Would you replace live streaming with pre-recorded sermons?

Okay, so when it comes to technology for churches and ministry, I’m usually more focused on improving operations in the church office because when a church office melds technology, ministry, and process automation well… that tends to rub off on everything else.


That said, I get asked a lot about video and live-streaming. 🤷 Now, I wouldn’t claim that church AV is a specialty of mine, but I have been around it a lot during my 20 years in ministry and these days I do manage live-streams and church video on a weekly basis.

Even with my experience level, Liam Neeson sums up my average Sunday morning:

live stream i will find you, and i will make you work - taken meme | Meme  Generator

So, let me offer my biggest piece of advice:

Don’t live stream, pre-record and release your sermon

and announcements only! 😎

I get it, that’s going to be super-duper controversial as live streaming has become a Sunday staple, but let me lay out some reasons:

  • 🤦 Technical issues aren’t going to derail you on Sunday morning (stuff goes wrong when you go live, especially when most of the team are volunteers).
  • 🥸 Context matters: you should try to package your message in a way that fits the medium (if you are going to share on YouTube, the medium is the talking head delivery with cuts that draw attention to your message).
  • 🎥 It’s an ideal dry-run: you can record your dry-run of your sermon because you can always edit (video favors fun and relaxed delivery anyhow and your later on-premise delivery can be extra polished).
  • ⛪ It helps clarify that watching a video isn’t the same as taking part in corporate worship and leaves something missing that needs to be experienced IRL (it’s like watching a Taylor Swift video vs. going to see a Taylor Swift concert… trust me, the video is not the same as screaming “SHAKE IT OFF” with the crowd in the nose-bleed section… but I digress 🤣).
  • 🥰 It’s strangely more personal (largely because, let’s face it, if you are anything like me, you probably almost never remember to look into the camera when you preach to a live audience).
  • 💪 Your team will get better at pulling together video media that supports your ministries (like announcements or illustrations).

So, in short, you will be creating better online informational material that’s used as an on-ramp to bring people into IRL on-premise/small group relationships where discipleship thrives.

Stay tuned for next week when I’ll… hopefully… drop a list I’ve been working on of my favorite gear for budget, intermediate, and advanced church video setups! 🤓

Need help in the meantime with technology in your church or ministry? Book a meeting with me.

Isaac Johnson

Isaac has been in professional ministry since 2002, holds an M.Div. from Moody, and his goal is to equip churches to reach digital natives.

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