How divine services will continue to reach believers
In the end, it was only one link that changed: after almost three years, our Friday list of online services is no longer necessary, thankfully. Here is a look back on an eventful period.
Things began gradually: “Avoid panic but promote adequate hygiene.” This was the policy at the beginning of March 2020, when the first Covid cases made the headlines and kept the world on edge. Starting mid-March, everything happened very quickly: first, the churches in Italy closed down, then in Germany and Canada, and day by day almost new closures were reported in South-East Asia, South America, Niger, the Western Pacific region, the United States, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“If the believers cannot go to church, the church will come to the believers.” This was the position of the Regional Churches that drove them to come up with regular online broadcasts of divine services. North America and South Africa had an ahead start: North America had a streaming portal and South Africa its own TV channel. Elsewhere, YouTube became the Sunday meeting place for churchgoers. The links were published every week on nac.today, and this collection of links was often one of the most viewed pages.
Organised instead of improvised
A lot has happened since: not only have in-person services long been possible again, almost everywhere without social distancing or face masks. But above all, the improvised offers have become permanent fixtures: in Europe, for example, a separate streaming service called IPTV has been set up. People who wish to join a divine service but cannot come to church have their fixed point of contact. Once registered, members can log in from home.
Outside of the congregational setting, there will continue to be freely accessible online services. This was decided by the International District Apostles’ Meeting. To this end, for example, the Regional Churches in Germany are joining forces and will be offering central video services every Sunday on an alternate basis on a joint YouTube channel.This was a decision taken by the European District Apostle Meeting.
Permanent links instead of weekly updates
Gone are the days of constantly changing video links that may have been shared via email at the congregational level and updated at the Regional Church level on nac.today. And because the Friday update is no longer necessary, it will be discontinued. The permanent links, however, remain and move to a permanent directory under the heading “Services”.
What seemed unthinkable before the pandemic has now become common practice: if the believers cannot go to church, the church will come to the believers—online.
Photo: Jennifer Mischko