I’m sure many of you feel like this is a test.
A test of faith. Resolve. Perseverance.
But what’s the point of a test if you don’t learn anything?
I wanted to make some observations that I believe I’ve learned about the church, church people, church leaders, etc. through this time. Some are good, some need some work, but I think overall it’s really good to take a step back and try to really evaluate ourselves.
Our church. Our programs. Our philosophy. Our faith. And even our people.
Observation 1: We can cooperate when we need to
It’s been amazing to see churches and Christian entrepreneurs work together to help each other out. Prices have been reduced, things have been given away for free, Live sessions in the FB groups meant to help us more than doubled.
The competition that was so prevalent between churches before seems to have eroded quite a bit. It’s been really cool to see churches share resources with each other as well as ideas. Speaking of that…
Observation 2: There are lots of great ideas out there
Pressure makes pearls, does it not? I’ve seen churches get really creative to try and reach people digitally over the last few weeks. Really wish I’d bought stock in Zoom.
Sure, church communicators have been harping on some of these things for a while, but it’s been cool to see Pastors and Communicators join forces to do some really great work for the Kingdom. I hope it stays that way.
Observation 3: We were too busy with things that didn’t matter.
God can use anything for his purpose. I truly believe that. I think he might be using this time to show us in church leadership what truly is valuable. We’ve moved from a time of abundance where we can get pretty much anything we want delivered to our doorstep in 2 days to actually needing things. Important things! Like toilet paper and hand sanitizer!
Now we are slowing down, spending more time with family, & spending less on gas. I know having the kids home and still trying to work has been tough, but it’s also a blessing. I hope we see the things we used to obsess over every day with a new perspective when we get on the other side of this lockdown.
Observation 4: We have lots of dreams we haven’t worked on
I’m amazed how many posts I’m seeing where someone is learning a skill or starting a hobby that they “have been meaning to get to but never have time for.”
It kinda makes me sad. Is it possible that we all have a few dreams that have gone unattended because of work and responsibilities? Hopefully, we’ll make time for those things when things “go back to normal.”
Observation 5: Overly emotional worship doesn’t really translate to the screen
Ok, with tongue-in-cheek, hear me out here. Worship is different online than it is in person. Can we agree on that? I’m not really one for overly-expressive and emotionalized worship, but it REALLY doesn’t translate to the screen.
I don’t know what it is. I keep thinking “man, they are REALLY painfully constipated.” I guess I’ll forever be a junior high boy. But still, think about it. I don’t have an answer for what we should do, but it feels less authentic on screen than in person. Maybe it’s just me. Let’s figure that one out, though!
Observation 6: We might have a problem with service worship
One of the weirdest, hardest things to discuss through this whole thing is that I think God might be revealing that what our churches have worshipped is our “experience” in worship.
The polished presentation that fits perfectly in a 75-minute container doesn’t do it for me online and I think many feel the same way, but I see a real serious attachment to trying to replicate that online instead of recreating for digital.
I just did a podcast about ordering your service that may work better for online, but what really scares me is how scared pastors are right now.
It’s not that I think we shouldn’t want a live service in person. I miss my church family so much! But I don’t miss the production. I don’t miss the “experience.” I miss the community.
It’s important to take a real hard look at ourselves here and decide what we really miss. Do we miss the people? Do we miss worship together? Or do we miss being on stage? Do we miss feeling like we’ve accomplished something by putting together an excellent experience for others?
Do we miss seeing lives change? Or do we miss being important in someone’s story of life change? Do we miss teaching God’s Word or do we miss being an example to people?
I don’t know. I think we’re all susceptible to all of those things. Let’s miss corporate worship for the right reasons!
Seth has been in ministry for over 20 years, recently serving as Communications Director at a thriving church in North Dallas. He is also the host of The Seminary of Hard Knocks podcast, blogs at sethmuse.com, and has his Masters of Arts in Media and Communications from Dallas Theological Seminary. Seth specializes in helping church communicators use social media and content marketing to find common ground with their audience to empower them for spiritual growth.