I hope this post conveys as much enthusiasm and faith as I am feeling right now!
Yes, it is sad that we cannot meet together as a church body, but instead of down I am full with hope and belief and promise because of what is possible.
I miss being together as a faith community, and I pray that this “lockdown” preventing social contact comes to an end sooner than later. But Sunday morning I also realized what a tremendous opportunity we have to be innovative, to up our communication game, and to reach out to one another in creative ways. By the end of the day we had “reached” more than 1,000 viewers, and in our experience that is an unprecedented level of engagement.
But we didn’t take it for granted. So instead of climbing into a pulpit (as per usual but in front of a sanctuary empty of people), WFPC’s technology ministry team set up an interactive, conversational worship experience in Rebekah’s office. Rebekah emceed, Katherine connected beautifully with our young families, and John prepared a message designed to invite conversation, generating a round-table discussion with Rebekah and Katherine.
(Here’s the WFPC VIDEO LINK – a great example if you want some ideas for your church)
The live feed came across like a well choreographed tv news magazine – engaging, invitational, and remarkably accessible. John, Katherine, and Rebekah had really good on-screen chemistry, and our tech people – Jim and Anita – did an outstanding job with the staging.
Fact is, anything is possible if we are motivated – by love – to continue to be the faith community we have been called to be.
I absolutely believe we will emerge from this potential catastrophe stronger, better connected as a church family, and even more deeply committed to sharing this good news with the world.
I understand that this first Sunday was a novelty, but there’s no doubt in my mind that “virtual church” (web worship as Rebekah dubbed it) is going to be our new normal for several weeks to come.
This means it’s going to be important that we all connect in whatever ways we can… and in ways we maybe hadn’t hitherto imagined.
We need each other now more than ever. And, rather than receeding into the background because we can’t gather for a while, the church is going to be key to maintaining a sense of community and wholeness.
Life as we understand it will depend on this connection, so over these next few weeks we must take to heart these words from Hebrews: “Don’t stop meeting together with other believers (online, via text, email, Facetime, Zoom….), which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other…”
Therefore, let’s draw near with a genuine heart with the certainty that our faith gives us, since our hearts are sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies are washed with pure water. Let’s hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, because the one who made the promises is reliable. And let us consider each other carefully for the purpose of sparking love and good deeds. Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:22-25
In love, and because of love – DEREK
(The following photos document the process Sunday morning)
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.