Most of our local governments have started or have already lifted COVID restrictions on churches. Unfortunately, many churches are likely to go back to not streaming at all. Let's start with a quick story.
When a church I was once a part of first started live-streaming, we saw an excellent number of viewers. This was when streaming on Facebook and YouTube really started to become more accessible but before it really caught on with churches. Our online views were quite impressive, considering the gear and in-person attendance we had. Furthermore, we had many consistent viewers who often asked for prayer, messaged our page, etc.
However, there was a problem. The leadership wasn't future-minded. Instead of utilizing technology, they choose to invest in expensive tactics that didn't utilize the modern tools we had at our disposal. Excuses would often be, "A church that hosted a conference does this." or my personal favorite, "At my old church, we did it this way." Sounding familiar?
A year or two into live streaming every Sunday church service, the pastor shut it down. Why? Good question.
He claimed that a person told him they hadn't been coming to in-person church because they stayed home to watch the live stream.
Sadly that's a story many church techs in smaller churches know all too well.
Often church leadership feels threatened by live stream attendance.
In this article, I want to explore a few potential reasons for that and attempt to give you a good response for each concern.
We're Not Good Enough
"My sermons aren't as engaging as Stephen Furtick's sermons."
That's probably true, okay.. that's definitely true.
But, that doesn't mean that your sermon isn't just as important.
You as a minister in your local church can do something that Stephen Furtick will never be able to do, and that's minister to the needs of your people. Messages don't have to be entertaining and they shouldn't always make everyone smile. The messages that God sends you are tailor-made for the people who will hear them. Maybe that's thousands through a podcast, or maybe it's the 50 who are in your church every week. You don't have to compare yourself to others, because God sent you, not them.
Imposture syndrome can be tough for anyone who puts themselves out there. However, it's important to remember that it never has and never will be you who is ministering to your congregation. No, when you follow God's direction your sermons are designed by Him and perfect for His people. Give God the control and follow His guidance because none of us are worthy nor are we qualified to be a servant of the King.
It's okay if things aren't 💯 polished.
Really. It's fine.
What matters is that God's message can be spread through The church to the world. God placed you in an age where you can reach the whole world from your pulpit and expects you to make His story known.
Our Music Isn't Good Enough
Why do you bother having music on Sunday? Why not just gather around and listen to Spotify? Oh wait, it's to worship God. 😏
The goal of your Sunday worship should never be to sound the best or hit every note on key, no, the goal of Sunday worship is to worship your creator and to sing His praises!
If you're getting stuck on perfection and comparing your worship to someone else's worship you may need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and think about why you show up every Sunday.
To get to be on stage? 💡
To be famous? 📸
To show off? 🎤
We gather together to worship the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and Creator of the Universe.
It's not for the worshipers, but the worshiped. 🤲 Broadcasting your Sunday worship service allows people anywhere in the world to join you and worship alongside your in-person congregation. That reminds me of something...
"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." - Matthew 18:20
That's powerful stuff and I think it applies to online too! 🔥
People Would Rather Stay Home
As we've all experienced through the pandemic, no one enjoys Zoom calls. If people would truly rather sit at home and watch your church rather than be a part of your church in person maybe there are deeper issues in your church services.
Okay now... don't get defensive.
- Why do people get bored or tired during your service?
- Are there any opportunities to help things flow together more seamlessly?
- Would these people actually come if we didn't live stream or is it just an excuse?
- Are these people actively participating in the live stream chat?
Not everyone likes your local church's style of music or atmosphere and that's okay. It's not like most of North American has a shortage of churches. 🌎
Not live streaming will not only cut off people who can't attend your church due to health reasons but will also prevent visitors from trying your church before attending to find out if it's a good fit. If people choose to only watch the live stream you should, by all means, encourage people to join you in person, but for some people, the live stream is the only church they can get. Cutting them off from that could have a disastrous impact on their life.
Instead of deciding to force people to only be able to experience your church in person, look for ways to make in-person more engaging. You want people to watch your live stream and think "Wow, this service really touched my life. I can't wait to experience worship at this church in person!" But to do that you need to find out what issues there are that are causing people to stay home and tackle those head-on. 🎯