This morning, we covered the difficult topic of balancing our online presence with our in person worship. In our world of social media and the internet, it’s important that we offer these things as a part of our outreach while at the same time not allowing them to be crutches for ourselves. It’s a difficult balance to keep. I believe in the post-COVID world, online options will continue to increase and social isolation will become a big problem, and not just for churches. I think we will see this in other areas of life—work, school, shopping, etc. COVID isn’t the cause for all of this, but the accelerant. This type of online life was already going to happen eventually.
In many ways, however, I welcome this challenge. I believe this new development revealed a lot of problems that already existed and we simply didn’t realize it. For example, how many of us have subconsciously thought for years that all that is needed for me to “do church” is to be at the building, sing some songs, have communion and listen to a sermon? If that’s what we’ve reduced church to, it’s no wonder the online option appeals to so many of us. We have reduced our concept of church to simply being present for a worship service and a sermon.
There’s so much that could be said here, but I wanted to leave you with a verse—or part of a verse—that captures the thought for me. In Acts 2, at the end of the chapter, there is a paragraph that describes the activity of the early church. Acts 2:44 says, “And all who believed were together and had all things in common…” Did you catch that? It says all who believed were together. At the risk of making more out of a word or phrase than was originally intended, there is something to our togetherness. There are some things that will never be doable online—we will never give hugs, share stories, read facial expressions, or offer a friendly handshake. As human beings, we desire connection—in person connection. Church is not a worship service, it’s PEOPLE. And PEOPLE need connection with each other to support and encourage each other. Online options will continue as an outreach opportunity and a ministry to our shut ins who cannot be with us, but it should never replace our togetherness for those able to come. It can’t.