Church in the Time of COVID-19
Updated: May 7, 2020
Main Idea: Learning a new way of worshipping is an opportunity we should not miss.
Most of us have realized, over the last few days, that “things are getting real” with the declaration of a pandemic. Mainline churches have older congregations, and we are more at risk than most from this illness.
Some churches have suspended corporate worship. More will. This can sound frightening, but I see it as an opportunity.
Let me remind you that the Church is one of the world’s oldest “distributed communities.”
A distributed community shares an identity, a history, it’s knowledge and beliefs, and resources. A distributed community has defined ways for new members to become part of the community, defined ways and times to gather in the same space, and defined patterns of behavior that encourage group cohesion.
Church has a long history of sharing all of these things. Today we see the exact same patterns among other distributed communities, including communities all over the internet: Facebook, dozens of kinds of social media, private online communities, Discord, Slack, Second Life, and many others.
Frankly, the Church has been a model for all of this.
The technology behind these other distributed communities should not cause fear in the Church. It’s just a tool to help us be the Church. And we’ve always used the tools available to us, no matter how "newfangled" they are.
So as some of us spend a little time away from each other - depending on your local best practices - let’s consider this an opportunity to practice and learn new technologies. We may find later that they are useful tools that connect us with new believers, younger people, and each other as we grow older.
"Where do I start? I don’t even know how to use my cell phone!”
Fear not. I’ve spent many years tutoring non-tech people to use their technology. I keep it simple, keep it practical, and I am infinitely patient with learners. If you need tutoring, let’s talk.
With just a little bit of learning and a little bit of technology, you can have access to the technologically-connected Church in many ways, most of which are not frightening, not expensive, and not too “out there.”
Here is one example:
The Rev. Ed Zelley at St Luke’s Episcopal Church in Metuchen, NJ has live Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline. Can’t join live? It’s recorded for later. Morning Prayer is at 9 a.m. (Sundays at 7:15 a.m.), Evening Prayer is at 5 p.m., and Compline is at 8:45 p.m. Eastern Time, if you want to log in. Links: https://www.facebook.com/StLukesChurch and https://www.stlukesmetuchen.org/. The Facebook page is public - no friend request needed!
Many churches are exploring the capabilities of Zoom meetings, Facebook Live, and other online meetings. They don’t replace face-to-face, but they tide us over until we can be together in the flesh.
Isn’t a little technology to keep us worshipping better than no church at all? I think so. And I can help you learn the ropes. Easy peasy.
Smaller, shrinking mainline churches through the US and Canada can be isolated. That's why I created our own private online community in addition to our Facebook community here at Grow+Small Church Consulting.
Facebook Community https://www.facebook.com/groups/617878082282997/
Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/growsmallchurch
Grow+Small Church Community https://www.growsmallchurch.com/community