Connecting your Multi-Site Ministry with Video Streaming

The Volunteer’s Guide to Video Streaming in the Church: Connecting Your Multi-Site Church with Video

Editor’s note: This blog post is the third in our series called The Volunteer’s Guide to Video Streaming in the Church. Stay tuned for our upcoming posts, helping to guide church volunteers as they enter the world of video streaming with their ministry.

As the multi-site model of ministry continues to grow, your church’s leadership team might be considering going this route as well. While there are many factors to weigh in making that decision, one key element is how to get the central message to each campus. Multi-site video streaming is a powerful tool that makes sharing the same experience in multiple venues easier and more effective than ever.

Here are three key options when it comes to multi-site streaming:

Option #1: Time-shifted video

Sometimes referred to “Sim-Live,” this option involves either sending the video stream to campuses on a time delay, or streaming a recording of the main campus message. This method allows for more flexibility at satellite locations. Each campus can have live worship, announcements, and an introduction to the message by the campus pastor – all without having to worry about timing things perfectly for when the live sermon video begins. Additionally, if you have campuses in different time zones (or simply on different service time schedules) than the main campus, time-shifted video enables you to support each campus appropriately.

To make time-shifted video happen, you’ll need a DVR service that can record the main service live, and then deliver that content to each campus to play on-demand. The Haivision Connect DVR handles the end-to-end process necessary to make this work smoothly.

Option #2: Live video

Sending video in real-time from your main campus to each additional site is easier if you’re sharing the full service (from worship through the end of the sermon). If you decide to have live worship at each location, you’ll need to time it carefully to stay in sync with the main campus. Additionally, you might choose to make announcements at each site after the message instead of before to making timing easier.

Live video requires an excellent network with sufficient bandwidth and other performance factors. The Haivision Video Cloud leverages the latest technology to deliver live video in a manner that will provide the best possible results for each location.

Option #3: Bi-directional video

If you’re looking to create a more interactive service between the main campus and satellite campuses, bi-directional, live video is a great option. This gives you an easier way to communicate between the main campus and additional locations.

With bi-directional, live video, not only can worshippers at your satellite campuses see the service at the main campus, the main campus can see the immediate response and feedback from their remote campuses.

This form of video streaming does require the highest quality video links, low latency, and multiple HD feeds between each location.

Challenges of Multi-Site Streaming

Challenge #1: Distributed staff and volunteers

You’ll need people at the main campus and at each satellite location who can run the video stream and monitor it to ensure everything is working properly. You can manage this by bringing staff and volunteers from all campuses together for initial training and periodic training refresher courses. These training sessions can also become an opportunity for volunteers to share their experiences, learn from one another, and forge new connections.

Challenge #2: Timing

Between live worship, announcements, and prayer following the service, it takes careful planning and consideration to coordinate services between the main and satellite campuses.  That’s why it’s helpful to have the option to do either live or time-shifted video – this gives your church leadership team flexibility to consider both methods and determine which is the best option for you.

Challenge #3: Technical knowledge

Setting up and maintaining multi-site video streaming does require some technical expertise.  That is why it is valuable to look for a solution that can make your setup process simple and provide on-going support.

With a bit of careful planning, multi-site video streaming can expand the capacity of a central church campus by enabling the distribution of the main message to each campus.  

Are you looking at connecting your multi-site ministry with video? Our team has helped mutli-site ministries like Celebration Church and Redemption Church to create engaging worship experiences that transcend distance. Talk with one of our video streaming experts today and let us help you find the right video streaming solution for your ministry.

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