This past Sunday I joked from the pulpit about those who were engaging via the Sunday morning livestream of our worship service. “Shame on you,” I said, “for watching in the 70-degree comfort of your living room!” You see, the temperature in the worship center was a chilly 60 degrees!
The truth is that we are incredibly grateful for the technology that allows us to engage with those who can not worship in person. These days it is a welcome and necessary option. Weather. Covid. Out of town. The reasons for not being able to attend in person are varied.
Is online worship the same as in person? Of course not. There is something to be said for being in the room with fellow believers. Lifting our collective voices in praise and prayer. And experiencing the preaching moment with all of the dynamics the room presents. Online worship is not intended to take the place of in-person worship.
But in this ongoing season of Covid and cold weather, I am glad we have online worship. Over the past four Sundays our in-person attendance has varied widely. We’ve had as many as 85 in the room with another 35 joining online. And as few as 65 in the room with another 50 or so joining us online. One thing I am noticing is that our folks are incredibly faithful to engage in worship even when they can’t be in the room!
Tips for a More Meaningful Online Worship Experience
A few days ago, a pastor-friend shared some tips for those who worship online. I hope these are helpful for those times when you can’t gather in person:
- Get up (if you are able)! Don’t lay in bed and expect to participate meaningfully in worship.
- Get ready! Eat some breakfast. Make a cup of coffee. Get a shower. At the very least, brush your teeth and hair. Change out of your pajamas. OK, this one may be asking too much!
- Gather your family. Meet in the same room together, if possible.
- Get rid of distractions. Turn off ringers. Put away any unnecessary devices. Be intentional about focusing.
- Pray! Ask God to bless you and those who will be leading, teaching, and worshiping online with your church family. Pray that God would speak, that we would listen, and that our response would honor Him.
- Grab a Bible. Whether it is a physical, paper copy or a digital copy, have your bible ready to open and read. Grab a notepad and pen, and be ready to jot down notes and takeaways from the sermon.
- Participate! Just because you are not in the worship center doesn’t mean you should be silent and inactive. Sing, pray, listen, respond, and even give to your church. You can give online by CLICKING HERE.
- Let your church know you are there, and invite others to join you. Your church leaders could be very discouraged by not meeting in person. Let them know you are there praying, worshiping, and joining in the service by commenting or messaging on the social media platform or website. Share the link to the service on your social media and invite others to worship with you. You would be surprised to know how many people will watch, simply because you personally invited them!
- Respond. If you made a decision or have a prayer need, let us know. We will be glad to help you and pray for you. You can complete a Connection Card by CLICKING HERE.
- Celebrate! Take joy in knowing that the Spirit can speak to you and others through the online service. After the service, share what God has done to encourage and challenge you through this time of worship. This will make you more grateful and ready to gather with your church family again soon. One way to share is to post the link to the livestream on social media with a specific comment about something that impacted you from the service.