church technology

Funny Video: If Church Online Were “In Person”

Written by Paul Steinbrueck

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A few weeks ago Saturday Night Live did a funny skit about Zoom Church.  (Be forewarned that unfortunately it has some language in it.)

Anyone have a similar experience with their church?

Can I get an, “Amen!?”

I give SNL credit for being dialed in to one of the current struggles churches are having during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Did you know the challenges with church online go back more than a decade?

Making fun of these challenges also goes back more than a decade.

All the way back in 2009, the folks at LifeChurch.tv posted this hilarious video depicting what online church might look like if it happened “in person.”  Check it out!

Pretty funny, huh?  And, IMO, not far from the truth.

It does make me wonder, though… If anything like these videos happened in my offline church, it would be very distracting and awfully difficult to worship, pray, or learn anything…

Post a comment and discuss… If your church has been meeting online, how has it been for you?  Did you find distractions made it difficult to worship, pray, or learn? Has it made you long to gather and worship together again i person?

Just as our physical gatherings should help us long for the eternal gathering, I pray our online gatherings will cause us to long for physical gatherings. -Eric Geiger

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About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.

7 Comments

  • This is hilarious! And I can attest to some of it's "reality" at least. We once did a Taize service (part of which is long moments of intentional silence) online and some guy thought it would be cool to blast a virtual foghorn in the midst of it all, whereupon another woman started screaming maniacally (It was a pre-recorded scream. For all we know, she might not have even been a woman). So…the black tape that they put over some people's mouth? True, true. We've had to "eject" people like that from the service. It bothered me at first, just because we like to think of ourselves as pretty open — but at the end of the day, those people weren't there to worship. They were there to disrupt.

    All that said, however, I should also point out that deliberate acts of distraction like that, in our community at least, are few and far between. Far more common are technical glitches like the video not working, or not working for a particular person. But it has forced us to always have backup options on hand, and to have designated people to go into private message mode to help someone who needs help. All of these things, if you think about it, are the sort of things traditional churches do (and face) on a regular basis, too — just in a different medium. What do you do when the guitarist breaks a string? What do you do when the fire alarm goes off in the middle of worship, or when a baby cries, or when there's feedback on the pastor's microphone? Or, more rare, but still happens, especially in urban churches: What do you do when a homeless guy (who is drunk) wanders in off the street and starts asking (loudly) for money?

    Church of any sort is an adventure. You prepare as best as you can, you learn from your experiences, and you trust God's spirit to move in the mix.

  • Never attended an "online church" but I did recognise the differing characters in the vid. Good stuff and makes me wonder how can online peer pressure ever work – as lets face it, this is what keeps most folks in line in offline situations.

  • LOL about the foghorn (though I suppose it wasn't funny at the time). Next time I come to FPCSL I will fire up this site http://instantchewbacca.com/

    I can relate to the video though, I've been to a few online church and like I wrote in the post about presence, people (including the moderators) chatted throughout the service about whatever was on their mind.

  • We have been having our Worship Service and Connection Group meetings on Zoom. There were times when, as the host, I had to “mute all”, then unmute the leader. Technology is great, when its great. Not everyone has the latest and greatest technological devices though. We had one couple, that was using an older technology laptop, that when connected, caused static across the connection. Once we figured out who it was, we helped them connect on the laptop for the video, mute themselves, then connect on a cell phone for audio. That was slightly inconvenient for them, but worked well once they got used to it. Because we are a class consisting of mostly the “high risk” age group, we are still meeting online, even though many have return to “on-campus” meetings.
    At the beginning, I even had to utilize a service called ScreenConnect to remote into one couples PC, to help them get connected, because they are not very tech savvy. Some good comments, I have heard. “When our grandkids talk about stuff like this, now we know what they are talking about and can relate.” This is fantastic. Now that we have learned how to use this, we can zoom with our kids and grandkids. “

    • Darrell, thanks for sharing your experience with us. Covid has forced a lot of people to adopt new technology quickly. Even though there have been challenges along the way, I love hearing stories of how people helped one another and were able to connect in new ways!

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