Livestreaming and the future of church services, attendance
By James Hammack
TAB Digital Services Manager
Many churches have found themselves organizing livestreamed services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and I’m not convinced we should stop when the stay-at-home orders are loosened and lifted.
Theologically, I strongly believe virtual church is not meant to be the main method of church going forward. So how do we serve those who will be leery of returning to the once routine Sunday gathering?
How do we extend grace and love to all of our people?
The livestream is key. Livestream is a poor substitute for the gathering, but it is necessary. The concern that this pandemic may turn some of our members into LEC attendees (Livestream, Easter and Christmas) is valid.
We should be vocal about the call in Scripture to meet together and recognize that the physical gathering is something to rejoice over and look forward to.
All of us should long for the day our exile and separation is over. Praise be to God and amen!
But if we can’t manage grace and love for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, we are in danger of showing the world that Christ is nothing more than a name.
Christ calls us to more: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
How should we then do church? There will continue to be people with legitimate concerns who will not quickly gather again with the body. I propose we continue to let our light shine online.
So many churches have researched and implemented strategies to meet the current needs of our people. Let’s not put this work aside. Use the next several weeks to plan for both livestreaming and the physical gathering.
Consider how to fit the worship area with cameras and microphones in order to livestream the physical gathering. Do you need a better camera or different audio equipment? Do you or others need additional training?
Critically walk through your services and imagine all possible scenarios. For example, imagine where the camera is and who might accidentally be blocking it by sitting in the pew.
Be ready to adjust and extend grace. No one is going to get this perfect when we gather again. But we can all adjust and do our best to meet the needs of those present and those on the other end of a phone or computer screen.
We will need a copious amount of grace to extend to ourselves as we make the occasional blunder but also our members who are struggling with the “when” and “how” of joining back together.
Don’t forget the ones who won’t make it back just yet. And take the time to plan ahead.
EDITOR’S NOTE — TAB Media is happy to help churches and staff members with tips and recommendations for various elements of church technology. Contact us with your questions at 800-803-5201.
Prayer should be the place we take our need and our concerns to lay at the feet of Jesus.
I pray [with my students] because [they] need to know that God is as concerned about the daily intricacies of their lives as He is about the world at large. He knows their names. He knows where they are headed, and He knows the concerns they carry with them. And He is all-sufficient for that need. …
My students need to know this — even more than they need to know music theory.
I want to be a great teacher, an effective teacher, a teacher whose students exhibit outstanding measurable music achievement. But more than that, I want my students to know the power and presence of a risen Lord.
Professor Charlotte Hester
Associate professor of music education
University of Mobile
Plant the gospel, not a church; the church grows where the gospel goes.
Pastor Peter Assad
Kansas City, Mo.
Today, we are living in a world of uncertainties. Not allowed to worship in group settings, not allowed to “do” ministry as we have for decades. This is not the end for God’s churches. I am hearing and reading great testimonies of God’s work, people surrendering their hearts and lives to Christ during this lockdown. We have right now, today, a great opportunity to be and share the gospel. …
The only way to do this is to personally engage. Today, we are being challenged to think differently about how to engage the culture. How is your church engaging the community with the gospel in these troubling times? How are you personally?
Church health strategist
Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions
“God has something in store for us even in times of stress [and] uncertainty.”
Executive director, Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions
The quality of good sermons is not determined or measured by the applause of those who “just heard” but by the actions of those who “still hear.”
Morris Murray Jr.
Minister of music and outreach, Samaria Baptist Church
“I have been through wars, depressions, civil unrest and about all one could imagine in my lifetime. But the hardest thing I think I have experienced is the fact that this coronavirus has caused me to be totally separated from my family. In hard times we have always been able to physically embrace one another to show our love and support. But now I stand alone in this place.” — Words of 100-year-old nursing home resident in isolation from all outside visitors including family.
If we get another chance to see our loved ones and our friends in facilities, please take advantage of this ministry opportunity. There are many lonely days in the lives of our senior citizens.
The biblical word “patience” does not primarily mean putting up with a difficult person or responding to frustration with a gentle voice. Biblical patience is about staying under the load, not giving in or giving up. For many of us it means not caving in to pessimism or fear or sadness or blaming (all of which come at us in the noise of the culture).
Where shall we find such beautiful patience? It does not come by gritting our teeth and holding our tongue. Godly patience is birthed by the spirit of Jesus in us when He is in control.
It is the job of a leader to keep people focused, to keep the church focused. That’s what leaders do, and if you ever notice, poor leaders lose focus and good leaders keep focus.
Pastor Ken Adams
From the Twitterverse
If theological reflection doesn’t lead you to grow in your love of God and neighbor, then you may know a lot of facts about theology, but you missed the point of the exercise.
The incomprehensibility of God’s person and works should never be a cause for doubt but a catalyst for wonder. Why should we marvel at that which is small enough to be encompassed by or encaged in a finite human mind?
The assurance in Christ of a future, physical existence with the Lord should encourage us in whatever we face today, transform us in our love for God and for our neighbors and embolden us to tell everyone we can the good news of who Jesus is and what He has done.
The greatest challenge facing American evangelicals today doesn’t come from lame media persecution, nor from worn out liberal theology, nor from some imagined conspiracy within. Our greatest challenge remains in our own hearts, in particular how we value our fellow human beings!
Faith isn’t blind optimism. Faith points us beyond our problems to the presence and power of a God who is with us and for us!
People crave certainty, but as a leader, certainty is beyond your control. The next best thing is clarity.
Now is the time for the Church to show what it’s made of.
This semester has been unique to say the least. As students finish up the school year, let’s remember that our ministry to students doesn’t end. How can we continue to #ReachEveryStudent this summer in light of current circumstances?