Livestream letdown

Psalm 27:1-6

I’m on board with livestreaming Sunday worship until I’m not.

It was only a few years ago we had to convince churches to give it a shot. That it might be useful in nurturing the connection of a church.

A lot of churches today would probably do well getting rid of their Sunday livestream. Not every church, mind you. Some do well at using the tool to connect with people. Some are following a fad when they go live and hope for the best. That doesn’t align with one of the most important things in ministry. And that is being intentional.

So, here’s why I’m bring this up with you today. Knowing that taking care of our congregation is more than livestreaming, I’m worried about two people.

The first is the long-time member who can’t get to Sunday worship anymore. How can we connect with them without livestreaming? That’s the question churches seem to be asking all of a sudden. Well, what about in all the ways we did for 2,020 years? Most churches put up a livestream and assume that member watches and engages. Let’s assume they do. Then what? I fear we may be letting that member down in nurturing real connection to the church. As if to say, we’re livestreaming. What more could we possibly do?

I also worry about the young child. She sits with her family, perhaps, to watch church on TV. I’m glad to have that opportunity. What happens, though, when the family doesn’t sit with the rest of the congregation after a while? Does church become something else you watch on a device? Are we emphasizing to that young child worship is not something in which you participate? That’s it’s another thing to consume? What kind of connection will that young soul have with the church if that’s all we’ve taught her?

If livestreaming is an intentional tool for your church, great! Keep connecting. If it’s merely a hope and a prayer, we might be letting our people down. Let’s be intentional about nurturing true connections as the body of Christ.

Stay blessed…john

Jesus Revealed

BIBLICAL REFFLECTION

John 1:29-42

Summarize the passage by asking Who? What? When? Where? Why?


PERSONAL REFLECTION

  • What does it mean to “have communion” with God?
  • How hard/easy is it for you to sit with God?
  • In the last month or so, what have you learned about your walk with God?

RECALLING THE MESSAGE

  • How does this message help Kelsey be a loving church?
  • What caught your attention the most?
  • How did the Holy Spirit challenge you?

WEEKLY PRAYER FOCUS

Pray for people who feel overwhelmed. Ask God to help them find a way to rest, to truly take a break. Pray that we learn what it means to know God is our rest.


SCRIPTURE TO HEART

Take time this week to memorize this one verse:

“And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Chosen One.” -John 1:34

Turning back

Galatians 4:8-20

Repentance is an important aspect of our Christian faith. It’s the changing of our mind that leads us to Jesus. Once we hear the good news, we decide that is what we want for our lives. The grace of God shows us what the love of God wants to make us. So, we change course. Turn around.

You’ll hear preachers talk about that a lot (I hope). We want people to turn to the way of Jesus. It’s a blessing to hear when people do.

But what if they repent again? That is, what if they turn around again to go back? By definition, I suppose that’s repentance. You’re not going a new way, of course. You’re turning back.

Throughout Christian history, people have turned back. They’ve turned back from true worship, fellowship and discipleship. Many turned from the faith altogether.

And people still do so today.

It’s easy to find another online article about church decline. Everyone has opinions and explanations. New studies and books emerge to unravel who and what, for example, the Nones are.

So, what is our response when people turn back?

The apostle Paul faced a similar situation with the Galatians. As fiery as he might get in the Galatian epistle, he responds pastorally, too. Today’s passage reflects the relationship he had with the Galatians. He’s honest with them. He calls to mind some of their shared experiences. He pleads with them. And he wishes he could be with them again.

What does that teach us? At the very least, when we consider those who have turned back from faith or the church, we should respond in love. These aren’t people who used to go to our church. They are people God brought into our lives. People we have worshipped with and prayed with. Experienced loss and joy with.

You’ll never get them back with guilt or coercion. Shame isn’t a faithful tactic. And don’t try to scare them with hell either. All that’s left to share with someone who’s turned back is what we have to share with the rest of the world. Our love.

Stay blessed…john