Church Streams Services On Facebook Live For Unreached People Group In The Pews
“Technology is wonderful… except when it is not.” There was a time when the only phone in church was the one in the church office. Over the last decade there has been a shift. Now there are usually dozens or hundreds of phones in the church sanctuary, and many churches have ditched their landline.
If you show up on any given Sunday to many churches these days, you will find a number of congregants on their phones. Some of these may be using their favorite Bible app to follow along with the preacher or taking notes. But there are quite a few that are scrolling through their social media accounts while the preacher is delivering the sermon.
So New Direction Nazarene Church in Columbia, S.C. had an idea. Pastor Jim Lindsey explains, “We are a mission-minded church. I am always looking for ways to reach people with the Gospel… especially people who have never heard about Jesus. Studies tell us that there are approximately 6,400 unreached people groups. And many of those are in America. God showed me one Sunday that some of those people are in our sanctuary. There are many who sit right there during the service and never hear a thing. Their heads are down., and for the longest time I thought they were praying, or sleeping. But it turns out they are on Facebook. My spirit was moved by this. I collaborated with our team, and we decided to use this as an outreach opportunity.”
Pastor Lindsey’s outreach director Bobby Fleet new exactly what they needed to do. “We have these people who are right there in the pews, but they never engage with the sermon. But they are engaging with their social media account. Why not use Facebook Live to stream the service from the pulpit to their phone 25 feet away? That way while they are scrolling through political memes and funny ‘fail’ videos, they can still catch the sermon. This was a homerun missions project. It didn’t cost us a dime, no one had to get a passport, and everyone could keep their vacation days for Disney.”
The outreach is a success. Gina, a 30-something member of New Direction appreciates the fact that the church cared enough about her generation to provide a ministry that she can be a part of. “I sort of felt bad, scrolling through my Insta during the service. But now I’m able to just stay in my phone and peek the live window whenever I want. I really feel like I am a part of the church now. When the pastor says something I like, I just send up a heart.”