Pastor uses Facebook Live to reach beyond the pews

November 01, 2016

“There are so many different things we can actually do with Facebook Live and with it being free, why not? It’s as simple as turning on a cell phone.” – Adam Randazzo, Pastor of Living Faith in Beverly and Ipswich, MA

Living Faith Pastor Adam Randazzo preaches in Massachusetts, but if you want to see him preach live or ask for a prayer in real time, you just need to be on Facebook.

Pastor Randazzo is using Facebook Live – which allows users to post live video on their Facebook page – to reach people who aren’t in the pews on Sunday morning, but without losing the focus on the ones who are.

Living Faith is a multi-campus ministry that has formed from Memorial UMC in Beverly and Ipswich UMC. The churches have been part of a two-point charge, and will officially become Living Faith on Jan. 1, 2017.

“It’s great, because we can focus on the group of people we have in front of us and also focus on the group of people on Facebook who might be following us as well,” Pastor Randazzo said. “Let’s be honest, there’s a generational gap between the Facebook generation and some of the people who go to church all the time – at least in this case: It’s an older retired congregation, but they’re very excited to be part of this new type of ministry.”
Find Living Faith on Facebook

Hubspot offers this quick guide for how to use Facebook Live

Living Faith began using Facebook Live in September 2016 – Pastor Randazzo’s fiancée used her cell phone to post a live video of the sermon. Pastor Randazzo called it one of those “Holy Spirit moments.”

And the free, low-tech cell phone videos may wobble a bit, but that’s not a bad thing, Pastor Randazzo said.

“When you look at something on Facebook and you know it’s Facebook Live, you know that somebody really wanted you to see this and they didn’t care how steady the camera was or whatever,” he said.

The sermon gets 30-40 views each week, Pastor Randazzo said, and while it goes up and down, he’s encouraged by the response so far. He said this is a great way to introduce church to people who have not attended before.

“People who don’t go to church, they have no idea what’s going on inside the church and they’re just scared of it, and this is an unobtrusive way to go,” he said. “I hope they can watch it and say, ‘Wait, that’s not a scary place to walk into.’”

In addition to the Scripture reading and sermon, Living Faith is using Facebook Live to accept prayer requests. Using his cell phone, Pastor Randazzo can see the requests in real time.

“It’s an easier avenue to follow up with folks, too,” he said. “You just click on their name and then send them a message saying you’re praying for them, thinking about them. … It’s an immediate response of support.”

And for Pastor Randazzo there’s an added benefit: He gets to watch himself preaching and review how things went.

“One of the cool things is – when you watch it later – it will show you the time point when someone is actively giving you feedback (a like or a share),” he said. “It’s a teaching tool. It helps me be better.”

While Pastor Randazzo has no problem being on camera, he knows that people may not want their image or whereabouts shared online. He always alerts folks that they will be going live and lets them know where the camera is so they can avoid being in the shot.

Typically, he said, only he and the choir can be seen. “People who are on the screen know they’re on there,” he said.

This new technology is easy to use and exciting for the congregation, Pastor Randazzo said, but it’s just a new way of doing something that goes all the way back to Jesus.

“Jesus found people where they were. We’re supposed to model our churches after what He did,” Pastor Randazzo said. “It’s all about reaching people. It’s all about sharing the Good News.”