Moving Forward as a Hybrid Church
Pastor Andrew began the discussion by showing the video he produced for the conference which presents how the church has managed through the crisis.
He began the discussion by saying that the idea of a hybrid church is new to Roberts Park. When the pandemic started, the church had to adapt quickly. An online presence had to be started right away. A grant from Center for Congregations gave us funding to purchase better recording equipment. Church meetings have been successfully held through Zoom. We have replaced how we do things and out of this has come an expansion of our reach. For instance, we are connecting those in the church family who have moved away. Our bible studies have connected with new people as well. Pastor Andrew has reconnected with members of his prior congregations in the United Kingdom. He also mentioned that three couples have each been seeing the services online, have attended the outdoor services, and are now planning their weddings here. The metrics for tracking attendance in this new environment are is still being worked out, but our numbers are far higher than in we have had in prior years.
The next phase will be to develop a livestream online presence as well in-person, which will preserve the traditional service but give us a much wider digital reach. We will be looking to Pastor Carmen to take the lead in developing the online presence, expanding worship, meetings, and discipleship. This will require an investment in technology to livestream worship and meetings, and be able to operate in other areas of the building.
Pastor Andrew has spoken to two companies about equipment. The cost estimate over time could be $140,000 to $180,000, for the equipment, infrastructure and training. There are grant opportunities to help fund it, and also the PPP money received. The CFC also offers resource grants, which are independent of other grants. Our needs would qualify for these grants. Live worship will not be eliminated. We will be building on what we did before. Also, with the new equipment and infrastructure the sanctuary will not look noticeably different than before. There will be cameras on each side of the sanctuary. In the future, there will be some additional lighting. Our current camera will be incorp into the new system. Nothing will be redundant. We will be turning a crisis into an opportunity.