Written by Pastor Gary Goodsell. Feel free to contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kalamazoo Free Methodist Church (KFM) is a church of about 100 members located in an urban setting. We are located at the intersections of three neighborhoods just south of downtown Kalamazoo. Our campus consists of three buildings:
- The Worship Center, which has the sanctuary
- The Centennial Center, which houses the Café, Offices, and Gym
- The Activities Building, which houses His Closet (a clothing ministry) and storage.
Our first site in Kalamazoo was in a tent in the late 1800’s. We moved into our first building in 1884, and have moved a few times since then. We finally settled at our current location on the corner of Maple Street and Hudson Street in 1957. We have added on a few times since then.
Our Streaming Story
We decided to start streaming worship service when MediaFusion and the Free Methodist Church USA entered into a partnership to promote web streaming. The Holy Spirit spoke to me in the written announcement that we should do this. We were able to upgrade our failing sound system just a few months ago by God’s miraculous intervention. That upgrade gave us the ability to do the sound portion of web streaming well. We decided to experiment with an iPad to see if God was really calling us to do this. We found out that He was, indeed, calling us to engage people in this way. We had technical issues that made us want to press in and work harder. We also had a small, but dedicated, viewership that encouraged us to continue to stream.
Obstacles We Faced
The first obstacle we faced was using an iPad with GoCoder and the wrong default settings. Once that issue was corrected, we had a nice video stream. But, in a large sanctuary, the audio from the iPad/GoCoder combination was not good. We tried to interface the iPad to the sound system to improve the sound, but that was very difficult technically. In addition, GoCoder does not have zoom in/out capabilities. During that time we found a donor for the cost of an encoder (a Vidiu Teradek) so we could use an HD video camera to broadcast over the internet with excellent picture and sound quality. We secured the use of an HD CamCorder with a clean HDMI video output, hooked it all up, and it works brilliantly! God is so good!
What We Learned
If you are considering streaming, I would first pray about it hard and find out if this is where the Lord is leading you. If it is, ask for Him to excite you and equip you. Next, get your Lead Pastor excited. He/she must integrate the idea into every area of planning for and execution of the Sunday service. You need to promote your streaming services on your website prominently. Make sure you have a good ‘stream’ of techy-types to grow into your sound, video, & technology team to keep the streaming and website working. Try to network with people who are already streaming. Read about how to do it, watch videos, attend webinars from MediaFusion, and ask MediaFusion’s excellent tech support people for ideas and help. Always keep praying and thanking the Lord for His provision!
Watch How We Stream on Sundays
Connect with Pastor Gary and the Kalamazoo Free Methodist Church
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