Our family normally attends Red Rocks Church here in the great state of Colorado. But, for the last few months, "attending" has been "logging in" and watching the church services online.
While there are some churches in our state that have started to meet in person again (with limited numbers), our church has chosen to continue to meet online for awhile longer. After all, online viewership is through the roof!
Of course, there's nothing like meeting together as a church family. From fellowship in the lobby to worship in the sanctuary to going out for lunch afterwards to gathering together during the week for small group, there's something about the in-room experience that can never be truly and fully duplicated online.
But, instead of whining about what we miss attending in-person church services, the Stier family has chosen to play the advantages of experiencing church online.
Here are three Big Benefits of attending church online:
Big Benefit #1: We get to roll out of bed, log on and experience church with little effort.
Sure, there have been a few Sundays we have missed online services since COVID-19 struck. Once in awhile, one of us has to watch the service at a different time. But, more often than not, we have watched Sunday morning services together as a family since this whole pandemic started. One of the reasons is that it's so darn easy just to tune in and watch.
How often do you get to watch church in your pajamas? How often can you go and refill your coffee right in the middle of the church service without someone glaring at you? How often can you lay down on the couch during the second point of the sermon?
Online church is easy.
Big Benefit #2: We often have amazing conversations during the sermon.
I love it when my two teenaged kids ask questions like, "What does he mean by that?" or "Where does the Bible say that?" or "Is that really true?" or anything that forces us as parents to open the Scriptures and dive in. One of the great things about online services is that you can put them on pause and get into a conversation about what is actually being taught right at that very moment.
Of course you can have those conversations after regular in-person church services in the car ride home too. But by the time you leave the sanctuary, say your goodbye's in the foyer and walk across the parking lot to get to your car and rush off to lunch, the questions/comments you may have had during the sermon most likely have been forgotten.
Our Sunday AM online experience has led to some really good theological conversations as a family and, on a really good Sunday, a few debates . Our living room has become a kind of a seminary class where there is more than just one-way teaching going on.
And that is a good thing.
Big Blessing #3: We leave with an action plan for the week.
Discovery Bible Study has a list of questions that they encourage every person in their Bible studies to ask and answer. It's all designed to lead to, what they have nicknamed, "Obedience based Bible Studies." After all God calls us to "be doers of the Word and not hearers only" according to James 1:22.
In that spirit, we all answer three questions every Sunday after the sermon is preached. Here they are:
1) What did you learn (or what were you reminded of) from today's sermon?
2) How are you going to apply what you learned this week?
3) Who are you going to tell (either what you learned or about Jesus)?
Because the sermon is so top-of-mind for all of us these are easy questions to ask and answer on the spot. After we have gone around the circle and answered these questions we finish with a family prayer for strength to live out what we have learned and that God would give each of us the opportunity to share the gospel with someone that week.
While we can't wait to get back to normal church services (especially the post pandemic ones where hand sanitizer and masks are no longer needed or encouraged) we are making the most of our online time as a family.
Apply these three to your online viewing experience and you can enjoy these big blessings as well!