At a time when society is experiencing a heightened degree of anxiety, many folks appear to be turning inward in search of the faith that they knew as a little child.
Our country has a treasure chest of faith traditions proving to be invaluable during these trying times in which we now find ourselves.
As human beings we need one another. This is a self-evident statement.
Nevertheless it's a soothing one when freely acknowledged to self — and others.
We've been forced to remain separate, but through the isolating experience we seem to have gained a greater appreciation for loved ones, colleagues — even would-be friends.
While getting in touch with our most basic needs, many of us have discovered that the need to be together in worship is greater than we had ever imagined.
Saving grace to the rescue. Although our houses of worship have had to close their physical doors, digital windows the internet globally have been flung wide open.
Those, who for whatever reasons, had stopped attending holy wooden, steel, and brick and mortar structures are now filling digital pews in greater and greater numbers, thanks to online streaming and on-demand viewing.
Ministry Brands.com is a leading provider of software for online religious streaming for churches, ministries, and faith-based organizations in the United States and Canada.
As indicated in a recent release by the company, its online service, Churchstreaming.tv, reported an unprecedented surge in internet worship, due to the lack of availability of physical worship facilities during this period of home "sheltering."
Amazingly, the streaming service has quadrupled its internet usage over the same period in 2019.
Life.Church (www.life.church) is an evangelical multi-site worship center serving congregants at 34 locations in 10 Midwest states. The church created technology back in 2006, Church Online Platform.com, which facilitates online services and makes it available to other churches free of charge.
Online church attendance through Life.Church’s platform has continued to increase significantly, breaking records with each passing consecutive weekend. The church indicated in a news release that more than 7 million people attended services during the March 21-22 weekend, which was almost double the participation of the previous weekend. Thousands of new churches have been signing up to use the Life.Church.com technology.
Easter is rapidly approaching, which for many people is the highest of holy days.
It remains the largest worship attendance day for Christians of all denominations.
Churches, ministries, and faith-based communities of all sizes are preparing for the challenge of holding Easter Sunday services while still practicing distancing.
Online worship is the answer to many a prayer.
One of the most influential Christian congregations in Hollywood, Churchhome.org, is perhaps best known for its services held at a theater in Beverly Hills, where the front rows are reserved for celebrities.
In conventional times, the church draws thousands of people to its five locations spread throughout California and Washington.
"I think we have an opportunity, actually, to engage at a deeper level,” Churchome lead pastor Judah Smith recently told Fox News. "We’re finding that actually being home, engaging face-to-face is going to lead us actually to an interesting place in faith and I think will change how we worship going forward."
Churchhome, Zoe Church, Mosaic, Radius, VOUS, and Hillsong, are among the new breed of trendy worship centers attracting the famous. These churches have somewhat of an advantage over the more traditional denominations, because they have always incorporated the internet in their ministries — via online platforms and apps.
In addition to churches providing digital alternatives, an increasing number of pastors have turned to a much older concept to gather together their congregants; that being the drive-in venue.
Churchgoers are driving into church parking lots, maintaining the appropriate distance from adjacent cars, and turning their radios on to listen to sermons. Some drive-in theaters that are now barred from showing movies are instead opening up their premises for local churches to utilize.
Although the future remains uncertain, new blessings will undoubtedly continue to emerge in this period of worship innovation.
In an article in Christianity Today, David Taylor, an assistant professor of theology at Fuller Seminary, writes, "I’ve discovered recently that my prejudices against media technology reflect an embarrassing ignorance about how such technologies might serve the deaf, the elderly, the homebound."
Taylor adds, "Consider, then, not how this season of experimentation will make people woefully dependent on disembodied technologies, but rather how it may bring to your attention the people in your community who will be blessed long-term by adjustments that you make."
Hope to see you at the online altar.
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood.Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.
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