How to Host a Zoom Church Service?

Zoom church service is a digital way for church members from all over the country and the globe to gather together and worship as one. 

In times of crisis, may it be national or international, our faith is being tested. Due to lockdowns at the start of the pandemic, we had to switch and adapt to life online. Every aspect of our lives had to find ways to change digitally, including Sunday services and church events. 

If your church wishes to start live streaming Sunday services and doesn’t know where to start, allow us to help you with that. Ideally, the best streaming platform for churches should be beginner-friendly and accessible to all. Most churches use Zoom to broadcast their Sunday services and events. 

What is a Zoom Church Service?

Zoom church service is the same Sunday service, only that it’s broadcasted via a cloud-based video communication app called Zoom. Zoom is a video-conferencing platform that allows people to connect with audio and video via any device that has the internet (pc, laptop, cell phone, tablet, iPad, etc.).

Most churches continue streaming their services over Zoom despite the leniency concerning social distancing. It’s also shown that Zoom church services are more convenient for those who live far away and those living in a different country. 

Besides Sunday services, church cell groups and staff meetings can be held over Zoom. It’s easier to meet over Zoom, and you also have the option of recording your sessions to look over them later.

How are church services usually held pre-pandemic?

Pre-pandemic, church services were held on-site every Sunday. Usually, churches would have a minimum of three services: morning, afternoon, and evening service. The number of people that can attend depends on the overall space capacity of the congregation itself. Also, after every service, the marshals and staff will need to tidy up the seats and make sure everything looks neat and presentable for the next batch of attendees. 

Zoom Church Service vs Pre-pandemic Church Service

The church service itself hasn’t changed pre-pandemic until now. The most notable differences are the ease of attendance, the number of services held every Sunday, and the number of people attending. Pre-pandemic, churches had to hold more than one mass every Sunday to accommodate all the members that wished to participate, as some churches have a limited seating capacity. Those who live far away also need to leave their homes earlier to arrive at church on time.

Zoom church services are more convenient, especially for those who live far away. Those from satellite churches can quickly attend the mass from the main church through Zoom. Instead of holding more than one mass, churches can have only one assembly per Sunday since more people can attend as seating capacity is no longer a problem. Plus, rebroadcasting of the previous Sunday service is possible since most church services are recorded. It is available for those who want to watch the whole mass again.

Live Streaming or Zoom church service?

Assuming that you already have the necessary equipment, such as cameras and a computer or laptop, choosing a platform is a piece of cake. It is suggested that if it is your first time streaming, select a venue that your operator is familiar with. It is less hassle, and you could start streaming the church service right away. 

Technically, all platforms have their merits. The most notable difference between other platforms over Zoom is that they can easily accommodate more than 100 attendees without downloading an extra add-on. Platforms such as Google Hangouts Meet and Facebook Live are readily available to whoever wants to attend, regardless of whether they’re members.

However, Zoom’s main advantage over the others is its security features. Zoom allows you to protect the meeting links with a password that differs every time. This feature gives you control over who can enter and how many have to access it. Other available features also allow you to mute participants upon entry. This allows for minor disturbance during the Sunday service. Considering all these available features from Zoom, Zoom is the best option to use in church.

Zoom Meetings or Zoom Webinars?

Both Zoom options are relatively similar. The main advantage of webinars is the audience will mostly be in listening or viewing-only mode. You also choose to use the Q&A feature during church events where the audience is encouraged to participate.

Zoom meetings, on the other hand, give you the option of muting audiences upon entry. You can also ask the audience to use break-out rooms during church events and cell groups. This lessens the hassle of opening another Zoom meeting link. Whichever is okay for a virtual Sunday service, it’s all based on preference.

Why Choose Zoom to Stream Church Services?

Zoom church service has a beginner-friendly set-up.

Zoom’s interface is straightforward, with specific settings that are easy to understand. Zoom is ideal for the church as it is beginner-friendly, quick, and easy to set up. 

If you’ve used Zoom before, you’ll remember that it only has a couple of settings, but they are easy to understand and are already saved for the following meetings you attend. It’s also easier to host for larger groups since it’s more robust than other Skype and Google Hangouts Meet platforms. 

