We do a live streaming podcast each week at Theotek Podcast so we thought we’d talk about whether a church should stream their services live each week. Then, we got into the best reasons to live stream and where to do it. Finally, we looked at the Mevo from LiveStream, which streams in high quality to Facebook Live and LiveStream. The company just announced a service which will live stream to YouTube as well.
Live Stream with Mevo
The Mevo camera that I mentioned in the podcast offers a great way to stream to Facebook Live and other services. The free version of the service only works with Facebook Live and LiveStream, but a paid service that costs $10/month just opened up. It streams to the following:
It claims to do this at the same time. I’ve not tried it out yet, so I can’t say how well it works streaming to all five sites. I have tested it on my Facebook page and it worked well considering I don’t yet fully get how to use the software.
The Mevo streaming app runs only on iOS right now. They may come out with an Android version.
Our Favorite Things
For our favorite things this week, I talked about the Mevo camera.
Just a few more details about the camera:
Sony 4K Sensor.
4K video resolution but streams at only 720p.
16:9 aspect ratio.
Dual analog mics with 65db signal to noise ratio.
Streams audio in 8kHz to 192kHz at 8/10/12 bits.
Inputs for audio via iPhone.
Only works with iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.
802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi in either Access Point mode, which then streams through the iPhone or iPad’s LTE network connection or over Wi-Fi through your local network’s connection to the Internet.
Bluetooth 4.0 used only for configuring the camera.
Up to 1 hour battery life.
100Mbps over Ethernet if you get the Mevo Boost attachment which costs $249.99 and adds a USB charger and lifts the camera 6.18-inches and adds up to 10 hours of battery life.
There’s a bundle that buyers can get that includes the camera, the Mevo Boost and a case for carrying. It costs $699.97. You can get a $50 off coupon if you use this link.
The Microsoft Surface 3 came out and a couple of our team members got one. Rick Mansfield and I talk about our impressions of Microsoft’s new tablet and how it works as a Bible study tool.
The Surface 3 discussions led us to talking about what kind of computer we recommend users buy for their church. We take another stab at it here with recommendations for a computer for the sanctuary, the pastor and the church secretary.
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A Computer for the Church Secretary
In one sense almost any computer will do. The key for a church secretary is being able to work on office documents, print things like bulletins and newsletters, work on the books and handle all the tasks he or she will need to do. So here’s our specific recommendations.
Most people already know Windows, so find a decent desktop system since they don’t cost as much. If someone at the church can work on desktop systems, install a hard drive and install an operating system, then get the Lenovo ThinkServier TS140 and then put in a fast 256GB SSD. Buy a copy of Windows. This makes for a speedy system that can do dual display with two DisplayPort out ports on the back and 6 USB ports on back and two on front. The reason I’m recommending a server is because it’s fast, powerful and costs just $260 on Amazon. Install this 240GB Kingston SSD for under $90 and buy a copy of Windows 7 for under $70 for a total of $420. All you need is a keyboard, mouse and monitor which she likely already has.
The 21-inch iMac makes a great option for the Mac lover manning the church office. It starts at just over $1,000 and handles everything the average office user would need.
The MacBook Air plugged into an external monitor and keyboard/mouse can serve as a desktop that’s also portable. It handles all the office work well too. Don’t use one unless you get a larger screen monitor too.
Surprise! Antoine suggests no PC at all. Instead he suggests the secretary using an iPad. That’s a novel choice and we’ll let you ask him directly how in the world he thinks she can really get all of her work done on a 10-inch display that doesn’t run anything more than apps. She’ll likely need a Bluetooth keyboard to go with it and may want a display plus the adapter to plug it in or the Apple TV hooked up so she can do screen mirroring to a larger screen.
A Computer for the Pastor
Pastors need something that portable so they can take it home, on the road or put it on their desk. They also need a little more power since many pastors will want to promote their church with video, pictures and maybe audio of their sermons. That’s why all three of our team suggests a laptop/two-in-one computer.
Since my friends will likely push the MacBooks, I’ll suggest the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. It’s an awesome computer. Wait and MS will likely release a new version (Surface Pro 4 possibly) in the coming months. It’s a surprising fast, powerful and easy to use system that doubles as a tablet and laptop.
Add the excellent Microsoft Dock and hook up a monitor, keyboard and mouse and you get a desktop too for a few hundred dollars more.
Rick also suggests the MacBook Air for the Apple fans or the Surface Pro 3 for the Windows users.
The new MacBook will fit well, but might not come with enough power. That’s why a MacBook Pro will always fit.
Antoine also likes the Surface Pro 3 for the Pastor. That’s the trifecta!
A Computer for the Sanctuary
The sanctuary computer needs more power than either the pastor or the secretary. According to Memory Tree of Austin such a system will need at least two video outputs and a dedicated graphics card will help keep it from stalling while playing video and presenting graphics. Some people also use the same computer to record audio and video and stream the worship service online. I recommend getting two if you do all that. Hook up one to the sound system and record the audio and stream the video using that computer. Display the lyrics using software like MediaShout or ProPresenter, which handles lyrics, Bible verses, graphics, video and audio files.
The Lenovo recommended for the secretary will also work in the sanctuary. Install a good video card to get the two outputs for driving the screen and the monitor connected for the operator.
Wes uses the MacBook Air, which starts at $899 for the 11-inch machine. It’s a great system for churches with simpler needs. Wes uses open source church presentation software so it doesn’t require a lot of horsepower. I think most people will prefer the 13-inch system because it gives them more room for sowing the presentation user-interface. He suggests adding an external hard drive for media storage.
