“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.
If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all others.
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a human being. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”
I agree with what my current senior pastor, Adam Hamilton says in response to a question about whether he really believes in the resurrection, I don’t just believe it. I’m counting on it.
As Pastor of Resurrection Online, I have heard from several others who are interested in starting an online worship service. I suggest the following:
1 – Ask the Right Questions
Pastor(s), key staff and volunteers need to be able to have clear answers to the following questions:
Why are we considering starting an online worship service?
How will this initiative further our mission as a church?
What are we hoping for?
How will it be implemented?
What will comprise the worship experience online?
What impact do we anticipate on the current congregation?
Why does this make sense within the culture of our church?
What balance between service to the current and future congregation will be struck?
At Resurrection, I was part of a staff team that considered these and other fundamental questions about the structure of an online worship service for nearly a year before we launched weekly worship online. While many of our initial responses to these questions changed, it was crucial to getting off the ground.
2 – Clarify Scope and Ownership
A key to success in launching an online worship service is to be clear about the scope of the initiative and who will own it.
Will there be interaction around the online worship experience?
Will there be intentional efforts to provide care and discipleship?
Is it to be just a worship service or more than that?
The scope of the online worship service will provide a guide to who will own the effort. It may be within the worship team, volunteer effort, stand alone ministry area or some combination. Before launch, it is necessary to know who will own it.
At Resurrection, it was clear that Resurrection Online would become a stand alone ministry area. It did not begin that way, however it was clear that this was where it was headed.
3 – Get it Started
Go for it.
If you have spent time on fundamental questions, scope and ownership, it is time to kick it off. You might start with a webcam, a laptop and livestream.com or you might have high definition cameras, broadcast quality switcher and dedicated encoders. In any case, start and see what happens. You will not be able to really tell what works and what doesn’t until you actually get started.
4 – Be ready adapt or hit the kill switch
When you start an online worship service, you have to be flexible. Be ready to make changes as needed and incrementally. Always be ready to pull the plug on the online worship service if it is no longer making sense for your church. Don’t make it something that starts and can never stop. It would be helpful to go back to the fundamental questions on a regular basis to check for any changes in direction or to realign your efforts.
Yesterday morning, I had the opportunity to preach at the Heritage Service at Resurrection Leawood. This is the first service on Sunday at Resurrection beginning at 7:45 AM. It was the first time that I had lead worship in several months and it felt really good.
We considered the story of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples in John 13 and looked at ways that serving others builds relationships both with those being served and with those with whom we serve. We serve others out of gratitude to God and a clear hope for the future.
Yesterday I had a good time as part of the All Staff Lunch at Resurrection. We have these about once a quarter and outside of our weekly staff chapel worship experience it is one of the only times that our entire staff of over 200 gathers together in one place. Here is a brief rundown of the agenda:
Lunch – burgers and dog courtesy of Chris Cakes (who knew they cooked up anything other than breakfast food?!)
Introduced 10 new staff people since our last all staff lunch in February – including Anthony James, Software / Web Developer who will add significantly to Resurrection Online’s development.
Spiritual Retreat Center Update – Latest plans for future development
Employee Handbook – Newly refreshed and available for all staff 🙂
Wellness Challenge – This time around focusing on eating fruits and vegetables, sleep and exercise.
Destination Resurrection – focus on engagement at each of our locations over the summer
Annual Conference hosted at Resurrection – The Kansas East Annual Conference will meet for the first time at Resurrection this year.
Multi Campus – Future developments for multiple campuses including reorganization to support additional campuses.
Input and Dreams next 10 years of ministry at Resurrection
It is really a great time with other staff. Oh and I nearly forgot, that I was part of the “game show” featuring married or engaged couples on staff a la The Newlywed Game. A good time was had by all.