Jim Tomberlin – September 2017
The technological developments of the last three decades laid the foundation for the multisite church movement. The ability to capture gifted teachers, preachers and musicians on high-quality video and deliver it to other locations allows us to take church to the people in a way never imagined before.
When I began my multisite journey as a senior pastor in the 1990’s video was the new medium. Delivering video content over the internet was non-existent. Before internet delivery we captured the sermon on a videotape and delivered it by way of an automobile to the other locations.
Today, internet delivery is fast becoming the primary way churches are delivering video sermons as it is easy to use, manage, scale and implement almost anywhere in the world.
The Multisite Church Scorecard from Leadership Network revealed that half of the 8,000+ multisite churches utilize video exclusively or in some combination with a live, in-person teacher at their campuses. The report also revealed that the larger the church and the more campuses, the more likely they were to use video-delivered sermons. We are also seeing more churches developing teaching teams in both video-driven as well as live, in-person models. My recommendation to churches is to do both—develop a teaching team and make all campuses capable of receiving video content. Then you can decide whether to lead out or supplement with video teaching.
Clearly not all multisite churches are video-based models, but if your church is thinking about delivering content over the internet what do you need to know?
I asked this question and a few other video delivery questions to my friend Collin Jones at Living As One. Living As One is a strategic partner of MultiSite Solutions and provides video solutions for many churches around the world, making multisite video delivery over the internet simple, reliable and at a reasonable price.
JIM: What does a church need to know about video-streaming over the internet?
COLLIN: Lots has changed in the past year regarding technology for streaming over the internet. Previously, if you were going to stream over the internet, you had to pay a premium for rock solid connections and accept quality loss and even failure when the internet lost connection or slowed down. This led to many churches opting away from live internet delivery onto more reliable and costly methods. Now, technology is available that can overcome these issues by leveraging a slight delay in the delivery. Delivery over the internet has become as reliable as satellite, for a fraction of the cost. Now, delivering over the internet is just a little more expensive than file based delivery, or “Sneakernet.”
JIM: What are the most important requirements for video delivery over the internet?
COLLIN: Without question, quality, reliability and ease of use at a price that makes sense. Choosing a solution that is resilient to internet issues is paramount. If the video solution provides a poor or inconsistent viewing experience, it becomes a distraction and turns attendees off to the whole video experience. You don’t want your multisite to fail because of something as small as the video delivery method.
JIM: What sort of internet connections are necessary?
COLLIN: Standard internet connections and even hotspots are all that’s necessary for reliable and professional multisite streaming. Technology has progressed to a point where choosing between internet connections is a simple cost/benefit decision, dedicated fiber connections are no longer needed. Sometimes, portable campuses such as public schools have difficulty acquiring decent internet connections, and that’s okay as long as you can build in a delay between services. In terms of internet speed, you can even stream reliably over a standard 3Mbps hotspot connection in full HD with the right delay.
JIM: Is a multisite video solution too complex for volunteers?
COLLIN: For most churches, volunteers will be leading both sides of video streaming each weekend. Solutions are available that allow churches to keep the solution as simple as a standard TV DVR while maintaining high quality professional results.
JIM: Is video delivery over the internet expensive?
COLLIN: While it is obviously important to not sacrifice quality and reliability, the cost of streaming over the internet has dramatically decreased in the last couple years, allowing many more churches the opportunity to stream well. Most churches considering a multisite campus can afford to stream over the internet reliably and professionally.
JIM: One final question. What is the story behind the company name Living As One?
COLLIN: The name was chosen to reflect our intention of working towards Jesus’ vision of unity for His Church (John 17:20-23). It reminds our team that together the individual churches we serve form one mosaic body, and it’s our hope that the tools we create will improve unity throughout the Body of Christ and advance the mission we hold in common.
Living As One was created by AVL experts at Chase Oaks Church after failing to find a high quality streaming solution that could deliver live video with complete reliability over the internet.
Living As One was later formed in 2015 to make the service available to the rest of the Body of Christ. Collin Jones is the SVP of Church Relations, and is passionate about serving churches through technology.
Collin will be leading a “Church Multiplication Through Video” workshop at Exponential West 2017 this October in Los Angeles.