Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Warts and all. . .
Live streaming and video was never to be a substitute for in person worship. In emergency times you use emergency means and the rush for pastors to be social media personalities and for worship you can tune into (as well as tune out of) was in response to lock downs and orders that prevented the Church from assembling together. I am not at all sure that continuing what was done in an emergency is either wise or prudent. But I am mostly a Luddite (hence the blog) and so what do I know?
Online attendance numbers are grand. Until you look below the surface, anyway. For all the high fives and thumbs up, dig underneath and you find the technology has warts. Few folks watch the whole video. Few watch it without fast forwarding to the good parts. In the end, you may celebrate high numbers of people who watch a few minutes but if you think that these people are with you to the benediction, wake up and smell the roses. Social media may be good for a few things but these things must be accepted warts and all.
Worship is something that cannot be done online. There is no such things as virtual communion, virtual prayer, or virtual singing. I am not even sure that listening online can be counted on except for virtual communication and we know how effective that can be. To presume that people will continue to retain loyalty to and support a congregation whose door they do not darken is risky business. To presume that people who watch are really being reached, catechized, or nurtured to maturity of faith and life in Christ requires you to swallow hard.
So I have presumed nothing about the video we have posted except that people know we are still here. I am thankful that 36% watch to the end and that hundreds and hundreds tune in for a minute or two or three. But I am not ready to say this is a great thing. A tool, perhaps. An effective tool? Still to be determined. But a substitute for meeting together (even with some physical distance!), never.