Does Live Streaming Your Service Hurt Church Attendance?

Does Live Streaming Your Service Hurt Church Attendance?

Over the years, the number one question that Senior Pastors ask us here at Piksel Faith is whether or not live streaming your church services has a negative effect on church attendance. It’s a valid concern. The thinking is that if people are able to attend church remotely they might choose to watch online rather than attend in person. Some pastors, convinced that it will hurt attendance have gone as far as having us “blackout” the availability of the live stream for people who are located within 50 miles of a church campus.

So does streaming your services live hurt attendance? The best way to answer that question is to look at the bigger picture.

There is little doubt that there will be a small number of folks who will opt to stay home and watch online. But of that number, many would likely stay home whether your services were available online or not, and in those cases, having your services available to them keeps them connected to your ministry when they choose to stay home.

But let’s consider the audience that would be unreachable without live streaming your services:

  • Church members and regular attenders who are sick and cannot attend
  • Parents who have to stay home with a sick child
  • Shut-ins who are physically unable to attend
  • Members who are traveling on business
  • Families who are on vacation
  • People who live in your area who are looking for a church home

For me, those asking if live streaming hurts church attendance are looking at it from the wrong perspective. If you focus on those who can’t attend rather than on those who, for whatever reason, choose not to attend, you realize that live streaming offers a wonderful opportunity for people who are heart deep in your church (and who would be there in person if they were able) to come to church when they cannot go to church.

Studies throughout the years have shown conclusively that people come to church to be a part of a community. They want to see, be with and worship alongside other people. The truth is that watching a church service on video can never, and should never be a substitute for the real thing.

Think about it this way: after watching a show on Food Network, have you ever said, “Boy, I am full?” No. That’s because watching people cook and eat is at best a poor substitute for actually enjoying a wonderful meal. In the same way, watching a worship service and listening to an inspiring message via online video is enjoyable and uplifting, but in the end it is not a substitute. Being present in a place you love with people you love, lifting your hearts and voices in praise together and hearing His Word proclaimed is a far more enjoyable experience.

By giving people an opportunity to stay connected with you in real time when they cannot be there in person, and helping those who are looking for a church like yours to connect with, live streaming actually helps increase rather than decrease your church attendance.

Get in contact with us today and let’s talk about how we can assist you!

About the Author

Alan Riley is the General Manager of Piksel Faith, committed to working with church leaders to master new digital mediums. A self-confessed nerd, photographer, writer and guitarist, Alan also currently serves as the Interim Worship Pastor at Towne View Church in Metro Atlanta. Connect with him on Twitter @AlanRiley or on Facebook at Facebook.com/alanriley

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