Worshipping Together While Apart—COVID’s Lasting Impacts on Worship Experience

Houses of worship make the necessary technology upgrades to better serve changing congregational needs.

2020 saw a sudden explosion in the adoption of visual communication platforms for everything from classroom lectures to business meetings to staying in touch with relatives amid lockdowns—so why wouldn’t it have an equally dramatic impact on houses of worship? While many churches have been transitioning over recent years to include streaming options in to order to reach a wider congregation, the pandemic saw a drastic increase in adoption as a primary way to communicate their message.

“The most significant challenge that has affected everything we do is that in March of 2020, churches by and large became broadcasters,” said Tim Corder, director of strategic accounts, House of Worship at Diversified. “If you wanted to stay engaged with your congregation, you had to figure out how to essentially become a 24/7 broadcaster, looking for all the different ways you could engage your people—and not just adults, but students and kids, too.”

However, although the closures presented their own challenges, they also provided unprecedented opportunity and unfettered access to improve technology systems and broaden offerings in preparation to welcome back a changed congregation.

A combination of in-person and streaming is now very likely the new norm for houses of worship, both large and small. “We’ve crossed a point that I don’t think churches can or will choose to go back from, where a degree of online engagement is here to stay,” adds Tim. “It’s hard to imagine we’ll ever go back.”

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