Why we’ve done Sundays the way we have…
The government’s Coronavirus shutdown of physical meetings has meant churches have had to figure out how to continue without physical meetings. We’ve opted for Zoom gatherings which are then livestreamed on Facebook. There are both theological and practical reasons for why we’ve gone down this route.
The theological reason is we believe church is primarily the gathering of God’s people, not the performance of a few specialists with an audience watching on. So even if it is sometimes a bit messy, with glitches on audio and things being repeated, we’ve been delighted to have an online gathering in Zoom for our mornings, and are moving to a live Zoom gathering on Sunday evening for our main talk. We also believe it is the gathering of God’s people to worship God that is what makes Jesus known, not just a special talk, so we’re glad to have an open window (livestream) for people who have never visited Emmanuel in person to peer through and see what we’re doing together.
On a practical level, we’re small enough that the technology works pretty well for us - Zoom allows up to 25 screens in its gallery view, which means you can see most of the church at once. If we had 100 families in the church, the Zoom experience might not feel as good. We’re also very blessed to have two couples with a pianist and singer combo which has enabled us to enjoy live singing together (sort of), so we haven’t had to rely on recorded music.
We’re continuing to adapt to the online environment while longing to meet together in the flesh.