CBC Online

Live Streaming at Online Church

About 7 years ago I first started experimenting with live streaming using a platform called Mogulus (now Livestream.com).  We simply hooked up a handy-cam to a laptop and were live!  It wasn't fancy, but it worked and thanks to social media we literally doubled our audience in a moment.  I've learned a lot since this time and took almost a 5 year hiatus from live streaming.  

You might have assumed I took a step back in technology.  At the end of the day it was less about technology and more about strategy.  We felt we could create a better experience with some post edits as well as using simulated live experiences allows us to reach people in different time zones more effectively.  This strategy has served us well, but technology has changed and we feel we are now at a place to better offer both live streamed services as well as simulated live experiences.  

So today is the day that we beta test live streaming after weeks of setup and we will publicly launch next week.  While the act of live streaming itself isn't complicated, the moving parts can be.  Here are some of the steps we've had to work through:

  • Video/audio feed through the switcher and into the encoder
  • Separate audio mix as live room mix rarely sounds good through a live stream
  • Dedicated internet line to make sure there's stable bandwidth
  • Embed/Integration with Media Social
  • Countdown clock added to CommunityBible.com
  • Integration into Roku Channel and Amazon Fire TV App
  • Integration in the CBC Mobile App

I'm sure there is more, but you get the point that it's not a simple task.  Let me be clear though, the potential ministry impact is well worth the effort invested!  

I will share more in the coming weeks, but until then I would love for you to check out our Live Streamed services at OnlineChurch.com and let me know what you think.  We will be live streaming this morning at 10am, 11:30am and 1pm CST.  I hope to see you there!

I want to also say an extra thank you to the great folks at Media Fusion.  They offer the best technology at the best prices when it comes to live streaming and media distribution for churches.  Even better than the technology that they offer are the people behind the technology.  I can't recommend them enough to you and your church!

Online Church Facebook Page reaches 500,000 Likes!

500K A little more than 4 years ago we launched the Facebook page for CBC Online  (now OnlineChurch.com).  I had a very simple strategy:

  1. I invited all of my friends to like the page
  2. I posted over and over and over again asking for the people on the page to visit Online Church

While this is a common practice for church/ministry Facebook pages, our experience was much like everyone else who follows this strategy: it failed.  Few people liked the page and even fewer people clicked the links to go to Online Church.

So we tried something different.  We started ministering to people right there on Facebook.  We began posting Bible verses, song lyrics, sermon quotes, etc.  People responded by liking and sharing those posts.  Facebook responded to this engagement by showing these posts to more people.  More people responded by "Liking" our page.  Well, actually they "Became a Fan" of our page.

I won't lie and tell you that it was really that simple.  We didn't just make this one change and grow to half of a million likes.  We applied significant strategy, utilized Facebook ads, invested significantly in content development, built a team of 1,000+ Facebook community leaders, and more.  I also can't take too much credit as it took me 2 years to grow the page to 100,000 Facebook Likes and our Social Media Manager, Nick Ovalle, has more than doubled the following of the page since he took over leadership of the platform.

So, today we're celebrating a significant milestone in our journey of reaching, teaching, and helping people in Jesus' name on Facebook.  I would love for you to join us in this celebration as we're doing a bunch of giveaways and having a lot of fun.   Check out our Heyo page and join the party!

My encouragement to you when it comes to your Facebook page is to analyze and rethink how you are using this platform.  Is it a marketing tool or a ministry opportunity?  Honestly, it can be both, but it will be a far better marketing tool if you first see it as a ministry opportunity.

 

Online Church Leaders is Here!

OCLslide
OCLslide

After over 6 months of preparation, I'm excited to announce that Online Church Leaders is here! Go to http://OnlineChurchLeaders.com to sign up for your FREE account today!

This has been a labor of love, and I feel so grateful that Community Bible Church has been generous enough to allow me to invest in other churches in this way.  We are essentially giving away all that we have learned about Online Church over the past 4 years in this FREE training program!  It's not just what we have learned at Community Bible Church, but collectively among other friends pioneering this new ministry opportunity from LifeChurch.tv, Saddlback Church, Seacoast Church, Dream Center, and more!

