By Aaron Earls
Almost 8 in 10 online American adults use Facebook. Now the social media giant has made it easier for church leaders to keep in contact with their congregants through Facebook Live.
Previously, the live streaming service was available only when using the Facebook app on a mobile device. Now Facebook has added the option to the desktop website, which opens the door for churches to do more with the streaming technology.
You don’t have to buy expensive equipment and have immense technological experience. If you have a computer or a smartphone, an internet connection, and a Facebook profile, you can start streaming.
Here are nine ways you can use Facebook Live in your church.
Pastor Q&A — Each week at a set time, the pastor could take questions from the congregation through Facebook.
This allows church leaders another chance to speak into the lives of their church members and address any issues they may have.
Live stream services and events — While it shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for the physical gathering of the church, a service streamed on Facebook Live could be great for members who are sick or out of town.
If parents see the messages from a youth event, they could follow up on the material at home. Show parents the fun kids are having at a party or discipleship retreat.
Announcement videos — Someone on staff could have a weekly Facebook Live announcement video. Share what’s happening in and around the congregation.
After the live broadcast, post the video to your Facebook page each week so members and guests can find all the needed information.
Take prayer requests — Expand your prayer ministry online. Designate someone to pray for the needs of your church each week and allow others to add requests in the comments.
Weekly Bible study — Have a different small group leader teach a short Bible study on Facebook each week. It will give church members an additional way to interact with God’s Word and highlight some of your lay leaders who may often go unnoticed.
Sermon extras — Pastors can’t fit everything they want into their Sunday morning sermon. So do a Facebook Live that goes deeper on some points that had to be cut, give a different illustration, or simply remind viewers of some practical application steps they can take.
Interesting behind-the-scenes videos — Let congregants peek behind the curtain and see some of the work that goes on at the church building during the week.
When you have a baptism service, go live to show the baptistery filling up to get people excited and have them pray for those being baptized. Stream a sermon-planning meeting or event preparation to build anticipation.
Mission trip updates — As missions teams or others go on short-term trips, have them do Facebook Live updates. Give church members at home a chance to hear how God is working and an opportunity to pray for those serving somewhere else.
Part of an overall strategy — Don’t let Facebook Live overwhelm you or your church. Don’t feel like you have to rush to implement all of these options.
Make a plan on how you can best include live streaming in your overall social media strategy. It’s another tool at your disposal to interact with and reach your congregation.
AARON EARLS (Aaron.Earls@Lifeway.com) is online editor of Facts & Trends.