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YouTube Streaming and You

Learn how to use YouTube to attend Sunday services with Oliver Coffman, our AV Techonology Coordinator. He's recorded an easy to follow how-to video. Watch below.

Background about YouTube and Streaming

Parts of this message were sent via email on 4/21/2022. Below is a recap:

We know that many have grown comfortable with Zoom over these past two years of online church. First Unitarian continues to maintain several Zoom accounts, and we anticipate many small groups and teams will continue to make use of this platform for the purpose for which it was designed: small group meetings. You can find a list of upcoming gatherings – many of them offering connection and community via Zoom – on our Events page.

Please tell me more about why we are making this change from Zoom to YouTube.

Sure. Many factors were considered as our tech team determined what online platform could best support our worship streaming program for the long haul. We appreciated the input we received from many online attendees via the survey we conducted last month. Considerations:

  1. This is the biggest one: YouTube requires less volunteer support. For YouTube, those staffing the AV desk in the sanctuary start the stream. For Zoom, we need both the in-sanctuary support for camera and audio support AND a Zoom host who admits people and manages the Zoom meeting. That’s two separate tech teams to recruit, train, and schedule. We have done well to maintain Zoom church for over two years now – though not without significant turnover in the volunteer pool. Just four people have served as Zoom hosts since we made the complicated transition to multi-platform church last fall – and their talents are needed elsewhere. We cannot sustain Zoom church any longer.

  2. YouTube is an easier platform to learn to use – requiring a mere click of a link (no downloading of software or learning to navigate a complex program). This means it is more newcomer-friendly. The simplicity of the program means it also works as well or better for those who are participating via a smaller device, such as a tablet or smart phone – which is how about half of our online attendees are joining.

  3. YouTube provides a higher quality of both sound and video than Zoom.

  4. Similar to the Zoom chat, YouTube offers a comment feature which can be used for things like Joys & Concerns – which members indicated is an important way for online attendees to be able to participate. (Anyone can also submit a Joy or Concern for sharing via our webform in advance of the service – regardless of how they are attending, and whether or not they will be participating in worship in real time.)

  5. Interest in breakout groups, a feature only available in Zoom, has fallen away. We considered whether to try to maintain Zoom separately just for breakout groups, but over the spring, participation in after-service online fellowship has dwindled considerably – only 2-4 people have been joining in such conversation in the past month or two. Whether because people are able to connect more in other ways, or because their tolerance for connecting via Zoom has worn thin, or both, demand for this feature has petered out.

  6. While some online attendees like to be able to see the faces of others who are joining in the same way – which Zoom makes possible, and YouTube does not – most people who participate online do not want to be on camera themselves. Our tech team has developed an alternative way of enhancing the sense of community connection for those online: many different camera views of the sanctuary that show online attendees other participants who are at the church.

  7. Real-time captions are available in both programs.

  8. When we livestream on YouTube, the recording is automatically available after the service ends. Those who want to watch the service later do not have to wait days or weeks for the recording to be edited and uploaded. No one has to do the labor of uploading.

  9. YouTube streaming makes editing easier when we do need to do some editing, as the recordings are in the cloud; a volunteer does not need to come to church to do this task, but can do it from home or anywhere.

Opportunity to Volunteer

We are looking for more in-sanctuary techies for Sunday mornings. Our tech team has done a fantastic job making the process easy and intuitive.

Eager to help our Tech Team or want to learn more? You can reach out to Stef Lewis (, who is lining people up to shadow experienced techies and learn the ropes. A checklist is ready for you, and video training will soon be available as well.

Thank you!


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