Posted by: smstrouse | July 15, 2017

Zoom Church: Take One

Screen Shot 2017-07-09 at 6.16.07 PM (2)We had our first “Zoom Church” last Sunday – that is church using the video conferencing platform Zoom. Fifteen people logged on, four of them from other parts of the country. 

Our worship planning team did a lot of work – and practice runs – ahead of time to ensure that things would run as smoothly as possible. Yes, there are still bugs to work out. It’s amazing how much more there is to learn when you’re using video conferencing for more than just committee meetings. Like:

  • how to help participants log in and learn “Zoom etiquette”
  • planning liturgy and putting up a worship bulletin without detracting from the gallery of faces
  • adding music and videos
  • managing background noise and lighting
  • balancing congregational participation with “muting all” to keep down noise and confusion
  • sharing the peace virtually 
  • to use to not to use the “chat” feature 

We haven’t read all of the survey results yet, but from informal discussions it appears that our first attempt was a success. We loved being able to include friends who have either moved away from the area or were away on vacation. We were even able to have a musical offering from one of our community members who’s just moved up to Tacoma. Of course we loved not having to drive in Bay Area traffic (although we did miss having refreshment time!)

This Sunday, we’ll be back at Turk & Lyon for worship in person. So I’m sure we’ll get more feedback then, too. The next Zoom Church on July 23rd will be the second of our three trial formats. Pastor Anders Peterson and Middle Circle will take on leadership of a discussion around what it means to be a progressive Christian.  

Will this be the wave of the future? I don’t know. I’m so grateful to be in a congregation that’s willing to try new things, be patient with the results, fail early, try again – and be part of the evolution of the church in the 21st century. 

 

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