The internet has changed how some churches are connecting with churchgoers and finding new members. Local churches are using video streaming services to broaden the reach of their outreach ministries.
First Christian Church of Van Alstyne posts church sermons on YouTube and the church website and North Park Baptist Church in Sherman streams its services on Facebook Live and through its church website.
“We started putting each Sunday’s sermon online at the beginning of 2017,” Trea Madole of First Christian Church said. “We decided to do this for evangelism purposes as a way to try to reach people that may need to hear God’s good news that may not have heard it before or may not have heard it at the right time.”
North Park began streaming its services to reach those that may not be able to attend the Sunday service.
“We tried a bunch of different ways to provide services to people out of town,” Pastor David Murphy of North Park said. “Facebook has been the easiest. Its something for people at home, out of town or who may be sick or shut in. It is convenient.”
North Park has been using the site for about a year.
“While it does help you connect, you cannot replace gathering with your church family,” Murphy said. “People are able to listen to the service multiple times. We are also able to give more research about specific topics that were discussed during the sermon.”
These videos, Madole said, can act as a commercial or preview of the church because they show people what the church beliefs are and let them see how the church values Christ.
“This broadens our reach tremendously,” he said. “We can reach beyond the Grayson/Collin area. One of our members now has the ability to share each message with her son who is overseas in the Navy, so we are definitely world wide.”
First Christian may be making the jump to Facebook Live soon.
“We just need the right equipment to take that next step,” he said. “We also have considered providing free CDs and/or DVDs for members and visitors. Just another way to try and use the technology we have these days.”
Madole said that technology use in church can enhance and hurt the church going experience.
“I think it varies from church to church,” he said. “Right now, we are more of a small congregation, so it has helped us a bit. I can see it hurting some churches attendance wise, due to people choosing to stay home on Sunday rather than coming to fellowship with the congregation.”
So far that is not a problem for First Christian Church.
“Our main focus at First Christian Church is to have people know Christ and have a relationship with him,” he said. “Yes, we want our attendance to grow. Who doesn’t? But if this can be used to reach people that need to know God and his son and bring the father glory, then we are for any outcome. As long as we can be a part of that. That is the main goal, glory for God.”
One of the biggest benefits, Murphy said, is that people can share the videos with others that they think may benefit from a song that was sung during the service or who may benefit from the message.
“We can share our experience with others,” he said. “Facebook Live is just so easy. It can be done from a cellphone. I can post to Facebook and then embed the video on our church site. It is a nice tool for us.”