A friend recently said to me something along these lines: "We've known since we were children how to worship on Sunday. We were taught how to dress, when to speak (and when not to!), when to stand and sit, how to sing with hymnals, and so on--all the little things that make up worship on Sunday morning that we've been doing forever. But who has ever taught us how to worship online? How do you do that?"
I thought it was an excellent question. And so, even though many of us have been worshipping online already for many, many months, and we have probably established some routines around it, I thought I'd offer a few tips and pointers for worship in the digital age.*
- Prepare your body. Some people like to dress up as they would if they went out to church physically; it helps them shift their mental attitude towards Not Just Another Morning At Home. Some people like to dress down; it helps them to feel relaxed and comfortable as they set aside time for worship. Do whatever works best for you and helps you set this time apart in your day and week.
- Prepare your heart. Get everything set up a few minutes early so that you can prepare your heart to worship through expectant prayer. Many people take some moments of silence and stillness to help them enter a spirit of worship.
- Prepare the physical space: clear away any clutter or distractions. A lit candle can remind you of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps you have a Bible or a cross that can also focus your attention. A beautiful cloth in the colour of the paraments in the church can be a beautiful addition.
- Prepare your device: if you are joining the service on your computer, turn off notifications. If you are joining in on your mobile device, activate “do not disturb.” Don’t let a stray text message interrupt or take away from your worshiping the Lord. Close other browser tabs and plan on dedicating your attention to the service.
- Worship is about engagement, not entertainment. Worship at home however you would worship at the physical church. Now is not the time to grab a favorite snack, or check your social media. Worship is not a spectator event, you are participating in worship!
- Engagement can mean interacting with others through the comment section or chat box. Greet other people and share the peace!
- Engagement can be standing to sing and speaking out the responses. Don't be shy! You sing in the shower, why not sing out loud with the congregation at worship too?
- Come together with your household. If there are others in your household who plan to join in for worship, consider coming together to worship in front of the same screen. Get ready to praise God, hear God’s word, and experience the Holy Spirit together.
I hope these tips and ideas help you as you join the rest of the community in worship from your home.
* Adapted from guidelines offered by the Chinese Christian Church of Greater Albany.