Over 500 churches use phone streaming so members can listen to live services
Hundreds of American churches are using a telephone-based streaming service to allow members to listen to live worship services if they don't have internet access to watch online. Known as PhoneLiveStreaming.com, the service was launched in March after churches were ordered to close during state lockdowns in response to the coronavirus.
As many as 550 churches are now using the service. Hugh Plappert, whose son David developed the system, told The Christian Post that people can “just pick up the phone and they’re in church.”
“It streams across the internet to a server that then converts the signal and then puts it on a phone line,” said Plappert. “So people with traditional phone lines are receiving streaming. People with poor or no internet access are the main audience.”
Plappert also told CP that churches that have used the audio service have mentioned that they intend to keep the streaming system even after they reopen post-pandemic.
Initially, the audio service was created for a limited number of churches in the Great Lakes region, with Plappert and his son sharing it with a few people on social media. However, the audio service got a serious jolt in attention when Pastor David Platt of the megachurch McLean Bible Church in Virginia promoted it on Twitter in late March.
Since the spread of COVID-19 to the United States earlier this year, many Christian organisations and churches have adjusted their outreach in response to state lockdowns that forced many churches to close. These have included expanding their online presence, adding outdoor worship services to their agenda, and even giving various sacramental rites over the phone.