COVID-19 has been changing the ways we live--the increase of non-face-to-face activities, for example. Each religious activity is at a standstill since it is based on group activities. Especially, Christianity considers it essential to gather and worship physically. The term “church” means “community of Christians”, and the Bible emphasizes the importance of gatherings. For example, 2:46 Acts of the Apostles says that “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.”
Churches’ emphasis on physical gatherings seems to be the reason why the government is concerned about physical worship since it can be a threat to the quarantine system. Although churches consider physical gatherings necessary, they are following the protocols set by the government and now most churches worship online. Such unprecedented ways of worshipping became opportunities for churches to try different ways of online church activities.
A mid-sized church, Junggye Pistis Church, uses a QR code entry log system for attendance checks to follow the government regulations by minimizing physical contact. Sunday school teachers take turns to record videos of themselves praying and play them for the online worships. Furthermore, ministers visiting homes of church members have also been substituted by online videos. Various Christian educations are carried out online, and the churches are trying their best to run these classes smoothly. These continued online activities enable churches to improve their use of technologies, which can also be used in different situations in the future.
Reverend Choi Minseok, an educational minister of Junggye Pistis Church, is creating various types of contents that he has never tried before in order to keep in touch with the kids.
|[A screenshot of Shimbang Man’s video. The channel is made for online home visits. Photo Credit: Choi Minseok]|
Not only mid-sized churches but also small-sized churches are trying various online activities. I interviewed Reverend Kim Jaekwang, a minister of Bodeum Church located in Seoul, to hear his opinions of such ways of worshipping.
|[An Interview with Rev. Kim, Jaekwang. Photo Credit: Shinyong Park]|
According to Kim, his church tried online Bible study sessions and conferences. He answered that the current situation is useful in that he can learn more about communication technologies, such as Google Meets, Zoom, and YouTube Live. Nevertheless, he faced some limits as the participation rate in church activities decreased, compared to that of offline meetings.Trying new methods of online worship has led to the development of more systematic ways to carry out activities thorough the internet. However, many Christians worry that such online activities would neglect physical gatherings.
When the COVID-19 pandemic ends, churches will resume their offline gathering and worshipping. However, there is a sense of concern among Christians that the worships might not be as it used to be.
Korea International School Jeju Campus
Shinyong Park firstname.lastname@example.org
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