Is Your Online Service a Temporary Fix or a New Missions Strategy?

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Many churches already had tech teams in place by the time COVID hit a year ago. They would record the services, usually with a single camera pointed at the pastor or the platform. It rapidly became the church's service for shutins.

Many churches continued with the online services during COVID, offering live broadcast through their website and then archived on YouTube. It was tagged as a temporary solution until things return to normal.

This past week I met a tech-savvy pastor who took their online service to a new level. He used to be a Senior Pastor. Today he's called the Weekend Experience Director. He "oversees the directing, planning, and coordination of the execution and evaluation of the weekend experience for 8,000 physical attendees and 20,000 online guests." The church invested almost $3 million in tech upgrades for their three campuses.

Okay. Not your average CRC. This brings World Missions to the local pulpit. They have teams of volunteers who regularly connect with those 20,000 online guests. . . from around the world.

This church saw an opportunity; an opportunity that every CRC has. Yes, it will require an investment—in highly qualified leaders who have both the vision and the gifts to lead this ministry, an investment in AV technology (a few cameras and state-of-the-art sound system), but first a vision by the church council and congregation to truly realize that the proverbial mission field is indeed just beyond the church sanctuary's doors.

COVID provides an opportunity for churches to reimagine their ministry and their worship reach. Unfortunately, for too many churches, those stationary cameras may very well be turned off once we return to 'regular' worship. Pity.

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Interesting topic. Looking forward to the discussion. 

Contributor

Barna along with Stadia Church Planting has produced a study and suggestions on how to help churches become Phygital (Physical + Digital). The idea is that it is not simply about putting worship services on YouTube, but how do we do evangelism (some churches are seeing great success here) and discipleship online. Most congregations in the U.S. are taking first steps in all of this, but it is an amazing opportunity that is before us.

If anyone would like to explore this more you can connect with Vibrant Congregations. We are in the first stages of learning and looking into the future of Phygital.