(Saturday livestreams at 10AM & 11:30AM)
Before Crosswalk Church went through major changes 3 years ago, they weren’t a very big organization. The Redlands, California church had just welcomed a new pastor, had around 80 attendees, and was struggling to stay relevant in an area full of other houses of worship.
Walk into the church today, and you’d never guess that the church came from nothing just a few years ago. Modern decor, immense worship space, a large production studio and about 1200 attendees every Saturday paint the picture of a successful congregation that’s been around for a long time.
A large part of the church’s recent success is thanks to the leadership of its pastor Tim Gillespie, whose popularity and outreach strategies have helped expand the church considerably since his arrival in 2014. As a facet of his marketing prowess, the church has recently started to embrace live streaming to attract more parishioners.
“There’s a lot of people around the country who’s in touch with our pastor but aren’t able to attend,” said Chad Manalo, Worship Director of Crosswalk Church. Chad oversees all elements of the production side of service including stage design, lights, music and live streaming.
“We decided to live stream for people who aren’t able to attend like people on vacation, traveling for work and people who live far from us.”
Crosswalk began their live streaming mission on Easter, with the church offering several services throughout the day. Chad and his team positioned 3 Canon XA35 video cameras along with 4 Xiaomi Yi Sport video cameras in and around the church. The 7 different cameras sent feeds to their Blackmagic ATEM 4K production switcher where graphics were added and an operator swapped between the different feeds. The switcher distributed the content to multiple TV screens spread around the church (lobby, study rooms, cafe etc.) as well as to a Teradek Cube 655 streaming encoder.
The Cube is an H.264 live streaming device that takes a video feed from camera sources and transmits it directly to online streaming platforms (Facebook Live, YouTube, UStream and many more). Crosswalk decided to stream to YouTube, embedded the video player directly on their website and promoted it via social media. The Cube allowed them to stream at 1080p30 with a bit rate of 4Mbps on YouTube.
Since most of their church’s production volunteers don’t have much technical background, they needed technology that would be easy to operate. And for the special Easter services which included various different production devices for live music, sermons, prayers and communions, Chad wanted to keep the tech as uncomplicated as possible.
“We run 100% on volunteers over here, and every week there’s a new member on the production team,” explained Chad. “So for me, it was all about designing an easy-to-use system that doesn’t require experience to use.”
Luckily, the Cube is designed to be incredibly user-friendly. After Chad integrated the Cube into the existing workflow, the only thing the volunteers needed to do was press the red Stream button to go live. Since all of the stream settings were pre-configured and saved, no changes needed to be made to start streaming.
Saturday Service Streams
Crosswalk’s service on Easter was met with great success. Over 1800 parishioners physically attended across the 3 services, with over 250 people tuning in to the livestream. The good digital turnout (for a 1st-time livestream) was enough to motivate Crosswalk to continue their broadcasting efforts, with 2 broadcasts every Saturday on their YouTube channel. Now, it’s an essential part of the church’s outreach efforts.
“Right now our main streaming purpose is our Saturday church services. But since Summer is coming up soon, there’s going to be some big outdoor church events happening and it’d be great to livestream those,” said Chad. “We also want to have it as a service so if people rent out the worship center for weddings or events, they could stream with our setup.”
As Crosswalk continues to expand their outreach with members growing every month, live streaming is going to be an essential part of their Saturday service. This not only helps Crosswalk increase their church’s visibility, but also helps give their loyal viewers who can’t attend a way to practice their faith online.
“A couple of people tune in from Australia to watch it every Saturday. My parents live in Seattle and they watch it as well. [Live streaming] has really become a really great way to get our community together without having to physically attend.”