Some of us in leadership (but not all of us) are concerned about the effect of “internet church.” Some of us, myself included, believe that it is actually not good for people to watch something on a screen and believe that they have “gone to church online.”
I’ve heard of a large church (back before COVID) who lost their way (and even eventually disbanded) as their focus, over time, began to be less and less on ministering to the actual people who were physically gathering for worship (which is what the Greek word for church, ekklesia, means) and, instead were focused more and more on putting on a good show for the people watching on the internet. In that case, the church had more internet attenders than in-person attenders, and it became easy for them to focus their energies on the larger group.
This “go to church online” idea was already picking up quite a bit of steam prior to COVID-19. We were already getting to the point where many Christians were no longer “ministering to one another” but rather sat in their PJ’s at home and just consumed a one-way communication piped to their laptop. I am worried that is actually going to be the future of Christianity. I think we were already headed that way, and that COVID is simply helping us get there about 10 years sooner than we would have.
So, that’s my concern. We had always planned on our live-streaming as being something temporary, because of an extreme emergency, and that we’d go back to regular church eventually. We live-streamed services for about five months. Some people in leadership wanted to end it one month sooner than we did. Others wanted to extend it one month longer than we did. (The sermon audio is still being posted on Mondays.)
If the number of months we chose is different than the number of months that you think it ought to have been, I am sorry about that. I have not tried to personally offend anyone. I’m honestly just trying to do the best job I can pastoring this church, and it is actually pretty overwhelming right now.