The numbers are in after our Easter celebration. My church in Henderson, NV was humbled to minister to over 38,000 in our five services! We have not seen numbers like his since before the pandemic shut our doors. For many it may have simply been a chance to check off their church box for the year while for others, it was their first time back since Covid.
Our church was offering services online via live stream as were many other churches across the nation. Our online viewership has increased ten times since the pandemic. Our live attendance is down about 30% but coming back slowly. If your health or work schedule prevents you from attending live, online is a great option. However, I’m a strong advocate for attending live whenever possible. These are just a few reasons why.
When you are engaged in live worship with hundreds or even thousands of like-minded believers there’s a sense of God’s presence that is hard to duplicate in your home online. I compare it to watching your favorite sports team on television or being live in the stadium with fellow screaming fans-there is no comparison.
Another thing that happens only in live services is the edifying of the church. In Ephesians 4 Paul tells us that we each receive certain spiritual gifts that should be honed in the church for the edifying of the Body of Christ, or the church. You need to minister to others using the gifts God has given you. Your story may help others. This doesn’t normally happen in your living room drinking coffee in your pajamas.
Another benefit of live attendance is networking with friends and forming strong bonds of support you can rely on in times of crisis. My circle of strong men who I count as friends have been my lifesaver these past few years. Time shared together is more precious than well meaning texts.
One out of three have stopped attending church in America since the pandemic and those who attend church have dropped below 50% for the first time in decades. Don’t be a part of a trend but jump in and get wet. Immerse yourself with all the benefits of a live worship experience whenever possible. Don’t settle for anything less than the live experience.