One of the latest church buzzwords is online services. Some churches are holding back. While it is a fantastic outreach tool, you may want to focus on your local community. Yet the need to reach the entire world with the Gospel is there. Plus, your local congregation can also benefit. Here is how.
Just this past weekend a large winter storm hit the northeastern part of the United States. Businesses closed. Roads shut down. And most relevant, churches delayed or postponed services. Plus I imagine churches that still held services had a lot of empty seats. Why force people to brave the winter elements to enjoy a your service? A live stream of your service would allow them to stay off the roads.
It is inevitable that church members will grow old. Many will find it difficult to make their way to church every week. They may be limited to traveling inside their own house. They might be confined to a nursing home. But an online service can bring them right back into the fold. Being part of an online church community may be the perfect cure for their loneliness.
This article is coming out in the middle of winter. It is also the time when many of my co-workers are coming down with the flu. Do not let sickness keep someone from worship. Your congregation can keep their germs on the other side of a computer screen. All the while, still participating in your church service.
Some of your existing or potential members may suffer from social anxiety disorders. You may feel right at home in the middle of a crowd. Yet many people run from these situations. Even worse, many children suffer from these conditions. Children adopted from broken homes often feel uncomfortable in larger social situations. Invite adoptive families to introduce their child to the Gospel. Yet allow them to do this in the most comfortable way possible.
Temporarily Separated Members
Services at your home church should not have to stop because you leave for college. A member of your country's military should not be isolated from your congregation. Help these members remain part of your community. Business trips and deployments should not keep you away. Use technology to keep them involved. It will help family members and those separated.
You can go big or go small when creating an online church campus. It could be as simple as using Periscope or Google Hangouts to live stream a service. Yet these simpler methods do not scale well. If you are going to be serious about online church, you should probably consider the Church Online platform. You may need additional volunteers to run it well. But consider the impact you could have on your church. Many only see the external people that can be helped. Yes, you may get visitors from all over the world. Yet your local congregation can enjoy this too. Please prayerfully consider them when leadership is setting priority for your ministries.
Photo courtesy of Gokhan Okur