We are all negotiating unknown waters, but I wanted to add a little comment to the overall conversation on creating online worship experiences.
I've seen a number of things from some churches in the chat rooms and other online resources that advise doing your online service in a completely different way than you have been doing a service. They advise doing it in a social media format. This can, of course, mean different things for different groups, but one predominate idea is to replace the pulpit with a couch and I assume have a chat rather than a sermon.
That is one option and if after seeking the Lord's will you decide this is the right thing for your church—go for it!
But there is also a case for consistency during these trying times
What follows is totally my personal opinion and please take its limited value as such.
I just finished attending the second online service for our church. As I shared earlier, the first one was a bit challenged, but even then it was wonderful to get together with people online. The chat window was incredibly comforting and fun.
This week was very different. They pre-recorded it and it was very similar to our regular service. It had the whole music team, the same number of songs with the words scrolling on the screen. My husband and I sang alone. It had the announcements and community prayer time, led by an elder. It even had a Children's sermon section, which I thought was great for the families watching. It had the final song and benediction.
As I was observing my reaction to the service (I can't help it, the church communication teacher in me just won't shut off), I found that the traditional pattern was very comforting. different delivery method, but the same worship service.
Why I'm bringing this up—several reasons
First of all, for those of you struggling to simply get something up and online, don't feel like you have to do everything differently.
Traditional services are not lacking in value.
Social media, while it has its uses, is not for every situation or venue or congregation. Social media is not the answer to every challenge of the church.
I know many of you are struggling greatly with what to do in this situation. You don't have to do totally new things to worship God with your people. Do what you can in the ways you've been doing it and be at peace.
Again, if totally changing your service procedure is your leading from the Lord, go for it—but whoever you are and where ever you are, don't do something because it seems like some other churches are doing that. Listen to Jesus. He knows you; He knows your sheep. Follow his lead on how to reach out during this challenging time.