Dear Alameda Family,
Thank you for adapting so well to our “new normal” of worshipping online. The response to the sermons and other resources has been tremendous. Let’s keep making the best out of a difficult situation!
I want to give you an update about our online worship options moving forward. As you know, we have opted to post our sermons as an “on-demand” feature rather than a live-stream event. There are three main reasons for this: (1) It fits best with what we are currently equipped to produce; (2) it allows us to post the sermon video across all of our platforms, thus making it easier to view and share; and (3) it gives people the opportunity to choose when they want to “tune in” and watch.
However, we do see the value of doing something live that helps our members feel more connected to their church family on Sunday mornings, so starting this Sunday (March 29) we are adding a live communion service at 10:30 a.m. We encourage you to have your communion supplies ready at home (here’s a recipe to make your own unleavened bread), join the live event, and commune with your church family virtually. Watch our social media platforms for information and prompts about where to join this live event.
Also, we have looked into adding video recordings of songs to our online worship. But due to expense and licensing issues, it is not feasible for us to add that component. So, on our church Facebook page we are posting titles and links to songs that go with the theme of that day’s sermon for you to listen to and worship through song.
In addition, I want to share a few tips about how to get the most out of an online worship service:
- Approach it like you would an in-person service. Wake up, take a shower, eat breakfast, drink some coffee, and designate a time for everyone in your house to meet at the place in your house from where you’ll be watching.
- Pray before “tuning in.” Before you turn on your computer or TV, say a prayer asking God to help you focus and for your heart and mind to be open to what you will be hearing and learning. Take a moment to also pray for the global church that is meeting online during this pandemic.
- Watch the video on the largest screen you have.
- While watching the video, sit up in your chair or on your coach and take a learning posture.
- Have your Bible with you and turn to the passage(s) that is referenced and follow along when it is read.
- When a prayer is offered, bow your head just like you would in-person instead of watching a person saying a prayer.
- After the video is over, spend a few minutes talking with your family about the sermon and ask them what they learned or what encouraged them. If you’re watching by yourself, think through what was shared and contact another member and ask them what they learned.
- Close your time with a prayer at home.
- Share the video on your social media feeds so that others can be encouraged by God’s Word and message of hope.
- Think about the people in your church family that you are missing right now. Reach out to a few of them this week to see how they are doing. Let’s stay connected!
Now, can I ask you a favor? Would you please lift up Alameda’s elders and ministry staff in your daily prayers? We are having to re-learn how to “do church,” and it is a difficult task. We are doing our best to find creative ways to keep our church family connected, to shepherd, to minister, and to keep everyone informed and encouraged. Fortunately, we have a church family that takes initiative in checking in on one another, so keep it up!
I love you all and I am confident that God is going to bring us through this season of turmoil in ways that make our congregation stronger, more connected, and more on mission than ever.