Sometimes, just knowing people are going to be there for you is enough. I’ll leave it to you and your church to decide if permanent live streaming is a viable option for your church. Whether we agree or disagree on the uses of technology going forward in our churches, I hope we can all agree that nothing will ever replace the importance of the physical gathering of God’s people on Sunday mornings.
Our church is back to having Sunday worship services in person. We still have Facebook Live going for those who don’t feel comfortable joining quite yet, but for those who do, they (and anyone else) is welcome to our physical gathering. One by one as our people trickle back in, I hear a recurring saying: “Thank you for putting together the online services, but they’re just not the same.”
The online church service pales in comparison to the physical gathering on Sundays.
The first person to tell me this was an elderly lady in our church. It was during a phone conversation. She hasn’t been back to our church because her personal health condition is so bad that, according to her doctor, if she gets COVID, she won’t make it. She hasn’t left her house much in months. So, I decided to call her to check-in. She desperately misses her church family, and we can’t wait until she returns.
As we spoke, I could tell there was something she wanted to get off her chest. She was selective about word choice and tonality but finally uttered what was on her mind. “I’m thankful for the online service,” she said, with hesitation in her voice, trying hard not to offend me, “but it’s just not the same.”
She thought she was going to offend me. In reality, her words were a source of encouragement. She affirmed a suspicion that I and countless thousands of pastors across the globe are having. There can be wisdom in implementing the uses of technology like live streaming and Facebook Live and YouTube, and this can be helpful, but these are and always will be inferior remedies compared to the physical gathering of the local body.