Back online, and live!

On air sign

16th November 2020

This pandemic has given churches a unique opportunity to engage with new audiences while also continuing provision for regular worshippers.

Providing services online through YouTube and then via Zoom has expanded the number and range of people joining us on Sundays. Funday Sunday and Who Let The Dads Out families can join in from home just like we can. Friends from other churches and family from far away can also tune in and worship with us.

Thanks to the hard work of people at Romsey, we’ve now upped our game and are providing a new version of hybrid church (that’s the buzz phrase!) which is partly live from the church and partly recorded material. It goes out on the church’s YouTube channel as it happens.

November 8 was Remembrance Sunday and I was able to lead the service and preach live with Eric Renouf leading the intercessions, also live. Our songs, the intergenerational element and Bible readings were all pre-recorded and fed into the service by Jason at the control desk.

The sanctuary partly resembles a TV studio and Jason looks to be seated at the controls of the Starship Enterprise with enough buttons and screens to keep him busy!

As the preacher, despite all the unusual bits of kit on show, it was a remarkably smooth morning.

The shaping of worship has grown during lockdown and a team of people now help shape our services. It does mean that preachers need to plan ahead and liaise with the church much more than we would have previously, but it means a more coordinated approach from week to week.

Having parts of the service delivered live means we can be much more up to date and even refer to events that morning. Previously we were recording everything a few days ahead.

It meant that on Remembrance Sunday we were able to refer to current world issues such as the American election and the Government’s U-turn over free school meals.

For the preacher there are changes. Only a small handful of people are present with you but there is an audience to respond to your message … and any bad jokes we happen to slip in!

It’s a more natural preaching environment than a pre-recording made in a corner of your house.

You don’t have to worry about any of the technical aspects. The team in church will guide you on where to stand and give you helpful signals so you know when to start speaking.

Much prayer covers the whole service and those involved and the messages of thanks afterwards show that the step up in provision is appreciated.