Who is Watching You?

by | Apr 16, 2020 | News

One of my best friends is planting a new church in the San Fernando Valley. Like all church leaders during this pandemic, he is confronted with many challenges. At the beginning of the outbreak, he felt lost. He had just started a new worshiping community with only a handful of people and his ministry felt fragile like a sapling that had just broken ground.

Learning from friends who had an online presence for years, he planned a worship service for Facebook Live. When Sunday came he was surprised by the “attendance.” After five minutes, he had more than 40 viewers, and by the end of the 30-minute service, more than 90 people were following.

Who was watching?

It was interesting for him to discover who was watching. Most of the viewers came from his community, and he was encouraged when some of them asked for prayer. He also noticed that many participants were from the greater Southern California area.

Have you wondered who is watching your online services? How many members of your audience are your current members? How many are new? How many are from your neighborhood? How many are from other areas?

Those are important questions to ponder. This is a new “Reformation” of sorts. It is an opportune time to reach out to those who are trying to make sense of this new reality and are wondering if and how God fits into the picture. If they didn’t participate in a faith community before, they may be more open in this moment where the church is literally coming to them. They don’t have to overcome the social dynamics of fitting into a new group, which is a big emotional hurdle for many people. They can watch and listen without the pressure of dressing in the right clothes or saying the right things. They don’t have to worry about being judged or rejected. From home they can wonder more freely about their spiritual questions and they can digest what they are experiencing at their own pace.

That makes this moment a great learning opportunity for the church, and it poses the question, “How are we going to nurture these new friends? What do we need to do to get ready? What is our strategy?”

To this end, I have been gathering best practices from churches and new worshipping communities around the country and will share them with you as best I can. One of the congregations I believe is doing an excellent job preparing for “life after COVID” is the High Desert Church. I would strongly encourage you to spend some time on their website and see what you think. .

We are living in a special moment. The COVID pandemic is causing us to explore new ways to connect with each other and make disciples. How is your church preparing for this opportunity? If you have some success stories, please send them my way so I can share them with others.

During the Reformation, the printing press changed how people had access to God’s Word, but there were only a few around. Now, every church can reach more people than they ever thought possible. And here’s more good news: the people tuning in are more eager to watch and listen than ever.

With you during these unprecedented but exciting times for the Church,

Martin Garcia
Director of Cyclical Los Ranchos