In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, streaming church services has seen an uptick in popularity.
Cariboo Christian Life Fellowship (CCLF) lead pastor Rick Barker says that while they always live stream both services every Sunday they’ve had to add a bit of equipment with so much live streaming on Sundays.
“The response has been awesome actually; people have been super positive. Maybe it’s because they can wear their pyjamas to church, I don’t know. We normally have about 500-600 people who call CCLF their home church. On Sunday we had close to 200 connections, which meant pretty much double that the number of people… and then once the video posted up online, we’ve had about 600 other views. So, in fact, we’re reaching more people than we would normally.”
The format has changed a little bit as well.
“I had the idea pop into my head to do it like a full-on talk show (think Johnny Carson, Jimmy Fallon) complete with monologue, guests, and video segments, plus a live band that we call the ‘Isolation Band.’ During the fires of ‘17 we had the ‘Evacuation Band’ now it’s the Isolation Band. Last week, we interviewed a local doctor on our medical community plus had a video segment of a local young man’s story of faith. It worked really well.”
For now, they’ll keep the talkshow format but Barker says they’ve got some other ideas as well.
“We might set up our stage like a large living room, with solid spatial distancing taking place in couches and chairs, and have our band situated throughout, and do like a ‘CCLF at Home’ presentation one Sunday.”
They’ve also had some buy-in from people who are not usually part of the congregation, according to Barker.
“Some of the other local churches don’t have the technology to live stream so we’ve had folks from the greater community of faith join us as well, plus there have been a number of people from other countries – Scotland and the U.S. for example, as well as our regulars who said things like, ‘hey my brother tuned in, and he’s not a church-goer. He really liked it.’”
They’re doing their best to adjust their sails, according to Barker, adding that they’ve been able to keep all nine of their staff but that they’ve shifted to day to day duties quite a bit.
“We want to honour our government, and honour our God who says in the Bible ‘do not forsake the gathering together.’ It just looks different right now. Loving technology at the moment!”
Their broadcasts are at 10 a.m. on Sundays (cclf.ca/live-stream).
The Hillside Community Church has also been making their content available online.
Pastor Clint Lange says they wanted to continue to give people options to tune in with sermons and teachings from the Bible.
“That was really important for us to maintain contact, between our community members as well.”
Some of their viewers are also coming from outside their community group, he says, adding that people also interact and give encouraging messages.
“We just want to stay in tune with everybody and keep our community robust. That’s really important for us.
The response has been really good even though it’s difficult not to meet, he says.
“We just want to be messengers of hope in a time of crisis and we believe that there’s answers for people from god.”
They’re also broadcasting at 10 a.m. in the morning on Sundays as well as a daily 15-minute broadcast which you can catch at facebook.com/100milepaoc.