Churches around the U.S. are implementing digital services to their fellowship options, and millions of people tune in every Sunday to get their weekly sermon. After all, state governors closed nearly every public area churches needed to find a way to continue their practices.
Many churches resorted to using Facebook Live to broadcast their message, but some have shared Bible verses and scriptures through the daily paper. Now, Facebook Live is the most popular streaming service but Youtube Live and SermonCast are also very popular. Diane Adcock, a member of The United Methodist Church thinks there are actually many benefits from participating in streamed services.
Adcock enjoys that “you can tune in wherever whenever and that the sermons are recorded so you can watch after the fact.” She also feels like her church is attacking the issue the right way by being “understanding of the struggle we are all in right now and they are doing everything they can to make the sermons great.”
Though Adcock admits that there are some disadvantages by having to be at home, she remains positive. “Usually people will go and eat the meals that the church prepares every Wednesday. It is a time for our fellowship to socialize with one another and become closer as a group.” While trying to focus on the benefits, she hopes to be back in the pews soon.
Due to the pews being empty in reaction to the quarantine, people are now having to adapt to the online services. With no one in the pews, preachers look out to an empty crowd. One preacher actually taped the faces of people onto the pews so he “felt their presence.”
Actually, there have been more viewers tuning in on the online sermons than some would think. People are also taking this time to reflect on what church really means and coming together in new ways that will surely carry over past the quarantine. Some youth pastors are posting bible-related videos on Instagram or Facebook so the younger members can watch them, and this seems to be reaching a new crowd. Most people hope life goes back to the old normal soon; however, the new normal might help church leaders think outside of the box about ways of reaching their congregation, as well as those who still haven’t found a spiritual home.
Youth pastors everywhere are holding conferences to continue youth fellowship. For some kids that is one of the only ways they can talk to their friends since everyone is so secluded. Drew Snyder, a youth member of Dalton’s Christ Church, loves the fact that he can “communicate with his youth group during this time.” He wishes he could be there to talk to his friends in person but “at least we can do something.”
Snyder also feels that the online connection does not provide the fun that was always there at youth group, something that just can’t happen unless people connect in person. An adult member of the church, Allyson Chappelle, had many thoughts about the new quarantine service. “I love the fact that I can do laundry or wash the dishes while watching.”
Chappelle also reflected about the flexibility of the new setup. “There are no worries about running late and having to get your kids dressed.” However, she admits that church members struggle with the lack of connection that once happened with in-person fellowship.
Like teachers, ministers have struggled to be away from their congregations and the connections that the group presents to them. In Florida, a pastor by the name of Rodney Howard-Browne was arrested for not obeying preaching laws. After he conducted many services with in house attendees, he was addressed by authorities. People had been urging him for weeks but he still hadn’t closed down. He was considered reckless for his acts upon his church members.
Local Dalton churches are all trying to reach their congregations in the healthiest ways at this time, from Zoom meetings to Facebook Live broadcasts. Continuing Biblical practices is a great thing to do while community members must safely remain at home and not gather in groups. Spiritual connection can bring people together in big ways. Reach out to one of the local churches if you are feeling isolated and need more connection.