A Note to Virtual Preachers

To all my pastor friends who are trying to figure out new technology and how to preach online: don’t give up! You are doing a difficult and faithful thing! And we need you!

I wrote a blog about preaching a new sermon structure a bit ago, but it occurs to me that preaching in a new communication environment is very similar.

Numbers 5 and 6 especially apply:

5. Don’t judge by feel.

Preaching in front of a camera or an iPhone is going to feel weird. With an empty room, there’s no non-verbals to let you know people are listening. When you get done, there will be no sense of whether the message got through or not. That’s OK. You’re flying blind, but Jesus has you. Just be yourself and point us to Jesus. We’re all nodding and smiling at home…

6. Get Right Back in the Saddle

Maybe last week was a disaster. Or maybe today is your first attempt. You won’t feel like you knocked it out of the park. It won’t even feel like you are playing baseball any more, and you will have no sense of what “knocking it out of the park” feels like. That’s OK. Try it again. And again. And again. This doesn’t have to be your favorite new way of preaching, but give it at least four or five weeks before you begin to evaluate how you feel about it. Because how you feel it went will not be an accurate gauge of how it actually went for at least a month.

Along with all of that, know that we are on your side. We are pulling for you. We want a familiar face of someone we know loves us to give us hope and comfort and promise again this week. The world feels so different; you are helping us see Jesus stays the same. Thank you.

And please, take some of the pressure off of yourself and your team. This is hard. This is strange. This feels almost surreal. You are trying hard, depending on Jesus, listening to the Spirit, and sharing the Word. Trust that the same Spirit who inspired the Word in the first place is alive and well and active in your hearers (or watchers-at-home).

It’s not your job to get this right. It’s your job to bring God’s Word to your people and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

Work hard. (I know you are.) Point us to Jesus. (I know you will.) And let go of your need to do things well.

I mean it. The fact that you are doing this at all means way more than how good it looks on my screen at home. Lay down the burden of getting it right. I know you are on what feels like take number 17 and you still don’t know how well the sound is working. Forget it. Give us Jesus. And please remember, that same Jesus is there for you.

Practice what you preach: give your online video adventure to Christ and His Church, and let the Spirit do what the Spirit does. Your effort is important. But it is not your job to get it right or even to do it well. Give it the best you can with what you’ve got this week, give God the glory, and move on.

We need you. You got this. But more importantly, Jesus has got you. Rest in that.

Happy Virtual Sunday.
Justin Rossow


Featured image by Joseph Redfield from Pexels.

2 Comments

  1. Justin thanks for your encouragement!!
    I always appreciate your insight and wisdom. Trusting you and yours are well.
    Looking forward to doing lunch—when the world calms. Peace

    1. Thanks, Scott! I think it’s good to see so many working so hard to do this well, because it’s important. And the burden of getting it right can be crushing. So let’s all take a deep Spirit/breath and look for how Jesus is using what we do imperfectly for our good and His glory. Looking forward to that lunch!

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