Zoom live for worship?

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jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
I'm hoping those of you involved in last week's Psalm singing (or other events) can give me insight into how well online participation sessions worked.

We've just had additional restrictions placed upon travel here in Virginia. I've been on Zoom meeting sessions but I'm wondering how responsive readings and singing will go.

Is this even feasible for worship? Will this cut out all the non tech folk? No decisions are being made yet by our leadership, but I'd like to have insight on this earlier rather than later. Thanks!
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
I'm hoping those of you involved in last week's Psalm singing (or other events) can give me insight into how well online participation sessions worked.

We've just had additional restrictions placed upon travel here in Virginia. I've been on Zoom meeting sessions but I'm wondering how responsive readings and singing will go.

Is this even feasible for worship? Will this cut out all the non tech folk? No decisions are being made yet by our leadership, but I'd like to have insight on this earlier rather than later. Thanks!
My church met via Zoom for the first time yesterday. The pastor had everyone else's camera off and mic muted. He lead the singing and everything, and we just followed along at home. It was very simple.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
Hmm. Singing is a bit difficult, and I would imagine responsive reading would be somewhat awkward as well, because there is a slight delay. Many participants will have poor mic and speaker setups that will be distracting. I'm guessing it won't sound very good.

But... I think you ought to try it! I would love to learn how it goes. I think more churches, if they aren't too big, ought to be trying to worship via Zoom despite the difficulties. And they ought to be leaving everyone's mic open for songs and responsive readings. We are meant to hear each other's voices, and to be taught and encouraged by those many voices, when we worship (see Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16).

So in my opinion, a Zoom meeting is a huge step up from a live stream or recorded video, because the congregation can actually be encouraged by hearing each other's voices. So what if it sounds lousy. It's still the church "addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs," and that is of great value. In that way, a Zoom service actually comes close to corporate worship, whereas a livestream comes closer to watching a concert on TV.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
Oh, and Zoom is super easy. That's why it's so popular. If someone can find the right video or livestream on YouTube, they'll probably be able to join a meeting via Zoom.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
My church met via Zoom for the first time yesterday. The pastor had everyone else's camera off and mic muted. He lead the singing and everything, and we just followed along at home. It was very simple.
Hmm. Singing is a bit difficult, and I would imagine responsive reading would be somewhat awkward as well, because there is a slight delay. Many participants will have poor mic and speaker setups that will be distracting. I'm guessing it won't sound very good.

But... I think you ought to try it! I would love to learn how it goes. I think more churches, if they aren't too big, ought to be trying to worship via Zoom despite the difficulties. And they ought to be leaving everyone's mic open for songs and responsive readings. We are meant to hear each other's voices, and to be taught and encouraged by those many voices, when we worship (see Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16).

So in my opinion, a Zoom meeting is a huge step up from a live stream or recorded video, because the congregation can actually be encouraged by hearing each other's voices. So what if it sounds lousy. It's still the church "addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs," and that is of great value. In that way, a Zoom service actually comes close to corporate worship, whereas a livestream comes closer to watching a concert on TV.
Thank you for the encouraging words!

We have a former member living in Washington whose church had a Zoom service with muted mikes, Sunday, then broke into small groups to discuss the sermon. With the PB psalm sing, I'm hoping someone will jump in with suggestions about live mikes.

Jack, you are spot-on about hearing our brothers and sisters. What a blessing that would be!
 

KSon

Puritan Board Junior
Zoom is helpful, in its right context. Yesterday, we live-streamed my message on YouTube. We used Zoom for "Smaller Group Meetings" (using Zoom's breakout-room feature) yesterday evening, and our Wednesday Night Study last week. Tomorrow I'll use it to host our 1689 Confession Class.

Zoom allows people to participate (moderated by the host). The one arena in which it is not helpful is for things, such as singing, for which there is a need to be synchronized.
 

PaulCLawton

Puritan Board Freshman
One positive re: Zoom that hasn't been mentioned here yet: one does not need to have a PC or smartphone to join the audio portion; there is a toll-free number and passcode that can be used.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
Our Puritan Board psalm sing had only three participants, so it probably isn't a very good model. There have been a handful of orchestras and bands that have played music together via Zoom during this crisis, but I suspect they paid closer attention to technical issues (headsets, external mics, lots of bandwidth) than you can expect from the average congregation.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
but I'm wondering how responsive readings and singing will go.

Singing is terrible. We tried it for our first Sunday School class. Out of sync, the computer gets confused and keeps switching the live microphone. The class lesson and season of prayer were both great. Probably about 50 participants with connections in the mid-30s.

The congregational portion of the responsive reading should have the same issues as the a cappella singing.
 

Post Tenebras

Puritan Board Freshman
My church has done Zoom worship for three weeks. Congregational singing does not work well, but for prayer, responsive reading, and the sermon, it has been OK.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
Looks like we'll continue with live stream for worship for at least a while. I had missed that the governor had made a religious exemption. There has been plans for a Zoom Sunday school in a few weeks, so we'll be able to hear each other then. Families made pictures last week as they gathered for worship and I've made a collage to share.
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
I'm hoping those of you involved in last week's Psalm singing (or other events) can give me insight into how well online participation sessions worked.

We've just had additional restrictions placed upon travel here in Virginia. I've been on Zoom meeting sessions but I'm wondering how responsive readings and singing will go.

Is this even feasible for worship? Will this cut out all the non tech folk? No decisions are being made yet by our leadership, but I'd like to have insight on this earlier rather than later. Thanks!
I was invited to worship with an OP church in Texas last Sunday. It seemed to work remarkably well. The pastor emailed the worship guide out early that morning. The service included the Creed,and the Lord’s Prayer which people said at home along with the pastor. In place of singing the pastor read a psalm. The sermon was live from his study. Overall it was very reverent and not at all strange-feeling. The evening service was the same format. Both were well attended. Oh, and I forgot, the Zoom session was opened 30” before the call to worship so that folks could socialize.
 

Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
Experience will grow over time. If it is to continue 3 months (and I pray it does not) there will be plenty time to get up to speed. I would suggest trial runs and maybe assigning a tech savvy coach. In giving instructions I would recommend the visual book approach with lots of screen shots showing where things are.
 
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