Wednesday, April 8

Coronavirus Family Activity: Find Church Online

LCMS church online
We already have a local church, so we're not looking to replace our home church. In fact, we already started online giving years ago, so our church isn't losing anything in our searching around a bit. If your church is having technical difficulties putting together an online presence right now, you've probably searched for something else. Don't feel guilty about it. This is a weird time, and it makes sense that you're searching for answers.


One church we found almost seemed to meet the need. Good music, professional online presence, dynamic pastor, etc. However, the message wasn't quite right for us, as the church didn't even mention Palm Sunday and the pastor (in two different weeks) talked about his drinking days in college. I need a little bit of tradition in my church, and this new tradition of pastors all being sinful beings until they found Christ is annoying to me, like political leaders who talk about morals who have multiple divorces and affairs under their belts (pun, yes). Sure, I understand that God forgives, but you don't have to be completely immoral in order to receive absolution. Or to become a pastor.

Anyhow, we decided Pastor Bluejeans was a little more than we could handle, so it was time to move on. It was a little like deciding to go to a different barber or salon, and my kids were worried about it. But it's actually easier to shop around for church right now. You don't have to worry about personal interactions and the feeling of letting someone down.

That's why your church's online presence is SO IMPORTANT right now. You really ought to have perfect audio and an edited video (with multiple angles) for your Sunday service. Lighting is the most important for the video, but cuts to other angles with a little movement add a lot to the experience, especially when it comes to the band. Two camera operators, a sound person, pastors, band, and editor (who needs at least a day) to put the video together. YouTube rather than Facebook Live. Simple stuff, here.

Since Pastor Bluejeans didn't have the traditional church stuff we were used to, I did specifically search for Lutheran (LCMS) churches, starting with ones for whom I've built websites. At the bottom of the list, I added some of the larger LCMS churches with decent online programs. Some of the churches I researched even use Pastor Bluejeans's online format for services. Which leads me to another (VERY IMPORTANT) piece of advice: if you are going to use churchonline, make sure you have a way to archive the videos so people can check out what church is like. I went to several church websites that had countdowns to the next service but no archives. Since I had no way of knowing what those services would be like, I ended up skipping them. Not having a past service to see is probably the absolute worst thing you can do to church seekers, unless your archives are all Facebook Live disasters.

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