Last week I briefly highlighted how a church can at least approximate worship “together” while we’re prevented from being together physically, and I definitely echo David de Bruyn’s comments here about taking care to make sure that we’re not cheapening corporate worship through the technological means we use during this time.
To be clear, neither David nor I are against using technology or even live streaming in some cases. As David noted, there are some kinds of teaching and other church functions that could be accomplished using some of these technological options. In my church, for example, we are using live streaming technology for Bible studies and prayer meetings. Even perhaps the preaching portion of the service could be livestreamed. But the corporate, embodied nature of corporate worship is something that cannot be replicated over the internet—at very least you can’t really sing together.
But as I mentioned last week, I do think there are things we can do to help our congregations on the Lord’s Day while we are apart, and I thought I’d collect some resources here.
Along with pre-recording a sermon (or, potentially, livestreaming one), I recommend preparing a service for your people and providing it in a form they can print out at home. Keep it simple with Scripture readings, prayers, and hymns. Here are a couple examples:
These services I’ve provided for our church mirror almost exactly what we typically do week by week, providing continuity and unity during this time apart.
Provide PDFs of the hymns for the week. All of the hymns in Hymns to the Living God are available here, and Hymnary.org is also always a good source of hymn sheet downloads.
You can easily find YouTube videos of the hymns you plan for your congregation to sing, the only problem being that sometimes the number of stanzas, exact wording, or harmonizations might be different than your hymnal or hymn PDFs. However, if you’re using our hymns in Hymns to the Living God, we’ve begun providing lots of simple piano accompaniments for our hymns here, including in mp3 format and YouTube videos complete with lyrics.
Another good source for hymn accompaniments are these by Andrew Millard.