What to do when you’re tired of online church

It’s Sunday morning, I’m washing the dishes and my mind is racing. There are literally thousands of church services to stream. I can sample a sermon from here, and listen in on worship from there all at the touch of a button. I should be thriving in an atmosphere flushed with Biblical teaching but my experience has been quite the opposite. I know that life-changing content is out there but the problem is, I don’t really want to see any of it. In fact, I think I may burst if I have to look at another live stream or hold yet another prayer meeting over zoom. I am just over it!

There are some benefits to the Church’s boost in online presence. Our streaming numbers have been way up and people who would not normally step foot in the church are being exposed to the Gospel and that is great! Yet I feel as if my soul is not prospering. Something integral to the experience is missing. So there I was in my kitchen surrounded by options yet spiritually dry, too dry to find a solution so I tapped my husband and asked him, “What do you do when you’re tired of online church?” These are his thoughts.

Engage in personal Bible study.
In a world of sound bites and scripture-gram posts we have forgotten what it’s like to simply open the scriptures and let them speak. There have been a few moments of clarity during this quarantine where I have relished the intimacy of our Lord. For me these times did not come about by watching online content, rather in the quiet of my bedroom, Bible in one hand, and a notebook in the other I have found strength. Pursuing online content for the right sermon, the perfect worship song, and a digestible 3 point devotional can lead to short-lived spiritual growth where we have not wrestled with the word of God. This type of grab and go experience can oftentimes highlight our personal preferences over the truth of God that is meant to both console and confront us.

Safe, physical interactions can benefit the soul.
Our attempts to reconstruct togetherness during a global pandemic have been valiant yet often ineffective. Keeping in mind safe social distancing practices and limits on gathering, a physical small group where you can read the word and pray together can be a true blessing. I am extroverted. I love being with people and distance has been gnawing at me. However, the other day my mood was brightened by a simple gesture. My parents surprised us with a drive-by visit fully decked out with masks and gloves. We spent a short time in our front yard and talking from six feet, brought so much joy. Some churches host parking lot services and even drive through prayer and communion. While one solution may not work for every church, lets get creative and find new ways to be safe and thrive.

Digest online content with real live people.
Once I got myself together on Sunday and finally listened to the recorded sermon I was so blessed by it I wanted to talk about it right away! Some do this by hosting “watch parties” so that groups of friends can watch and comment together. Or you can skip the tech and simply phone a friend. This helps to make the lesson last and gives us accountability for application.

Lastly, it is important to remain submissive and obedient to God’s will.
And yes, sometimes his will is for us is to hop on yet another Zoom Call! Being part of a ministry we have a lot of meetings. And now those meetings are over zoom, as I mentioned above- I’m over it! I just want to say “oops life got busy and I forgot we had a meeting.” But if there is work to be done, and for me there is, I must put my personal feelings aside and continue in this new medium, because God told me so and I must be obedient.

If you have grown weary of virtual life as I have, I want to encourage you to switch it up a bit. Push through the mundane and brace yourself for the extraordinary. God has something great in store for his people so we should do as Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “consider carefully how [we] live—not as unwise but as wise taking advantage of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”

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Christen Jacobs is a wife and mother of 3. She earned her Masters in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary in 2014. She has served as the youth coordinator and small groups coordinator at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas Texas. She has a passion for exegetical teaching and has had the pleasure of speaking at various conferences and teaching Bible classes. Christen and her husband are inner-city missionaries who work to equip every member to sow seeds for the kingdom through helping individuals and churches respond to the great commission. Christen’s ministry passion is empowering women to be curious readers of the word of God. She also has a strong emphasis in engaging generational and cultural differences, as she has a background in missions traveling extensively in Asia, and Latin America. She enjoys writing her blog, cooking, dancing and cuddling up with her family and Netflix.

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