A growing number of churches are using new technology to share their services online this Christmas. With storms threatening to disrupt travel arrangements across the country there’s been growing interest in steps congregations are taking to provide for members who may find it difficult to attend.
However, streaming services live on the internet is becoming a regular occurrence throughout the year and offers real benefits for people who find themselves unable to get about or away from the area for work or travel.
Rev Derek Hughes, from Motherwell Dalziel St Andrew’s, says he’s delighted at the impact he’s seen since they began sharing their service online.
“We have been live-streaming our services via our website for more than four years. In that time, we have had more than 72,000 views at our dedicated Church YouTube channel, and reached over 100 distinct nations around the world. In May, 2016, we extended our provision to a second live stream, which is aimed at people who are deaf and hard of hearing. This involves an interpreter for British Sign Language and an Electronic Notetaker every Sunday. This has been very well received.
When we started this venture, some folk were concerned that it would give people an excuse to be lazy and not come out to worship on Sunday mornings, but stay at home and tune in. In fact, our live streaming has actually helped increase our attending congregation, and has also aided us in lowering the age range in attendance. Often, we hear comments from young families, who say that they have viewed our services online before coming along in person.
It also serves to assist those who are elderly and infirm (many of whom watch on their tablet or laptop), and couples with young families, one of whom may be ill and unable to come out on a particular Sunday. We have had prayer requests from individuals who are in Hospital, and watch from the ward, and there is a nursing home locally, where the residents gather to join in worship at their lounge every Sunday.”