How to Engage with Sunday Worship Online
Because of COVID-19 and its spread, our normal rhythms of work, play, and life have been significantly disrupted and will continue to be for who knows how long. We’ve always used language about our Sunday gatherings as the church gathered, and then in turn the church scattered. Since now there is no longer a “church gathered” piece, what does this mean for us?
A couple things we know:
- We’re still called to worship Jesus as a scattered church! There’s no pause button when it comes to worship. God is worthy of worship in a larger church building and He’s worthy of worship in our homes.
- While this time feels more like an interruption, we also know that our Sovereign God is at work as well. We’re asking God to give us new eyes to see the kingdom opportunities and possibilities of this time, and to be expectant for what He might want to do!
As we were forced to cancel our Sunday gatherings, we asked the question, “What could Sundays look like for a scattered church?” How do we empower our church to learn to engage with God in their homes perhaps in ways they never had before? How do we place resources in our peoples hands to take more ownership on Sundays? That’s our prayer for this next season!
So here’s the plan: On Sundays at 7am we will send out a churchwide email with a link to our Sunday service that will also be available on our website. This will be a resource for individuals, households, families, and small groups. From a big picture perspective, we want this Sunday Service resource help you do two things:
- We want to help you rehearse the Story of the gospel. We are hearing narratives all around us all week long. Fear inducing, anxiety generating narratives. We need this time to hit reset on all the stories we’ve been believing and come back to the Story of God. We need to be restored and re-storied. God is still on His throne, we’re still His kids, and He’s on a mission and we’re a part of that mission with Him. This is good news. Our Sunday Service will aid you in this process of re-storying your heart.
- We want to help you experience the God of the story. It’s easy to forget in times like these that God is alive. He is always with us. He’s with us in some mysteriously special ways as we gather with others and He pours out His Spirit and gifts on each of us. We want to not only talk about God, but also experience His powerful presence with us. We want you to have these experiences with God in your homes. This Sunday Service aims at helping you engage with God personally.
What are the elements that will be a part of this? It will look very similar to our Sunday gathering!
- Songs as well as responsive readings and prayers.
- Greeting or “Passing The Peace.” We are going to be practicing this a little bit differently during this season where will say to each other, “The peace of Christ be with you” and the other person will respond, “… and also with you.” We desperately want to be marked by the peace of Jesus in this time of unrest!
- A shorter sermon.
- Prayer. We think prayer is one of the ways God is inviting us to press into Him in this season both alone and with others. We will guide you through different ways of praying each week.
- Communion. We’re encouraging you to continue to take communion in this time!
- A song and benediction. We’ll close every service with singing an a cappella version of “Doxology” and a benection.
- Pick a devoted time during the day to go through the liturgy. Some will want to do this at the normal time they gather on a Sunday to preserve that sense of normalcy in rhythms.
- Pick a particular place in your house that is conducive for gathering. Some opt to connect up to their TVs so everyone can see it. Others choose to gather around a phone or computer. Try to be consistent.
- Before you start, cast vision for the time & divide out responsibilities. Look over the sections and determine who’s leading what. Pick a leader to read the liturgies labeled as “leader.” Also pick someone to read the passage of Scripture for the day.
- Don’t feel a need to rush through everything! If God’s doing something, linger there.
- Recognize the uniqueness of your group! Empower those with gifts in your group! We will be providing videos to help lead you in worship, but if you have someone who feels comfortable playing guitar or leading songs for the group, consider having them lead your time of worship. We’ll include chord sheets as a resource for the songs we’ve chosen for that day.
- Remember everyone’s participation matters! Don’t just listen to the sermon and call it good, but seek to engage in the different elements we’ve provided. Every element is formative and shaping us in particular and powerful ways, not just the preached Word of God. If it’s time to sing, sing with passion. If it’s time to read, read with confidence.
- Last but not least, give tons of grace to yourself. Dependent on if you’re engaging solo or with others will affect how this plays itself out. Kids will adjust how things go and that’s ok. Experiment one way this week and if something doesn’t work, adjust it. God is with you. God is in you. He loves you and will guide you in these times.
We love you all and can’t wait to gather again as a whole church body, but until then, lead with faith and confidence. We trust that God will be using this time of scattering to gather us to Himself and deepen our roots in Him.