How to Get the Most Out of Church Online

    03.29.20 | Pastoral Reflections by Brad Sumner

    This is a unique time in the life of the church, friends.  Not being able to gather in embodied community is hard. I miss meeting together in one place for worship, teaching, coffee and connection time, and communion.  But while we cannot come together in person, we can absolutely heave meaningful time together online.

    In this season of physical separation, we will use YouTube to host our Sunday gatherings (the link to our channel where we live stream is here).  It’s not a replacement of being together and it sure feels different to sing along in my living room but I want to share a little guidance to help us all engage in online worship as best as we possibly can. 

    1. Be fully present – You’ll face a lot of digital distractions. This is new and can feel novel. But choose to stay committed and engaged. We’ve shortened the segment lengths this week and enhanced the family-inclusive component with narrative-driven teaching.
    2. Be Aware of the limitations of the medium - Because our computers, phones, and televisions are so often used to consume entertainment, it takes work for us to connect with God in this way. One thing to consider is being intentional about making the space in which you will engage more conducive for worship.  You may choose a particular room to avoid places you usually consume media, or maybe you will light a candle. Let’s do something to stand against the inclination to merely consume.  We are working at this in our gatherings by having multiple voices and things like responsive readings.   
    3. Engage (Like, Share, Comment) – One of the benefits of an online gathering is that you can ask questions or make observations in real time (use the comments section connected with the video). You can also share an invitation to the gathering with your friends on your social media feeds and invite your friends to watch with you.   
    4. Worship, Don’t Just Watch – You can’t feed your body by watching other people eat and you can’t feed your soul by watching other people worship. So make this a spiritual time – sing, pray, read the word along with us. Most importantly, listen for God’s voice and respond in faith to what you hear. 

    This is a challenging season. We continue to hold each of you in prayer as God brings you to mind. You are such an incredible community, and we are so grateful for you. “See” you this Sunday.

    Pastor Brad

    (source credit for some of this material: Peri Zahnd via Instagram)