Why Churches Should Abandon Online Services — ELCA Grand Canyon Synod

7 Thoughtful Responses From Readers About The End Of The Online Church

There was a huge response to last week’s newsletter, where I argued that churches should phase out their live streaming services. I received thousands of emails and other responses online, many of which were beautiful and thoughtful. You gave me food for thought!

Readers have raised important concerns and questions, so I’ve decided to use this week’s newsletter to highlight excerpts from some of the thoughtful and helpful responses I received.

Some readers responded enthusiastically to the article and found it a motivation to return to in-person services.

A Connecticut reader said, “I think the worst thing about online services is that on a busy weekend, I may have an excuse to stay home. …Watching a service online while cooking dinners for the week or doing laundry offers none of the benefits of being physically present at church. I pray that your newsletter inspires me to return to church!

A Delaware doctor wrote: “I enjoyed your article and agree that the emphasis on video connection does not match the touch, smell and direct three-dimensional vision of worshipers” .

A friend in Pennsylvania whose daughter is immunocompromised explained why she still thinks in-person church is essential:

“I am a mother of three children, one of whom is immunocompromised to protect his transplanted heart, and two healthy boys. We are a vaccinated family. I couldn’t agree more with the need (and desire) to worship in person right now.

A friend from rural Virginia commented, “We can’t find a safe place of worship in our community because people don’t mask up and most of them aren’t vaccinated. We tried once in the past two years to attend church in person and were so discouraged we just didn’t go back.

The biggest objections I received were from people with disabilities or weakened immune systems. They often expressed feelings of being overlooked even before the pandemic began and felt that the online church allowed for greater involvement in their church.

Here is an insightful response from one such reader: “I live with incurable lymphoma, primary immune deficiency, life-threatening asthma and tracheobronchomalacia, and have to take immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of my life. Before the pandemic, I often refrained from attending services during the winter due to the high risk of flu, but I almost never missed anything during the rest of the year. I was deeply involved in our congregational life.

Read the full answers here.

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