Two years into the pandemic, church leaders reflect on the blessings — and drawbacks — of livestreaming.
By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle
Have some Christians gotten a little too comfortable worshiping at home in their pajamas?
Trey Morgan asks that half-serious question about livestreamed services.
“You honestly have to wonder,” said Morgan, senior minister for the Childress Church of Christ, a thriving Texas congregation halfway between Amarillo and Wichita Falls.
When COVID-19 prompted the cancellation of in-person assemblies in March 2020, countless Churches of Christ turned to internet platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Zoom to connect and encourage members.
Some congregations made the “rip and sip” communion cup — a small wafer contained atop a tiny cup of grape juice — available for members to pick up during the week. Other Christians bought juice and prepared their own unleavened bread.
Two years later, most congregations have reopened their buildings, but overall attendance remains down from previous levels — often by as much as one-third to one-half, a Christian Chronicle survey found.
While some leaders worry about Christians forsaking physical gatherings, a majority of those surveyed said they see benefits to maintaining virtual options — especially for the immunocompromised, shut-ins and traveling members.
“My husband and I are elderly and sickly, so we really appreciate being able to participate in worship with our congregation via YouTube,” said Bettye Garrett, a member of the Rolling Hills Church of Christ in Mt. Sterling, Ky.
This story appears in the March edition of The Christian Chronicle.