With everyone live streaming and replaying content, is going to church still relevant? It’s not just this generation; older people are online more than ever. Why go to church if you can watch it on your smartphone or laptop or stream it up to your television. The Bible says in Hebrews 10:25, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Christians understand this to mean we should go to a church, but in the information is a physical church required if there is active engagement during live streaming?
The answer will be based more on tradition or the release of tradition and the evolved understanding “…assembling together…” The debate would be if virtual reality an actual reality because we can interact with each other even though we cannot touch each other. In some churches, membership is in the thousands, and people do not touch each other or interact with leadership except at altar call, and then it’s mostly those at the front of the lines. The internet is bringing the earth’s population closer, and the church can reach more people than ever with its use of technology. Many will say that the physical church is the biblical church, and there will be some born who may never know what a physical church was.
Gather Reviews from Churchgoers
Facebook and other social media platforms are increasingly using reviews and recommendations to help users get good information about local businesses and ministries. These online platforms are also vehicles for live streaming sermons which is helpful if people cannot make it to the building for church service. If congregants are new to an area, just visiting, and want to attend church but don’t have local traveling capabilities, they can search for local churches that have a live streaming option.
How to Preach Online to Social Media Viewers
The most important thing to do when preaching to an online audience is to engage them the same way you would an actual audience. Many ministers treat live streaming like a tv show rather than a real live audience. This behavior makes the live streamer feel left out and unimportant. Preach to your streaming audience the same as if they were in the room with you or on a conference call. Acknowledge your live streaming audience by providing call to actions such as “If you’re watching by Facebook, wave at me” or “Father bless those watching by live stream”, or “Welcome and thanks for joining by Facebook, please put your amen(s) and Hallelujahs in the comment section so we can see them.”
Ask for Reviews from Online Viewers
Invite online guests to review your sermons before they log off. Let them know how much you appreciate them taking the time to watch through live stream. Ask them to share their experience and what your church can do to better their experience next time. Invite them to partner with your ministry online and to connect in person if they get that opportunity. Let your online audience know that they can bring their tithes and give offerings through your website or text messaging. Include a form that they can opt-in for email contact or by phone.
The Bible preaches the same no matter which space it's in, so there is no need to preach differently. The Word of God stands firm on its own. Viewers watch more closely on live stream than in person to feel more connected. Viewers will look for body language as indicators of truthfulness. Continue to teach biblical principles and a manner that is relatable and understandable, and your message will transcend any sphere.
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