What a dramatic shift we have all taken over the past weeks. In terms of our church life, has there been a time when a congregation was unable to gather at our church? The shift to online services has been demanding and I thank our team who have contributed over the past few weeks. They have been outstanding. I must mention especially Tim Badger and Glenn Dixon. They have served us through their technical knowledge and significant time. They have worked hard so we can keep improving.
I shared this week with the worship team online services are demanding for at least 3 reasons:
- Visual – we are all people see. This makes the stage the single focus of the ‘audience’. This does not happen normally as people can look at the words screen or each other.
- Audio- we are all people hear. People are unlikely to be singing or playing along (although I hear there is strong enthusiasm in some homes). There is more scrutiny on the vocals, the mix, the instruments, the performance. It can be harder work to produce a strong sound. There is no congregation to sing along, to fill out the sound, to energize the team.
- Live – this is all done live to a camera. There is no rewind, replay, edit, or sound mixing tricks.
All this puts pressure on the team to look better, sound better. Which is fine, to a point. It harms our worship together when the aesthetics have a higher value than our God, our people, the content, our character, our hearts. I think this is our challenge – how can we experience God’s presence among us, while on stage in an empty church or viewing through our screens? We are not trying to ‘compete’ with highly professional services. We want to build our sense of worship, connection, and community as a local church. This means we highlight our congregation members, connect to our local contexts and challenges, integrate our online content into the community life together.
I am not anticipating social restrictions will change for at least the coming 6-8 weeks. I anticipate we will be running online services for at least 3 more months, probably more. I thank you for your grace as we keep growing. We know God can use all kinds of people and circumstances for his good and glory. This is what we pray for.
Jason (Photo by epiphan.com/)