Church meetings or services aren't broadcasts. They're inherently interactive. But how can we best achieve that in an online world?
In this short blog post I want to show you how you can include YouTube Live videos as well as links to Zoom meetings. By combining these two technologies you can create services which are both easy to access both in real-time and after the event. You can also make it easier for your members to discuss a sermon, answer questions or just have a good old natter! Click here to drop down to the Zoom instructions.
Embedding YouTube Live Videos
Here are the basic steps for scheduling a live broadcast from YouTube and embedding the video player in a Church Service Planner plan.
1. Sign Up For A YouTube Account
This step should be straight forward. Head over to YouTube.com. If you already have a Google account, chances are you'll be signed in already. If not, look in the top right hand corner and you'll see a 'Sign In' button. Click it and then follow the instructions to either sign in to an existing account or setup a new one.
2. Schedule Your Broadcast
Click on the little camera icon with a + on it in the top right corner of the page, then click 'Go Live'.
On the following page, select 'Webcam' from the left hand menu. If you're prompted to allow the browser to access your webcam and microphone please accept this request.
Use the form to give your broadcast a name and a scheduled start time, you can also define whether it's made for children or not:
When you click 'Next' your webcam will be used to take a photo of you as a placeholder image for the video - smile!
3. Get the Share Link
On the page that follows you'll see your photo, the name of the broadcast and some other details. Click on the 'Share' link in the bottom left corner, then click 'Copy'.
This will copy the URL of your live broadcast.
4. Embed The Video
Go to churchserviceplanner.co.uk and either create a new plan or open the plan you're already working on. Choose 'YouTube' from the options then enter a heading and paste the URL into the box:
When you click 'Add to Service' you will see the video player emedded into your plan:
5. Preview Your Plan
To see how your video will appear, click on the Shareable URL link at the top of the page:
If someone clicks 'Play' before your broadcast begins they will be shown a countdown timer. Complete the rest of your plan as required.
6. Go Live
When you are ready to broadcast, at the time you specified, return to the 'Go Live' page on YouTube. Click on 'Manage' from the left hand menu. You will see a list of scheduled broadcasts:
Click on the right one, then choose 'Go Live' - your broadcast will begin:
7. End Your Broadcast
To end your broadcast click on the red 'End Stream' button. You will be shown a 'Stream Finished' window with details about your video:
Your video will now be available to anyone visiting your YouTube channel or your Church Service Planner page to watch back.
Include a Zoom Link
Follow these steps to include a link to a Zoom meeting in your plan.
1. Schedule Your Meeting
Open Zoom and schedule a new meeting.
After clicking 'Schedule' you'll be shown the meeting invite. Locate the 'Join Zoom Meeting' URL, then copy the first part of the URL, everything before the question mark:
It is important that you do not include the part of the URL after the question mark, as this includes an encrypted password which bypasses the need for your members to manually enter your meeting password.
2. Embed Your Link
Go to Church Service Planner and create a new plan, or open an existing one. Click on the 'Link' option, then paste the URL in the first box and a heading in the second:
Make sure you tell your members what time to join the meeting! When you click 'Add to Service' you'll see the button appear in your plan:
3. Preview Your Plan
To see how your video will appear, click on the Shareable URL link at the top of the page - you will see your button include in the plan:
Click the button to test it works (or ask someone else to).
There is no replacement for meeting together. But these technologies allow us to share together in real time, despite our physical distance.
YouTube Live makes broadcasting live really quite simple. It's much more user friendly than Facebook Live in my opinion. It's a great option for preachers who want to preach live, but for congregations who don't want to use Zoom for their whole meeting.
On the other hand, Zoom makes running a church meeting which allows 2-way communication throughout quite achievable. Once the meeting host has got to grips with how to mute everyone, and you've ironed out your security settings to ensure it's a safe place, Zoom offers as close to an 'in-person' experience as is possible.