Using Facebook and YouTube to record acts of worship

With coronavirus closing buildings and restricting others, churches are
turning to digital means to offer acts of worship. This guide focuses
on recording and broadcasting acts of worship and Bible studies on
Facebook Live, YouTube and Zoom.
Copyright law must be followed when livestreaming and
recording your services. CCLI, whose website can be found at, offers many church licences and PRS for Music,, offers additional licences options for music to
be broadcast. The CCLI website has a healthcheck page which asks
what you want to do, and what licences you need for that activity: It is complex at times, but you don’t want to
break the law, even in times of crisis. You can also get a One License
(an American company which operates in the UK) which bought
Calamus in 2019.
Choose from Facebook, YouTube or Zoom. Others are available, but
these are used by billions of people around the world and very easy
to use.
Ask your members what platform they prefer to use. Do they mostly
use Facebook, and/or watch films on YouTube? That will help shape
your decision about which platform is best for your church.

You will need a tripod, and/or a mobile phone holder attached to
a gimbel, if you are wanting to use your phone to pan around the
church. Remember that your arm will get tired if holding a phone or
camera attached to a laptop for a length of time!
Mobile phone microphones aren’t the best and so it’s worth investing
£30 in a microphone that can plug into your phone or device that can
be placed closely to the person or people speaking. It’s also best to
get all those taking part to use central point, such as the same
lectern, to save having to move the microphone around during the
recording or broadcast.
What to do if using Facebook
Anyone with a smartphone and the Facebook app
can click Live when creating a new post and be
broadcasting in less than a minute. The first thing to
do is to practice. Don’t make 10.29am the first
time you’ve tried using Facebook Live when the Bible study starts
at 10.30! Have a go – you can always delete any accidental live recordings.

When you press Live, you may see yourself! This is because some apps think you want to
record yourself rather than anyone else. Use the camera icon with the
two circular arrows in the top of the screen to switch cameras.
Turn your phone 90° so it’s horizontal rather than vertical. Imagine
your phone as a small TV and record your service this way so that it’s
easier for people to watch.
You also see some bright graphics across the bottom of the screen.
Choose Live Video.

Description You can add a description by tapping the area on the bottom of the screen.
Remember that this video may be seen by those who don’t know the church and so don’t be exclusive.
A description such as Anytown URC’s Family Worship from Sunday 15 March, 2020 will not only help to explain your video to those who
stumble across it, but also help with people finding your church using search engines such as Google.

Once you’re ready, press the blue camera button and you’ll have around three seconds before you’re live.Remember not
to cough, laugh or make small talk close to the camera as all who are watching will hear you.

Once the service is ended, press Finish and wait a few seconds. You’ll
then get the option to Delete the film or Share it. Delete it if you
don’t want to keep what you’ve recorded in the videos area of your
Facebook page. Warning – this will mean that no one else can watch
your film at a later time. Share the film to add it as a post to your
Facebook page.
Once you are live, those watching it can Like or Love the video, in the
same way that you can any other post on Facebook, and can also send
messages. It might be good to have a second person to help in case
you want to be as interactive as possible, such as asking for
prayer requests which you can pass to the minister or worship leader.
Zooming in and out
You can also zoom in and out using your phone or device by using two
fingers, in same way you would zoom in and out when taking a photo.
Practice this on the camera mode, if you’ve not done that before.
To record an act of worship
on YouTube, you will need
to set up an account, if you don’t already have one. As with all social
media platforms, YouTube will ask you for an email address so that
it can verify who you are and so it can send you notifications if you
choose to receive those.
If you have more than 1,000 subscribers on your YouTube channel,
then you can Go Live.
Otherwise, you can record the act of worship, Bible study group or
other even that you wish to share, and publish it onto YouTube when it
has been finished.

Once you’ve logged into your account, press the video icon and select
the Record button. (The Go Live option still appears, which is odd
seeing as you’ve logged in and as soon as you press Go Live, you get a
message saying that you can’t!).
Once you press Record, you’ll see a camera switch icon, for you
to change the camera you’re using, a big red record button and a
stopwatch at the top of the screen. When ready, press the red button.
Once you’re recording is over, YouTube will quickly run through the
film, and you have the option to trim it. For example, if you want to
delete the first few seconds or last few, then you can drag the left or
right side of the blue box on the bottom of your film and remove.
A white pair of scissors underneath the film signifies that you’re in the
edit mode. Please test this out before using it on a film you want to
keep. You could remove something you don’t want to!
If you want to enhance your recording, press the magic wand icon,
to the right of the scissors, and select one of the options to age or
enhance your film. Swipe left to see the full range of options. If you try
a few and don’t want to change it, swipe right and select Normal.
Click the blue NEXT in the top right of the screen and you’ll then
be asked to add a title, description, privacy options: Public means
you don’t mind who sees it, Unlisted means only those with the web
address of the film can view it, and Private means only you can
view it.
This is better if you intend to amend the video, but remember to
change the setting back once you’ve finished editing it. You can access
The United Reformed Church | Using Facebook, Youtube and Zoom to record acts of worship
these options by pressing Public, which is the default option. You can
also add a location, which is good if it’s a film from your church as that
will help the church’s search engine rankings.
Then click Upload and YouTube will process the film. This may take a
few minutes depending on Wifi or 3G/4G/5G signal.
Once uploaded, you can see it by pressing your initial in the top right
corner, and selecting Your Channel. Once you see the video, press the
three vertical dots to the right of the title of the film, where you can
share it, add it to a Playlist, delete it or edit it.
Sharing it will give you a short URL for the film for you to send out by
email, text message, WhatsApp, Facebook or Twitter.
Zoom provides services for video
conferencing and online meetings,
People can access it via an app on their smartphone or tablet, or via
a browser on their laptop or desktop computer. Landlines can also be
used, for those without access to the above.
Zoom costs around £12 a month but there is also a free option that
enables you to host up to 100 participants, for up to 40 minutes.
A full video tutorial from The Church Media Guys is available on
YouTube here:
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We make these papers available to the wider URC membership asking that people be aware that they are discussion documents and that many changes may be made as a result of Mission Council decisions.

Tabled Papers

This page shares the URC’s documents relating to its ethical investment policies. These policies have been approved by the General Assembly or Mission Council of the URC. In May 2019, the URC has unanimously approved a proposal to divest from fossil fuel companies. These principles are based on theological reflection on how to be responsible investors reflecting screening criteria based on social, environmental, governance and ethical concerns.