The unhealthy, difficult world of online church

2020 has caused EVERYONE to change the way they do things. Schools have sent students home to learn. Business have introduced strict social distancing guidelines (if they’re lucky enough to remain open), and churches are praying for help to keep their flocks together and to keep their flocks GIVING . . . giving money that is.

The religious “industry” has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic because parishioners have had to stay home, and when they’re home, they are less likely to add a few bucks to the collection plate, either because there is no collection plate OR there is nothing to collect–because unemployment and underemployment is on the rise.

Some congregations have adapted easily to the change because of already implement digital technologies such as donations online and video sermons. However, even with such technologies, the most active congregants, the elderly, which also are usually the most charitable givers, are struggling to stay connected to their church communities. They would much rather meet in person and drop a check in the plate rather than get frustrated with the foreign (and to many, a daunting) experience of donating online.

And even with the “success” of putting the entire church experience online, from sermons to donations to confessions, the world is experiencing the effects of “virtual world” fatigue. When work, school, family reunions, lessons, AND CHURCH are all conducted via video conference, . . . well, we all get a little zoned out by getting “Zoomed” out. Our eyes get tired of staring at a backlit monitor. Our backs and rear-ends get weary from sitting uncomfortably for long periods of time. Our wrists get tired of being constantly at a keyboard. Our faces get tired of smiling at a screen pretending to be interested in what the virtual group is experiencing.

Humans weren’t designed to be sedentary blobs. Let’s hope things get back to normal . . . at least a good “new normal” so we don’t end up like the unhealthy, futuristic characters depicted in WALL-e.

Let’s pray for a better 2021.