Reopening Church and Online Services

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Written by Paul Steinbrueck

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Continuing our theme of Church Reopening Month, one thing that needs to be taken into consideration in your church reopening plan is that some people are not going to feel comfortable returning to your church building for a while.

Most churches that did not have services online before COVID-19 switched to online services – either live streaming or posting pre-recorded videos – the week they were forced to shut down. But now if churches simply switch back to in-person worship services, they risk abandoning all those people who are not ready to return.

The big question is…

When your church reopens, how are you going to serve the people who choose to stay away for a while longer?

I strongly recommend as your church reopens and begins to meet in person again, continuing to do whatever form of online services you’ve been doing through the pandemic.

There are two big reasons for this:

1) The longer the pandemic continues the more isolated people feel. People are going to feel even more isolated if it seems like “everyone else” is meeting together but they are missing out.

2) Because of the feelings of isolation and the fear or missing out, some people who are older or have underlying health issues, may feel compelled to meet in person when they really shouldn’t.

If you’ve been live streaming services, continue live streaming at the same time and using the same platform so people can continue to worship with you online.

If you’ve been pre-recording video of the sermon or the whole service, perhaps you make a slight adjustment here. Instead of pre-recording, you can record the in-person sermon or service, and publish it online as quickly as you can (preferably Sunday).

When your life groups start to meet in person again, consider continuing at least one online group for those who are not ready to meet in person yet.

At this time, one of the greatest ways you can love people is by giving them the freedom to come back to in-person gatherings when they feel ready. No pressure. No guilt. No missed opportunities.

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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Here are some resources to help with this…

Comment and discuss… Are you planning to continue online services as your church begins to meet in person again? Why or why not? And what will those online services look like?

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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.