Platforms and Tools
Facebook Live: free, streams from your church Facebook Page or your personal page.
Google Hangouts: free video conferencing. Just need a Google (Gmail) account. Also easy to schedule on Google Calendar, just click on "conferencing." Already included on Android phones. Google has made the premium version of hangouts free until June.
Zoom: Video and phone conferencing. Available through MinistrElife for clergy/pastoral leaders (purchase the Extend plan for $10 a month/$100 a year)
Skype: Video and phone conferencing. Basic version is free, but for groups you must pay a fee.
Streamyard: allows you to use presentations and videos to stream to Facebook, YouTube, or other sites. Basic package for six on-screen participants is FREE.
To access Zoom, click on the link included in the invitation, or call the phone number and enter the meeting room #.
For those who haven't used Zoom before on the computer, I suggest clicking the link a few minutes early as you may need to download it. Once on, follow the instructions for using your microphone and camera.
Please mute your microphone on phone or camera unless you are speaking, otherwise everyone will pick up the background noise.
Troubleshooting: microphone icon is in the lower left corner. Directly to the right of it is an up arrow that looks like ^. The camera icon is directly to the right of that along with the arrow. Make sure you've chosen the correct microphone and camera if you are having issues.
On the bottom bar, center right, is the chat feature. You can chat with the group. To have a private chat with someone, in the upper right corner of that person's window are three dots that will give you the menu to chat.
In the upper right corner of the screen you will have the option of speaker view or gallery view, gallery will show you everyone.
Recommendations: We recommend that you keep your Zoom link private (i.e. not posting publicly on Facebook or your website) to prevent Zoombombing (see the article below). We also recommend hosts turn the waiting room feature on so that guests are approved to enter (you can set up a co-host to manage this) along with muting everyone upon entry. We also recommend if you are screen sharing from a website to have that site open in a separate window, otherwise, all your open tabs will be visible.
Here is a Zoom Users Guide created by a Presbyterian church.
Prevent Zoombombing. Do not share your links and meeting room #s outside of your congregation.
Learn more about Zoombombing and how to prevent it here.
You must have a license to stream copyrighted music. A regular license to copy music will not cover streaming. You must make sure that whatever license you purchase covers the songs that you are using. You cannot show YouTube videos through a streaming service--that violates copyright.
Facebook sometimes flags videos with music, even if you have the streaming license. Protip: enter the streaming license # in the description of the video, that should help Facebook determine that your music is legal.
Note: do not use Venmo, it is only for use between individuals and is not legal to use as a church.
Square: No monthly fee, but there is a processing fee per transaction
PayPal: No monthly fee, similar processing fee per transaction
Vanco: Monthly fee, processing fee less than Square and Paypal
Tithe.ly: Free version with similar processing fee to Square and Paypal, upgraded version with fee for text giving. Mobile app.
12 step groups