Crushed, Broken, and Defeated

Sometimes you’re just there.

Crushed.

Broken.

Defeated.

I get the fantastic privilege at our family’s church of hosting our live stream.

I also get to help build a communications team – this team eventually will lead our church in multiple areas of communications, but for this post, I’ll stay laser focused on hosting the Sunday morning livestream.

While livestream hosting could certainly be simply welcoming people, and keeping the convo rolling – that’s really just a small piece of it.

It’s so much more.

It’s knowing who is online and why.

Are they church members sick or traveling?

Are they online previewing to see if they might make an in-person visit?

Studies show that people “attend” an online church service — or otherwise engage with a church online — 5-6 times before visiting a church in person.

Your online presence is a big front door.

As an online hosts you get to know people — I’ve heard churches refer to people online as their online congregation.

And while nothing can compare to the in person experience, I do want the people online with me each week to know they are a valuable and integral part of our church. And I want them to know they have a real, in-person, online host, not a chatbot.

A host that cares for them.

For myself — and for any new host who comes on board — I go to great lengths to set up our livestream host tools.

Public notes.

Host notes.

Copy and paste ready prayer prompts for a host.

Names of people being recognized — for baptism or child dedication.

I even have a copy and paste ready host sign off note.

I have a spreadsheet of how many people each week are on each of our streaming platforms.

Why? People need Jesus and we have platforms available to us to share the gospel.

That’s why.

But then there’s production.

And I know just enough about production to know that I don’t know enough about production.

I know what a stream key is.

I know the difference between a link and an embed code.

I know the difference between real live and simulated live.

I know what an encoder is. And why we need one.

I know just enough.

But not enough.

We have a rock solid producer. She’s amazing!

But then there’s the hardware.

And the last two weeks our computer has died.

Shut down. Restart. Blue screen of death. No power. Done. Died. Dead.

No livestream.

No post service video editing. No app updates. No YouTube updates. No sermon clips.

No engaging with our people online.

No sharing the gospel outside the four walls of our church.

And yes, there is absolutely no substitute for the in-person experience.

But still.

As a leader, I couldn’t help but feel like I’d let people down.

I’d left my team unequipped.

The live-stream hosst: what do I do when the stream stops?

The post-service video editor: There is no video to edit. How can I help? What can I do?

I felt — in a small way — responsible for letting our viewers down.

I know it wasn’t my fault.

Believe me. I know this.

Logic tells me it’s not me.

But my heart hurts.

As a leader, when people are hurting, you take that hit.

And it hits.

Hard.

Disappointment. Hurt. Stoic resolve. Determination.

And then one person posted in our church’s private Facebook group.

…question? What’s going on with our online service? I keep hearing negative feedback from viewers…

And in that moment, disappointment quickly drifted.

Crushed.

Broken.

Defeated.

But not hanging on a cross.

Jesus did that for me.

Will we try again this Sunday?

Yes. We will.

We will fail?

We hope not. We believe.

I told my team this week, Church Communications isn’t easy, but serving our congregation and community always…ALWAYS…makes it 100% worth it.

Crushed.

Broken.

Defeated.

But not hanging on a cross.

Jesus did that for me.

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