The other day I was talking with my friend about what aspects of her life have changed the most in recent months. She mentioned that one of the biggest changes to her routine has been now attending church completely virtually. She pointed out that she initially hated the idea. She missed her friends, the live music, the opportunity for her kids to mingle with other Christian children- but to her surprise, she has also discovered some benefits to virtual services.
Here are 7 benefits of having church online!
1. Online church reaches people at a global level- Your small community congregation of 50-100 people can now hypothetically influence and impact millions of people virtually. Setting up online services allows anyone with an internet connection to log on and join in.
2. Online church causes fewer distractions- Beleive it or not, I have been more focused when watching church online than I am when I go in person. Think about it this way: what do you normally do on Sabbath morning? What are you thinking about? Are you relaxed or in a rush? I know for me and even in my family growing up there was a lot of concern with how we dressed, if we fed the cat, and what the traffic was going to be like. Now that we are staying home, the focus is able to shift away from worry about if my makeup looks good or not. I can stay in my PJs!
3. Online church gets personal- Having church from home reminds me that God is truly with me anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes we begin to compartmentalize our lives. God only feels familiar or present when we are in a church building. Online church breaks that barrier. Now you are experiencing God's presence in your living room. This can really be a wake-up call in a sense. God is truly here.
4. Online church is marketable- It can feel daunting and uncomfortable to invite a friend to church. Maybe you are comfortable inviting them, but they are never comfortable enough to actually come. Online church provides a solution for that. Friends can now join in and see what this church thing is all about without some of the added pressure of what is socially appropriate at "church". It has truly never been easier to invite people to give church a try than right now.
5. Online church is affordable- As much as we love our big, beautiful buildings and amazing social events, running a church (and any organization really) costs money. The power bill, the water bill, the mortgage- whatever expenses churches are facing can be significantly cut back or eliminated if there is no longer a need for a large physical building. I'm not advocating that we get rid of our church grounds (actually I recommend you keep them), but I am pointing out the financial benefit of not having to operate one all the time!
6. Online church is collaborative- I have been sincerely impressed with the way ministry leaders and praise teams have united to apply their talents to the online church world. In some ways, I think church leaders are more involved and engaged with their congregations than ever before! They can no longer rely on face-to-face interaction. This causes them to get creative and think outside of the box.
7. Online church is a blessing- at the end of the day, it is simply refreshing to know that even when people are trapped at home they still want to participate in church. We often see a lot of negativity surrounding religion, church, and God in society today but the truth is, church is still an integral part of many peoples' lives. God uses church to bless and encourage us tremendously- in-person or online!