just be once or twice a week.
For some of your members and online viewers, Sunday services aren’t an option, live streaming or not. Their schedules just won’t allow them to stream live.
However, your church can use live streaming sessions throughout the week. Hold mini-services of 30 minutes on Tuesdays and Fridays or have special children’s sessions on Saturdays. The idea is to give people more ways to attend.
You can have these special sessions in church as well as online. However, that’s completely up to your church and depends on any events that may be being held, such as weddings. But, adding some more live streaming to your week helps increase church attendance, even if it’s just for those mini-sermon sessions.
Live streaming is powerful way to grow your church and increase attendance. But, you need a great church website to send people to for more information or view recorded services. Contact us today to see how we can help you create an amazing and engaging church website today.