Churches that have resumed on-site gatherings should provide their congregation with appropriate technical training on how to use network technology. Online churches should also teach more believers how to use various online media tools to ensure they experience a good quality of online services.
As the pandemic slows down, some small to medium-sized churches have resumed physical gatherings. Yet, large churches are still meeting online because the pandemic has not been completely driven away. As a result, because of their limitations, churches have formed two different ways of gathering.
The rebound of the pandemic and the predictions of some experts tell us that the pandemic will not disappear in a short time, and no expert can give an accurate statement on how long this condition will last.
From this point of view, churches that are still gathering online won't resume for some time although they are not to remain online forever.
As to those that have resumed in-person gatherings, they are likely to stop gathering again if there is an unexpected outbreak.
At present, believers of churches that have resumed services are happy with the re-opening, whereas those who have not resumed meeting together are desperately looking forward to the time when they can again meet in person.
We can't say which choice is better, whether to gather in person or online. A gathering of people of faith will not be hindered under any circumstances, because God cares and protects his people. Online worship services are a way in which we can continue to worship God.
There are several thousand years of history connected to gathering together for worship. However, believers have also become accustomed to meeting virtually. They can communicate with each other and it is also a convenient way to receive donations.
Pastors and believers in churches that are still meeting virtually are eager to again gather in person as soon as possible. Believers who meet online can easily be attracted by the vitality of meeting in person.
This makes it increasingly difficult to guarantee the quality and quantity of online gatherings. This situation undoubtedly sends a special signal to all churches, no matter how and where they meet
This is a very clear warning signal.
Although physical gatherings have resumed, the major difficulties that once appeared in online gatherings will be easily submerged in joy and passion.
In fact, the difficulties of online gathering are also encountered by the churches that have resumed physical gathering not long ago. On the occasion of resuming the physical gathering, the believers of the whole church should be trained appropriately to use network technology.
For instance, believers should learn how to use various media tools, such as WeChat groups, WeChat moments, online live broadcast rooms, video conference software and the technical operation and the use of a church’s WeChat official account. Pastors should also have a process of changing their roles and gradually adapt to preaching and testifying in various platforms.
Churches gathering online should also take advantage of the slowing down of the pandemic situation to let more believers learn well the use of various media tools and strengthen the cohesion of online gathering.
These things should not be taken lightly. One is that the party may stop again because the pandemic is not over. The other is to plan ahead and pave the way for solving similar special circumstances in the future.
To rise to the height of our faith, we should change the existing mode of ministering and gathering to cope with the ever-changing and rapidly developing times and society.
Even if one day the pandemic is over, the online way of gathering is the best secondary way of caring for believers.
- Translated by Charlie Li