Web cams have changed the way we communicate – phone conferences at work have evolved into video conferences, and grandparents can talk to their grandchildren in real-time, rather than anxiously awaiting photos in the mail. Now video streaming technology allows us to view places and events we are unable to travel to in the comfort of our own home. So will web cams change the way we worship?
There are a lot of video streaming services in the market like USTREAM or Live Stream, but they geared more towards entertainment than for church use. Lyle Stoflet, President of FrontChurchPew.com which IS targeted towards churches, has this to say about church streaming technology:
How can streaming technology help a church’s outreach? The challenge of every church is to reach out to the community, to make the church accessible to the masses. God’s Word should be sent out far and wide. Today’s technology is designed to do just that.
With today’s streaming technology there is no need for expensive broadcast booths or pricey equipment, all you need is a computer and a camera and you can share God’s message with the world quickly and affordably. Many church members may experience sickness, weather, travel or other circumstances that prevent them from attending services. Live webcasting keeps them connected and able to participate from their home, office, business, or hotel room. They can use their computer, iPhone, iPad or other device to watch. Plus, you can reach potential church members who are searching online for a new church community or home.
I think services like this are going to be huge for a lot of Christian denominations. But I’m hesitant to believe the average parish will stream live video – watching Mass in your living room, without the Eucharist, isn’t really attending Mass. But for the sick or the home-bound this could be beneficial, and there are other great websites out there like CatholicTV or EWTN Television that stream daily Mass and other Catholic programming.
In some instances, streaming video could be a great way to share the Gospel online, and I think we’ll be seeing more and more churches use this technology in the years to come.