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Christ online

Streaming Services?

Christ online

This post comes out of a recent conversation with an under-20-year-old Christian. Most of this person’s age group had moved city for study. It is a struggle for one or two persons of this age group to go to a service where everyone else is older or younger. You only need a few people that you can identify with in a congregation – but if they are not there, it is hard to continue coming.

And dropping worshipping community size works by the Rule of 70 just as our finances do. If your congregation has 7% fewer people in a year, and continues at that rate of decline, it may not seem much (in a congregation averaging 60 people, that’s 4 fewer on average) – in 10 years, your congregational size has halved. [Now it’s 30]. 10 more years and it halves again [to 15]. Growth, of course, works in the other direction – increase year by year by 7% and you double in 10 years.

But decline (and growth) is seldom linear. When 5 of your 7 under 20-year-olds move town (as that age group does), you might lose all 7.

And then there is the loss of the habit of church-going through Covid and lockdowns…

And then there is the live-streaming of services now. This young person told me that the norm in their age-group is to watch online. It is much easier to sit in front of a laptop in in your comfortable pyjamas and check out Instagram through the boring bits. Or look at a recording, fast-forwarding through bits. If we don’t like what’s available locally, the world is our digital worship, preaching, teaching, and worship-songs oyster!

If Communion can be consecrated via the Internet (or off a recording) then there is even a loss of motivation for those of a sacramental Christian approach.

Roman Catholicism, with its tradition of Sunday Mass attendance being obligatory, suspended that obligation but is restoring that requirement in many places as Covid lessens.

And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds,not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:24-25

When leading a service which is being live-streamed, I have tended to welcome those who are physically present and those who are watching via livestream because they cannot be present.

What is being your experience?

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8 thoughts on “Streaming Services?”

  1. I greatly missed the gathering of the community in one place during lockdown, much to my surprise. I did not find zoom or live stream very helpful but I am sure they are here to stay for the younger generations and somehow I am sad for them. However I am old!!!

    1. Thanks, Moya. It is an interesting thought, but one I don’t agree with. Furthermore, I have never yet heard Climate Change as the reason for not going to church. You appear to assume that the norm is driving. We need to shift the norm to walking and biking. We are only just beginning in NZ to rethinking the way we live. The Anglican parish theory was to worship locally. I normally walk the 2km to church. Cars should be seen as appropriate for longer distances and when public transport is not available. Blessings.

      1. There is a corollary to Moya’s suggestion regarding online services as a means to mitigate the effects of climate change.

        When the price of gasoline kept increasing, the LDS Church responded with its consolidated meeting schedule. Prior to this plan, LDS members were traveling from home to their chapels for various meetings scattered throughout the week; children’s primary, youth meetings, women’s Relief Society meetings, etc.

        On 2 MAR 1980, Church members in the United States & Canada began meeting on Sundays in a consolidated meeting schedule, with sacrament meeting, Sunday School, and auxiliary meetings all held in a three-hour block.

        The LDS Church currently continues with this consolidated plan, however, recently it was shortened to a 2-hour block. After 40+ years, three hours was too much for folks I guess.

        A bit like leaving out lectionary readings to shorten services! 🙂

  2. Yes, I can see your point though, judging by the cars in our carpark, nearly everyone drives, mostly from where there is no Anglican Church. And nearly all are in the older age . Though it occurs to me that there is a bus route from Northwood to Redwood! The comment was a bit tongue in cheek…

    1. Thanks, Moya. Yes, you are highlighting (as I was), there does need to be a shift in thinking and approach. Your carpark underscores that. It would be an interesting exercise (since you talk about “where there is no Anglican Church”) to calculate the maximum distance one is ever from an Anglican Church in our city. I think the nearest one to Redwood is St Paul’s – about half an hour walking (or 10 minutes biking). Blessings.

      1. I recall when I was in Salt Lake City and other cities and towns where LDS are a majority, there are many LDS chapels. You could stand on the roof of a chapel and see from the number of visible steeples that it was surrounded by other chapels very nearby.

        LDS families in UT and some ID communities, walk to their church meetings. Chapels have parking lots, but the bare minimum that is required by local building codes, as they aren’t usually filled to capacity.

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