As Covid-19 cases begin to steadily decline, many people are excited to finally get out of their homes and start living their post-quarantine lives. Going to large gatherings has been impossible for most people in the past year, so something as simple as going to an in-person church service on Sunday has become an important experience.
However, despite the recent increase of people who are now comfortable in large groups, many churches are continuing to live-stream their services.
If the pandemic is coming to an end, what is the point of having online religious gatherings?
For some, the choice to continue to have hybrid gatherings may be confusing. If the virus is no longer an issue, why would there need to be an online option?
The defining factor of a hybrid gathering is the presence of two near-identical meetings that exist on two separate forums.
A hybrid church gives its congregation options. While some people will choose to attend the in-person service, others will watch from home.
Here’s just a few reasons why many churches will continue to have hybrid services -- and why yours should too.
1) Accessibility for All
Having a hybrid format in your church means you are catering to everyone’s needs. There may be people within the congregation who can’t make it to gatherings every Sunday morning.
For example, take someone who is extremely ill or unable to drive themselves to church. There also may be exhausted parents who can’t get their kids ready in time for the morning service. Or there could be members of the congregation who are out of town but still want to hear their weekly sermon.
It’s important for those individuals to have the option to turn on their computer or mobile device and watch the meeting alongside everyone else.
2) Increasing Attendance
According to a study done by Lifeway Research, 31% of churches are reporting that their attendance numbers have been halved since January 2020. During the height of the pandemic, church-goes were nonexistent unless they were watching via live-stream. The overall number of attendees has stayed below average, likely because people were forced to stop going for such a long time due to COVID.
Holding a hybrid church service will increase attendance numbers because it’s easy, informal, and stress-free. Some people may be nervous to return to an in-person service because it’s now out of their ordinary schedule. Others may be worried that returning after such a long time will feel awkward or uncomfortable. Online meetings give those people an option to return without any pressure.
While some people may feel comfortable going to a large church meeting, there are still going to be those who are not. Although the spread of the virus is decreasing, there are still many people who are at high risk of developing serious complications if they were to contract COVID.
These people and the people close to them are not going to risk getting infected just to attend a church service. Having a hybrid church meeting gives high risk individuals the opportunity to attend without the chance of getting seriously ill.
Related - Learn more about church live streaming.
4) New Mediums
One of the more exciting aspects of a hybrid church is the opportunity to try new types of media in a religious space. Over the pandemic, online bible studies or religious book clubs have become a prominent feature of church life in quarantine. Live streaming events online has become the norm, and churches are no exception. People desire and expect to have online options for any in-person event.
In a hybrid meeting, church leaders can link their congregation to relevant podcasts or YouTube videos that further explain their sermons. Not only does this expand upon their words, but it also incorporates a new and intriguing method of teaching that might attract new potential members.
5) Change of Culture
Arguably one of the biggest reasons why churches are making the switch to hybrid meetings is because the world is changing. The pandemic has proven that people don’t need to be in the same place at the same time to enjoy an event together. It is possible to watch movies with family, listen to music with friends, or even hear a sermon with your fellow church members without ever leaving your house.
As the pandemic has made people realize this, it’s nearly impossible to go back to how things were beforehand. People are now used to the ease and convenience of doing things online when they don’t necessarily need to be in-person.
Young people in particular have become accustomed to a digital world. Virtual classrooms and online club meetings have become a prominent part of life for young people in 2021. Having a more modernized approach may help convince the younger generation to start attending religious gatherings again.
Having the option of an online church service is inclusive, diversifying, and contemporary.
At Jumbo, we recognize church live-streaming for what it is-- the inevitable future.
This new digital age of our culture is exciting, fun, and even a little bit intimidating. Change is always going to require a learning curve and this is no different. Jumbo strives to make this shift into the sphere of live-streaming as simple and easy as possible.