Being Church now is really hard. It's month five and we are all weary from the constant adaptation. Whatever we have decided to do - daily emails, Zoom worship or live-streaming from the sanctuary - we are all ready for this to be "over." But even when the pandemic is under control, and the right vaccine has been made available, the ways in which we have reached out to one another will have changed us. We will not go back to "normal." We will move forward into a future that is decidedly digital. We will be ministering in a new faith community that lives and prays beyond the borders of our building.Some churches are finding that the movement online - while forced by the circumstances of COVID-19 - has brought new friends into the virtual narthex. As we all consider the post-pandemic Church, most agree we won't be pulling the plug on online ministry any time soon.
The transition to online worship has been easier for some congregations than for others. There is no magic formula, but I am seeing that the most "successful" transitions happen when leadership is determined to make the leap. Another factor is having someone in the congregation who gets it and can assist the clergy - a digital minister. When these two factors coincide, great worship content can reach to the stars.
If the congregation doesn't have a digital "ringer" in the assembly, then the entire streaming/Zooming enterprise has landed on the priest. While some of us have good digital skills, some started
ex nihilo. I have had a rush of admiration especially for these non-natives who pushed through the jargon and the platform specs and made it work. You know who you are! And, for those of you who think I know how to do all this stuff, well, let me tell you about the Sunday I screen-shared Rich Simpson's sermon video, and a whole lot of nothing came out of his mouth. That was early days before I learned to "enable computer sound." We are all learning and stretching ourselves beyond anything we learned in seminary. There was no "Zoom Church 101."
So, at the five month mark, I think it's good to be mindful of how much we - lay and ordained leaders - have achieved. It's also a good time to thank my colleague,
Ellen Lincourt, for her willingness to give her free time to assisting our congregations with equipment choices, problem-solving and best practices. Ellen knows this territory as a professional in media technology, and we have been blessed by her ministry.
So, here comes the good news.
will resume in August and continue through the end of the year. When I spoke with Ellen recently she shared her impression of this digital shift.