by Gyburg Beschnidt
The International Baptist Church Berlin did not cancel their worship service as many churches did but chose a different form of meeting: a videoconference. 65 computers and mobiles were connected and about a hundred people worshiped together. That was less than on other Sundays but a lot for a meeting which was announced only a day earlier.
Many people in the congregation know videoconferences from their workplace and from the weekly conversations with Scott Corwin. On Tuesday nights, they join him on zoom.org to discuss the sermon and the plans of the church. Now, all worship services, workshops and prayer meetings will take place as videoconferences at least until Easter. Members and friends were invited by email with links and QR-Codes. Further information was also distributed via WhatsApp and Telegram Messenger. In addition, an online “Vacation”-Bible school is planned for next week.
The form of the worship service was similar to the usual format. However, songs were only accompanied by a guitar, not the praise team. Of course, there was also a sermon and prayers. Prayer requests were collected via chat. The beamer-presentation was visible on monitors – and in a window the activity in the church. Instead of an offering, the congregation was invited to contribute to the bank account of the church. Of course, some things still need to be improved technically: A camcorder observes things differently than a person. People need to learn the functions of the program and they have to accept the different atmosphere. There is a warm welcome … only via the chat and no hugs. The coffee after church is not provided. But in a time of social distancing, it helps to enjoy the fellowship of brother and sisters and to receive the blessing of God.