Ok, this is gonna date me, but I remember the “Is it live or is it Memorex” commercials touting how things recorded onto a Memorex cassette tape (remember those?) sounded as good as hearing it live, in person.
I’m not sure if that was the case, but when I wanted to record something onto a cassette tape I did by Memorex, so I guess the ad worked!
Prior to the pandemic, all we had as an option for our worship services was live and in-person. Now, as a result of the pandemic, we have multiple ways for people to worship with us that still includes live and in-person, but now we also offer the opportunity to worship livestream from your home on our YouTube channel (Crosslake Worship) or you can watch any of our services anytime through our website, www.crosslakeefc.org.
So, which is better … live or Memorex? Or, more properly stated today: "Which is better … live, livestream or replayed worship?
The obvious answer would seem to be “live” because that has always been the way we have worshipped. Hebrews 10:25 makes that point as well when it states, “Let us not neglect meeting together as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Clearly, worshipping together live and in-person is something we need to be doing. Yet, while I initially resisted livestreaming and recording our services, because I did not want to give people a way not to come, I have now come to the realization that God can and does work powerfully through livestream and recorded and replayed worship services as well.
We now have almost three times as many people watching our services online as we do attending, in-person. Many of our services are being watched by people from all across the United States and even some other countries and they are being viewed weeks and months later!
Also, most of our first time in-person visitors are now saying that they have been watching us online for a few weeks before deciding to come and worship with us in person. That means our livestream and recorded services are becoming a new “front door” for us that is drawing people to know, love and follow Jesus.
So, which is better … live, livestream or replayed worship?
Maybe it’s all of the above!
Mark Holmen is pastor at Crosslake Evangelical Free Church (The Log Church)