Automatically connect via a mobile app.

Since Zoom has a mobile app, you and the viewers can access the church service through the app itself. It is relatively easy to set up a meeting link from your phone, especially with the specific settings that Zoom has to offer. The attendees can also quickly access the link through their phones, watching directly from it or wirelessly connecting to their television. 

The neat thing about Zoom’s mobile app is that you get to watch the Sunday service from anywhere you are, as long as you have a stable internet connection.

Easy access even from different locations.

With Zoom, you can assign more than one host for each meeting to accommodate as many people from different locations. This is very advantageous for members in other parts of the world. Having a host from different countries and areas increases the accessibility of the virtual service. 

This feature is accessed through the account settings. Go to the Multiple Sites section and press Enable Multiple Sites toggle. The participants from different countries also need to alter their settings. From the Audio Conferencing tab, they would need to scroll down to the Global Dial-in Countries/Regions section and edit. After choosing the country or countries that the virtual service will be coming from, click save, and they’re all set.

Zoom is more secure compared to most platforms.

Unlike other platforms such as Google Hangouts Meet and Facebook Live, you would need to have the meeting link and password to enter the church service via Zoom. This particular Zoom feature can both be a good and bad thing. It’s an advantage because you control how many participants can enter the Zoom link. It also lessens the possibility of an unknown guest disrupting the service and hacking the broadcast itself. 

There are a lot of instances where masses from different churches are being interrupted by hackers who take control of the computers to display extremely explicit videos and hateful speech across the broadcasted screens.

How to Set Up a Zoom Church Service?

Create a Zoom account and download the web app.

The first step is to create a designated Zoom account for your church and download the app if you haven’t already on the computer or laptop. You can get the free or paid version of Zoom, do keep in mind that the free version allows 100 participants, and you have a maximum of 40 minutes per meeting link. 

Forty minutes may be a little too short to accommodate the entirety of the Sunday service. That time limit is more suitable for small groups or meetings with the church staff. It may be best to purchase the premium version of Zoom, which allows you to hold conferences without any time limit.

Click on ‘Schedule’ and complete the necessary details.

Once you’ve created an account, log in, then click on ‘Schedule’ to assign a date and time per meeting link. You can also choose to have the link password-protected. This option is very beneficial to prevent unwanted guests from disrupting the service. There are a lot of reported hackings in churches that have resulted in broadcasting unpleasant and graphic content. 

Go to ‘Settings’ and mute the audience on entry.

After you’ve ironed out the details, it’s time to fix your Zoom settings. Another advantage of using Zoom is that you can mute your audience that way; it prevents the possibility of the participants accidentally opening their mic and causing a disturbance during the service. 

Besides softening the audience, it is also crucial that you post a quick reminder for those attending to keep their mics muted throughout the service. This helps prevent the audience from accidentally pressing the mic icon, thus resulting in a disturbance.

Invite the audience/participants.

The neat thing about Zoom is that you can program it to send out the invites and meet links via email. Zoom creates an email that you can schedule to be sent to your contact list. It’s best to do this three days before the scheduled Zoom meeting. If you want reminders to be more personalized, you can send the invites to the participants through text or any messaging app. It also prevents them from reading the invitation too late if it was sent through email, as most don’t check their emails on the regular.

Send out reminders.

The best time to send out reminders is a day before and an hour before the church service starts. This way, it serves its purpose and won’t be too overbearing to the participants. Since most will most likely read text messages right away rather than emails, sending the reminders through a messaging app is recommended. Also, you may want to consider sending voice messages to the older members. Most of them may prefer hearing the reminders instead of reading them. 

In Summary

One of the most important lessons to take away from undergoing this pandemic is that: we’re all capable of adapting when the situation calls for it. Because our souls needed to be fed, we have all helped and supported our churches so that they can successfully hold Zoom church services for its members. And though the world is starting to return to how things were, churches still utilize Zoom as it’s more convenient, especially for those who live far away.

Zoom is ideal for churches because it’s beginner-friendly and easily accessible. Everyone practically already has a Zoom app on their phones and laptops. You also have features that keep the broadcast secure, making it the best streaming platform for churches.

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Alex Shute
EDITOR
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.