Many of you are suddenly delivering sermons or talks online for the first time. Drawing on my experience and the experience of others, let me suggest three points for pastors and teachers starting to speak online.
First, most of us find it hard or very hard to speak to an empty room. Apparently Isaac Newton was an exception. He quickly learned that very few people could understand his lectures anyway, so he spoke to the walls eventually. Very few of us are Isaac Newton. Therefore to be effective, you probably need to invite a few healthy and responsive people to gather around as you speak. For online churches, this will be musicians and perhaps a liturgist. Speak to them.Tell them you need their presence and feedback. If the setting allows, put a few pictures of your best listeners around. Keep the pictures diverse in gender, age, ethnicity, life experience.
Second, it’s weird to stare into a camera initially, but you can get used to it by speaking to the person behind the lens. Get to know him or her.
Third, think through the setting with your team. There is comfort to some in having the same setting as always – a pulpit or music stand on a stage, perhaps a cross in the background. But you may be a better communicator in a more intimate setting. This may be especially true as you spend time on the issues of the hour
Finally, as you practice good hygiene and social distancing, continue to practice prayer for your listeners and for the team leading them. Ask the Lord to grant you the ability to love your people and for them to feel that love, even at a distance. The Lord hears such prayers.