The 27-inch iMac brings plenty of power and screen real-estate for running presentations and doing multi-tasking like recording or streaming the service while presenting and controlling the sound board.
When we asked Antoine what he suggests for the worship computer, he said, “None.” He suggested only hooking up a Chromecast ($35) or a Tronsmart Miracast dongle (under $30 and connects via HDMI) to a projector. Of course he meant that the church should use either the pastor’s or secretary’s tablet to cast or wirelessly display their content over the projector.
Ten years ago when I finished my Doctor of Ministry Dissertation,Using Multimedia in Expository Preaching, many churches already used projection systems even back then to display song lyrics, announcements, photo slide shows of church activities and for preaching with PowerPoint. In 2015 the projector and screen shows up in most church worship spaces, even in churches that still call them a “sanctuary.”
As someone whose preached for over ten years using multimedia to display outlines, illustrations and Bible verses, let me share 5 tips for preaching with PowerPoint to help pastors and multimedia teams communicate God’s work in a powerful, interesting and even entertaining way.
Stop Preaching with PowerPoint
Confession time! I used the term PowerPoint in the title of this article as a generic word. When a person needs to wipe their nose they ask for a Kleenex, even though we don’t necessary want one branded Kleenex. A tissue is a Kleenex to most people even if it’s from another brand.
Using a multimedia presentation too is using “PowerPoint” even though we may not use Microsoft’s presentation program.
Preachers should stop preaching with PowerPoint, Keynote or any other of the PowerPoint alternatives. Instead invest in a great church presentation or worship presentation program.
At my church we use MediaShout. It’s powerful and with that power comes some complexity. However, it does a great job of displaying lyrics, pictures, video and Bible verses.
Other worship presentation software programs include the following:
We won’t make recommendations as to which one you should buy. Instead, check your budget and the features against the following list. If a worship software program doesn’t include the following features, then don’t get it.
Display lyrics, Bible verses, and text
Import PowerPoint files since guest speakers usually show up with a flash drive with a PowerPoint presentation
Show video files, DVDs and if possible YouTube videos from within the program
Edit slides, including the program’s content like Bible verses and lyrics
Loop pre-service slides for announcements
Background editing so you can display video, images and solid colors
In addition to the above features, many programs will also let the user edit their presentation on their home or office computer and sync it to the sanctuary computer. Some run on both PC and Mac. A few offer remote control apps that run on an iPhone, Android phone, iPad or tablet.
These make creating worship presentations so much easier than PowerPoint. Also, they force the user to avoid the ugly PowerPoint themes and templates. Most worship attendees can spot an ugly PowerPoint template quickly and these templates turn people off. People see so many bad PowerPoint presentations that this distracts them from worship instead of enhancing it.
If you must use PowerPoint, invest in a good worship plug-in. I know of two. MediaShout Bridge (see above) turns PowerPoint into a simple form of MediaShout within PowerPoint with lyric and Bible verse import. It also inserts multimedia easily.
Another PowerPoint plugin comes from the folks at ShareFaith (see video above). Their ShareFaith Presenter comes free for those who subscribe to the service, which includes a library of media to download and use in worship like backgrounds, stock photos, PowerPoint themes or templates, and
Don’t Show Your Full Outline
Too many preachers ask their churches to install an expensive projection system, computer and they might even install one of the great worship presentation programs listed above. Then the preacher loads up their outline on slides and displays these outlines with lots of text that looks like the slide above instead of like the one below.
Here’s a few rules to follow:
Never shore more than 10 words per slide
Use meaningful phrases of 5-10 words at most
Leave off the Roman Numerals or any other numbered or lettered lists
Include a picture on each slide that illustrates the idea
Only show one idea or sermon point per slide
Long sentences and numbered outlines look boring. A single screen with one sermon point or idea per screen focuses hearers on the current idea. Use a photo to illustrate the idea when possible.
Where do we get these photos?
Start by searching Google using Google’s image search and their creative commons filter. Here’s how to do it. Head over to their image search site. Enter the idea to search. For example, if I’m illustrating a point that says “God honors humble servants” then you could search for awards, medals or trophies to focus on the idea of honoring. Or search the word humble. Once the search shows the results, click on Search tools just below the search box at the right end.
A new toolbar appears just above the search results. Filter the search using the Usage rights drop down. Pick one of the last two items on the list. The first one reads, Labelled for noncommercial reuse with modification or Labelled for noncommercial reuse. Pick the former if you plan to change it or edit it in some way. Pick the latter if you don’t. Make sure to put attribution on the slide somewhere. It doesn’t need to be very big. Put it in small font in the button corner with a link to the site where you found the image.
Use one of the other filter drop downs to filter images by size, color and more. I always pick the size filter choosing pictures that are larger than 1024×768.
Look for pictures at a few other sources, like Wikipedia or Flickr. In both cases, look for creative commons licensed photos and give credit on the slide. See the above slide with trophies. Notice the link in the lower right corner.
A third place to find pictures is subscription or pay services like ShareFaith or Getty Images. You’ll find a better quality of images, but also a more limited selection and they’ll cost some money. ShareFaith charges a subscription while Getty lets users buy credits to use to download images.
Finally, when you do use text, proofread it. Look at the terrible pure text slide at the beginning of this section above. It’s got a couple of typos. Can you find them?
Part 2 of Tips for Preaching with PowerPoint Coming Soon …
The next post will come soon, with more of our 5 tips. Can you guess what the other three will say? Comment below and tell me what your tips include.