Is there an alternative to face-to-face church that isn’t online?

Like most churches that I know, Pingkian Family Worship embraced the idea of a pre-recorded or live-streamed church service early on in the days of the pandemic. Now of course we are so used to that kind of worship that some wonder if there will always be a segment of society that wants to continue to do church virtually. But what if for some reason doing a hybrid live + online service is less than ideal? What options are available?

I was reading Carey Nieuwhof’s blog the other day and he talked about what we need to do when the pandemic is over [5 CRITICAL MISTAKES CHURCH LEADERS SHOULD AVOID IN THE POST-COVID WORLD]. Point #3 was that we can’t resume in-person services exactly as they were pre-COVID. He says, 

“But many church leaders are considering running two kinds of services: in-person and then a separate one devoted to online. In other words, online will become something other than just a live-stream of whatever is happening in the auditorium or sanctuary on Sunday.” 

Carey Nieuwhof

He got me thinking about Pingkian Family Worship and & the applicability of a hybrid church service. Once we can gather face-to-face again, what is the ability or desire of people in our community to watch something online? Is that something that’s even applicable in a place like Pingkian?I was  listening to our class on applied leadership and Pastor Oliver from Cagayan de Oro talked about what they are doing in their church. He called it “simbalay,” which is a blending of the words “simba” [worship] and “balay/bahay” [home] together and is the idea that people are doing church in their own homes. That got me thinking that perhaps in the Philippine context a hybrid service isn’t an in person service + an online presence but rather an in person service + a worship-at-home kind of service.

So how would this fit in Pingkian? If in COVID-times an online service can serve as a means of equipping people to lead church in their bubbles, perhaps a face-to-face service can be a way of equipping people to lead their families in worship at home as well. 

I guess we need to do some kind of survey among our members. We can ask them questions such as: 

  • What do you enjoy about worship? 
  • What do you need from worship? 
  • And what can you give in worship? 

This will help us know how we can better prepare them for leading their families at home. But there would be a continued corporate portion to our twice-a-month services as well. Perhaps there could be an online component for those who can’t make it, such as people who are isolated at home, people who are working and can’t come, and other people.

I guess we need to identify those people who have previously fallen through the cracks when it comes to being able to attend a corporate worship service in person. I’m thinking about people who because of their work aren’t able to attend. Perhaps people who are sick or bedridden or or need to stay home are also not able to attend. I wonder what other forms of isolation people experience that keeps them from attending a face-to-face service?

So I guess those are my questions for you guys: 

  • What do you enjoy about worship? 
  • What do you need from worship? 
  • And what can you give in worship?

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