October 09, 2020 | by Gregg DeMey
As a kid, I always wanted to witness the live filming of a show like “Happy Days” or “Laverne and Shirley” or, later, even “Seinfeld.” Alas, my family never took a trip to “Tinseltown” and that dream went unfulfilled… Until now!
When we gather for worship next Sunday on October 18th, our Livestream service will be filmed in front of a “live studio audience,” which begs the question, “I thought a church had a congregation of worshipers, not a live studio audience, right?”
While we’ll have about 100 people in our building on October 18th, we’ll likely have nearly ten times(!) that many people who experience worship via Livestream and through the portal of a screen. It would be misleading to imply that those who participate in worship indoors and in-person are the “real congregation,” while the vast majority of us remain scattered around Chicagoland. Proportionally, only a small fraction of us will be at Elmhurst CRC’s campus.
Referring to our indoor gathering as a live studio audience also accurately sets the expectations for what the hour of worship will look like inside the sanctuary: Masks will be necessary. There will be music but singing won’t be allowed for those gathered. There won’t be a fellowship time afterwards. No passing of the peace. No recitation of creeds or Scripture. We WILL be creative in encouraging ways of non-verbal feedback (for example, noisemakers to wordlessly say, “Amen!”), but indoor worship will feel more observatory than participatory to those attending.
So it’s with both realism and with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor that we’re referring to the persons at our indoor gathering as a live studio audience.
A studio audience does have two crucial jobs: (1) To provide response, energy, and feedback so that those who are acting (or leading worship in our case!) are encouraged and inspired to bring their best — and — (2) To provide a human connection that bridges the gap between the two sides of the camera lens.
To put in more spiritual terms: our indoor worshipers have the opportunity to share the spiritual gift of encouragement with the hundreds of friends on the other side of the camera. I’m confident that the same Holy Spirit who bridges the gap between heaven and earth can bridge the physical gap between our Sanctuary and countless living rooms, porches, and laptops.
This Sunday’s forecast (10/11) is shaping up to be a perfect day for outdoor worship.
For next Sunday (10/18), we try something new to adjust yet again to life in this strangest of years.
May God give you a heart of worship in every circumstance,
CLiCK to find out about more about what to expect and/or submit a reservation request for October 18.