by Jeff Reed: I realized something was up today when I saw many of my friends from seminary post their church’s livestream for the very first time. I didn’t realize what a groundbreaking thing video was because I have a lot of friends in the church online and digital ministry spaces. But these were large churches and small churches, Southern and Northern, and church online was brand new for them. They “broadcasted” a version of their service for the very first time.
Let me ask you to think outside the box with church in these times.
COVID-19 will not always be with us. Churches won’t be cancelled or banned for long. Once this is over, you can go back to normal and pick up where you left off. While churches are cancelled for the next few weeks, let me ask you to think outside the box and pick a new target for your service.
You see the mandate of the church is to make disciples, not hold services. Services are a means to an end. So rather than try to figure out how to put your service online, why not take the chance to see how you can make disciples with your livestream.
Think about the coming weeks as a chance to continue to do ministry. We’re using digital tools to do ministry, not to conduct services.
Don’t hear what I’m not saying. Preaching is important. But preaching and teaching and musical worship are tools that we use to “equip the saints for works of service.” Ask yourself, “In the coming 2-8 weeks, how can I use all our tools to equip our people for works of service in this time?”
Pick a place or setting that allows you to communicate what you want to communicate. Don’t pick your scene because it is bland or because it is normal. Pick a place that communicates what you want to communicate. If you are at the office, preach from your office. If you are at home, why not use your home as the setting. The church lobby could be a good setting, but the scene you use communicates a lot.
Try putting different elements together to make the discipleship opportunity that you want. Instead of the normal 3 songs, offering and message, you could prerecord the message right out of your office or den, add an intro, add a clip asking for prayer requests, and then go live at the end of the prerecorded sections to pray for those things right there on the livestream.
Go live every day to pray for your community and communicate news about conditions and alerts.
Consider prerecording your music like a simple acoustic worship video. This is a great guide.
Instead of being so concerned with getting your online giving included in the service (you should have online giving already), why not focus on how to bless, pray for, and engage your church and community.
Going online should increase the “touch” not decrease it. You are not broadcasting a message or service, you are participating with people who watch and engage. Answer their questions in the comments, thank them for being there, follow up with every comment. It is extra work, but it is a high touch thing that makes the difference.