When San Diego County banned gatherings over 250 earlier this month, the Village Church quickly put a plan into action for videotaping its two Sunday worship services and posting them to the church website and Facebook page. The effort has been very successful with virtual attendance figures of over 450 people from around the globe, according to the Rev. Dr. Jack Baca, senior pastor of the Village Church.
“We are getting extremely positive comments. People appreciate the fact we are providing a worship service with a homey, personal feel. It is a great source of inspiration and comfort in these unsettling times,” he said. “It is in unique and challenging times that we who follow Jesus are given an even greater opportunity to display to the world the inner peace, strength, and love that are ours because we know him who has already conquered all things and still is about the business of redeeming the world.”
The church pastors are recording their sermons and prayers individually and the clips are edited together with musical performances recorded by the church worship leaders. Baca admits that the recent Rancho Santa Fe upgrade to broadband internet was just in the nick of time. “While we are not live streaming yet, the faster internet connection allows us to do so much more online. The final connection came less than a week before we were told to shut down large gatherings.”
Currently, Sunday services are released on Facebook and the church website (villagechurch.or) on Saturday night by 10 p.m. And they are attracting viewers from far and wide.
“We work with churches in 25 different countries through our mission partners and now they can share in our worship services,” Baca explained. “Plus, our congregation travels a lot. So this new effort gives them the opportunity to be part of our worship anytime, anywhere.”
Baca added that even though the mode of operation of the church will be quite different in the weeks ahead, “The essential focus and goal of our ministries will not change at all. We will still pray for each other, still study God’s Word, still reach out to those who need our encouragement and help. God truly calls us to engage with him in loving the world that he made and came to redeem.”
An added benefit of online worship is the outreach to a younger generation. “It’s terrific for teens and 20-somethings that want to be involved in Sunday worship without having to sit in a church pew or appear at a given time,” adds Baca. “It’s also perfect for our older members who can’t travel to church any longer.”
Community members are welcome to be part of the Village Church online Holy Week festivities beginning April 5 with Palm Sunday followed by a Maundy Thursday service with the Lord’s Supper and Service of Darkness on April 9. The holiest week in the Christian calendar culminates April 12 with a special Easter service.
For more information on accessing the Sunday services online, visit the website at villagechurch.org or call the Village Church at 858-756-2441.