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What We Lose When We Livestream

Do our online viewers truly realize what they’re missing?
What We Lose When We Livestream
Image: Source Images: Ismael Paramo / Nathan Mullet / Unsplash

When churches were in lockdown during the initial phase of the pandemic, many pastors turned to livestreaming as a temporary stand-in for in-person worship services. Churches began delivering disembodied gatherings to congregants’ homes. It seemed like a good idea at the time. It was certainly better than nothing.

But here’s the rub: What most of us assumed would be a few weeks morphed into months, then traversed well beyond a year. What began as a provisional alternative became a comfy habit.

Livestreaming certainly has benefits: It’s convenient, far-reaching, and accessible. So even after gathering in person became feasible again, many pastors retained the online service option. But livestreamed church has a shortcoming that far outweighs its benefits: It is pseudo-fellowship. It provides the appearance of relationship without the genuine depth that comes from proximity. It encourages the notion that nearness is nonessential.

I do believe livestreaming has value in some ...

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