Live Streaming Sends Services Beyond the Building

Home with sniffles on a Sunday morning? Don’t want to miss that baptism or the final sermon in the series? Those who attend Haven Christian Reformed Church (Zeeland, Mich.) or a growing number of churches like it don’t have to miss a single service.

Live-streaming and archived services from Haven CRC can be viewed anytime, anywhere.

Susan Vanden Berg

 

For the past several years, Haven CRC has been live streaming its Sunday services via the church’s website. Morning and evening services are webcast live; both are also available in the video archives. Folks can also stream through their Apple devices, such as iPhones and iPads, making it easy to watch anytime, anywhere.

“We were very early adopters,” said Doug Zylstra, technology director for the church. As live streaming has become more popular over the past two or three years, Zylstra has been contacted more often by other churches.

The church hasn’t actively marketed the webcast, but Zylstra estimates that the average service is viewed on eight to 12 devices each Sunday.

Haven’s original goal was to give home-bound members the ability to stay in touch with the congregation and participate in worship services each Sunday.

Now viewers include parents at home with young children and those on vacation. Grandparents living far away can see Christmas programs or professions of faith that they otherwise might miss. A church family now living in Lesotho, Africa, stays in touch by watching each week.

The webcast also serves as a first look for those seeking a church home. “The younger generation today church-shops basically online,” said Art Van Wolde, senior pastor. “If [a church website has] services archived, they will watch them to see what’s going on.”

“Across the board, people are watching,” he said.

Haven is careful to follow all copyright laws and strives to make the experience a pleasant one for the online viewer with few technological distractions. Van Wolde recommends, “If you’re going to do it, do it in a quality way.”

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