Here are some of the learning portals included in the training:

  • Building Your Platform
  • Creating Your Content
  • Attracting Your Crowd
  • Developing Your Volunteers
  • Online Giving
  • Measuring Success
  • and more!

We have a goal with this platform over the next 2 years to help 500 churches launch an Online Church campus reaching an average of 2,000 each week.  That would be 1 million people a week attending an Online Church!  We believe this is very possible and just a matter of churches understanding the opportunity, embracing the technology, and applying the basic principles lined out here.

Here's what some key Online Churches have said about this new ministry opportunity:

 "Saddleback Church’s Online Campus reached over 208 countries/territories this past year with over 2/3 of our viewers non-local. Plus, with over 1,100 groups meeting all over the globe. Through a simple, but well executed Church Online strategy anyone from anywhere can engage with our church." - Jay Kranda from Saddleback Church

“God is using online ministry in very real ways around the world. Our ministry has been extended to people we never would have been able to reach otherwise, and lives are being transformed through the life-giving message of Christ. People who were feeling empty have found hope. People who were lonely have found community. People who were stuck in destructive decisions have found strength to change… all through the power of Christ.” - Alan George from LifeChurch.tv

Without a doubt, OnlineChurchLeaders.com is the most valuable priceless resource that will bring more churches into the 21st century before the 22nd century gets here! Get online already!” - DJ Chuang from the Social Media Church Podcast

So what are you waiting for?  Sign up today at http://OnlineChurchLeaders.com!

Life Without Limbs Announcement

I'm continually humbled by the doors God continues to open in ministry and the great leaders I'm privileged to serve alongside.  I cannot be more excited to announce that I have most recently come alongside Nick Vujicic and the ministry team at Life Without Limbs as a consultant and adviser. My primary focus as the WebPastor at Community Bible Church will not change and the leadership at my church has been so generous and flexible to allow me opportunities such as these to take my learnings from Online Church and use them to invest in other ministries as well.  I will be working with Life Without Limbs alongside my good friends at PlainJoe Studios and iGivings in development of a new website, launch of a mobile app, Social Media strategy, and all things Online Ministry.  I look forward to sharing with you my experiences in this role and all of my learnings along the way.

If you're not already familiar with Nick Vujicic and Life Without Limbs take a look at this video:

By the way, Nick just released his new book Unstoppable that recently made the New York Times bestseller list.  Get your copy now!

Celebrating 2012

2012 was a great year for me personally.  I have a tendency to constantly look ahead and miss looking back and celebrating all that God has done.  Trust me, I'm looking ahead, but I do want to take a moment to celebrate some personal highlights of 2012: - Katie and I had our second daughter, Shelby

- My leadership at CBC was expanded joining the Executive Team as WebPastor

- Writing the Social Media Guide for Ministry and signing publishing contract with Group

- Consulting Opportunties with LifeWithout Limbs, St. Stephen Church, Japhet Builders, and several other great organizations

- Online Church Facebook Page reaching the milestone of 250,000 Facebook Likes

As I look at these highlights, I know that several came only by the favor of God in these situations and many also came with time sacrifices and lots of hard work.  There are so many great people involved in each of these, but there are 3 relationships in particular that I want to express my gratitude for in 2012:

1) My wife, Katie.  Katie is my biggest cheerleader and has encouraged me greatly throughout the journey.  Katie has remained flexible with the time sacrifices this year that we have needed to make and patient with the many late nights of 2012 due to a new baby and a new book.  I married way over my head and am so grateful for such an incredible wife!

2)  My boss, Chris.  Chris is the greatest leader I have ever had the privilege to serve under.  He does not just empower me to risk and try new things but challenges me to do so on a daily basis.  The past 2 and a half years have been incredible and my prayer is that God allows us many more years of locking arms together in ministry.  Chris is not just a good boss, but a great friend to me and my family.

3) My mentor, Trey.  Trey has taught me more than I can begin to describe about technology, leadership, innovation, and ministry.  Trey thinks differently than anyone that I have ever been around, which has helped me to grow more than I can explain.  Much of what I write about on this blog comes from core principles that I have learned from Trey.  His encouragement and belief in me has meant so much to these highlights in 2012.

Thank you Jesus for all of your many blessings that came in 2012!  I am blessed beyond belief.