by Judy Klein
The Lansing Seventh-day Adventist Church service has undergone major changes in the past few week. With the outbreak of COVID-19, the need for social distancing, and then the government-issued shelter-in-place order, church leadership was forced to make significant adjustments.
With much thought and diligent prayers, Lansing Church leaders looked to the live stream service, which has already been used every week, but would suddenly now be our main connection. It seems so simple to just film the service and tell everyone not to come to the actual building, but there’s a lot more that goes into the weekly service than meets the eye.
For starters, communication is always key. Members must be informed. That’s where Sheri Christie, head of communications, comes in. Every Sabbath morning at exactly 10:50, she makes a “Now Live” Facebook post, informing everyone who sees the post that they can tune in to the church service. This is in addition to posts throughout the week to enlighten us to upcoming events.
But even before the announcement goes out and the signal is given to begin speaking, Donna Hall puts together the whole service, as overseen by Pastor Mills. Meeting half an hour before the team goes live, the participants, who are selected by the elders, pray and go over a quick synopsis of what the service will entail. This process even includes a sheet for the Audio-Visual Team so they know where to move the camera.
The Tech Side of Worship
The AV Team is a major component in the success of our weekly connection for church worship. To get ready for the live stream service, Tony Dean and his team must power up the machines, set up the camera, turn on the special live streaming computer and make sure the software for live streaming is good to go. Sounds easy enough, but there’s still more! Slides that are to be fed into the live stream must be produced: announcement updates, opening songs, children’s story, family prayer, Scripture verses, offering, special music, and sermon title.
Finally, after the countdown has reached zero and the pastor has begun to speak, the camera operator must keep track of where the camera is supposed to be at what time. This can be quite difficult, and the image as the camera moves from the “living room” to the pulpit is blurry.
“It almost gives you motion sickness,” Dean says jokingly, “and a second camera would give you major improvement.” The good news is that the Audio-Visual Team is planning to update to three cameras in the near future.
Separate But Not Distant
We as a church family are unable to meet together in person, but there are still things we can do. “While we’re physically distancing, we don’t have to be socially distant,” Sheri Christie says. During this time of being “sheltered” at home, there are several things you can do to keep busy and stay connected to your church family.
- Call the elderly, because while we can’t visit them right now, a phone call is the next best thing.
- Check the Instant Church Directory and make sure that your contact information is filed and that the information is all accurate.
- Pray—pray for our church leadership, for our governmental leadership, for those who are afflicted with the virus.
- Share the “Live Now” Facebook posts on Sabbath morning—you never know who can and will be reached.
And last, as head elder Alex Fitzpatrick put it, “Tune in!” Yes, tune in and be blessed!
Jesus is coming soon—the signs are all around us. Let’s tell the world the good news!