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From John Upton: An Invitation to Two Important Events This Week

Posted: 5/18/20 at 10:00am. Written by John Upton.

John Upton

I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to participate in two events this week; one is a follow-up to the other. The first is the Town Hall meeting on May 19 (tomorrow) at 11:00 a.m. I will be joined by David Washburn,  BGAV Treasurer, and Chris Backert, National Director of Fresh Expressions US. The purpose of the Town Hall meeting is to respond to a series of questions that have been raised by pastors and churches.

The topic we are most frequently being asked is when and how to re-gather in worship as churches. There is much anxiety and difference of opinions concerning these questions. While honoring the decision of each church to address when it opens and how it will open, we hope to share resources that may help in addressing those questions. David has done research that will provide good insights on how to open safely and will share what he has learned from different churches as they have addressed these questions.

A second concern has been how to balance re-gathering in person with the continued use of online worship services or drive-in services. Chris Backert will speak to the challenges of living in a 50/50 world and how we might navigate that maintenance-heavy challenge. Many churches have experienced new audiences with these services and do not want to lose these witnessing opportunities. But it is a challenge to know how to do both well. Chris will help us think through the opportunities before us with these new technical tools in our toolbox as well as how to manage the demand it creates.

On Wednesday, May 20 (the next day), at 11:00 a.m., as a follow-up to the Town Hall, I will host a Virtual Church webinar on increasing our skills in producing virtual experiences. Now that a large number of churches will continue providing virtual worship experiences, Bible studies, and youth and children’s programs online for the foreseeable future, what are some added skills we need to have to enhance our experiences? What inexpensive resources are there to help churches do this with more ease and effect? Chris Morton, media producer for Fresh Expressions, and Emily Upton, Vice-President of EAB, a firm that provides virtual tours and experiences for over 700 colleges and universities, will lead that discussion. Chris and Emily will offer practical help in developing technical skills to increase comfort and knowledge in using these media as well as inexpensive tools that are available for churches to use.

In both the Town Hall and the Virtual Church webinar, you will be able to ask questions using the chat box or the Q/A features of Zoom. Both events will be recorded for later use. We hope you will join us, participate in the dialogue, and offer your insights.

John Upton is Executive Director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV).