Friday, July 31st, 2020 – Happy Friday Church!
When COVID 19 first shut out sanctuaries five months ago, our first instinct was to pick up church and simply move it. Basically, our choice was to move the individual pieces of church and just copy them into an electronic format. We wanted to keep Church looking and feeling like it always did. Today, after doing this for a few months now, I am finding myself believing that maybe its time for something different.
For some, this isn’t a surprise – you heard me speak of this last week – or have seen the video announcing things. The Analytics and statistics for these internet services have shown that are services are being watched at levels unheard of, and at levels we never thought or expected. These numbers show that we might be on to something with these delivery methods. At the very same time, those same statistics are showing that the average viewer is only staying connected for about 10-12 minutes. This shortened engagement suggests that we might be missing out on the perfect moment to connect with a much larger world.
At the same time, we may just be missing it with our regular church goers too. We are discovering that what those who have always called Asbury are truly missing the most is community and connection. For many, they have seen the gift of our community, but today feel an incredible church sized hole in their life. Somehow that needs fixing too.
So today we sit in this weird in-between space and ask what now. If the world checks out in 10 minutes our current services may not be working. If our community is feeling alone and isolated that’s not working either. Is there something we can do different.
Here’s my plan; Beginning Tomorrow August 1st, we are going to experiment with something new. Every single day, Asbury will release a roughly ten minute video. Each day we will step into some corner of our faith, our day to day juggles with it, and the stories unique to our brand of believing. We will hopefully talk about the hard and the light sides of our faith. It is our hope that these small chunks of video will be the perfect length to feed you daily, as well as capture the imaginations of fresh visitors.
We will be posting these messages at 7:00am each morning, and you will be able to access them via YouTube (at https://tinyurl.com/stbbxpm ) which we hope you will subscribe (free and easy). We will also link them to our Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/AsburyChurchNH/
Then on Sunday, we will switch gears for the second half of the equation; connection. Beginning this Sunday at 10:00am, instead of your traditional service video being posted, we will kickstart a zoom gathering for anyone in the extended community that would like it. Instead of the traditional format of a worship service I will welcome our gathering with a prayer, perhaps pulling from different prayer books or faith communities. Then I will offer a comment or two, and then step back. That moment, will be for both discussion, and visiting, and sharing, and connecting; agenda free. Nothing is off limits.
This gathering will be accessible EACH WEEK via this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89333706970 [Meeting ID: 893 3370 6970] For those of you with less than ideal internet, you can always call in using that Meeting ID to (929)205-6099. We have been meeting frequently via this medium, and other than early on in its use we have been very successful, and the gathers are both renewing and fun!
So, I am not sure if it all these changes will work, and accomplish what I hope…but I am certain that it will switch things up, and it may be precisely what we all need in this crazy time. This may be our opportunity to rethink how we go about the process of doing church. Think of it as a reboot of sorts, and I hope that you all give it a shot, spread the news, and keep the feedback coming. Together we will figure out church and community in the age of pandemics.
Blessings, Pastor Scott