Not So Virtual Worship

Psalm 145:  “Jehovah is near to all that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth.”

As I was writing this post, we had a Covid exposure and shut down our in- person worship for two weeks! I’m disappointed. It is more important than ever to keep our online worship REAL!

Hearts open even with faces covered

We are in a chapter of Porter Texas-Friendship UMC’s history that has as many people worshiping online as are meeting in person. We have been calling this video worship, “Virtual” but what does that really mean.


According to Mr. Webster, the definition of virtual is, “Adjective-almost or nearly as described, but not completely or according to strict definition. Similar, Near, Or near enough,
to all intents and purposes not physically existing as such but made by software to appear to do so.

I will never again refer to our online worship as “Virtual”. When we gather to worship, whether online or in-person, ourworship is not “Almost” or just the appearance of being true worship. When we gather, we gather around the truth of God in Jesus Christ, expecting to meet Him face to face. THIS IS TRUE WORSHIP and not just “near enough.

Some prefer the video, I must admit that I love the people, the buzz of interaction, and the unpredictability of the live and in-person gathering of God’s Called out disciples! But, here we are in a place when online, in-video worship is either our only option or our best option. What can we do to create true worship from a remote location. Here are some suggestions that keep the Good News in our online worship experiences.

  • Pray for God’s presence to be touchable before turning on your device
  • Turn off non-essential stuff and tune in the people around you
  • EXPECT God to touch your heart. Ask him to show up
  • Worship with a Bible open, even if it is on your pajama clad lap
  • Watch all of the worship service and not just your favorite part
  • When its over ask, “What did I feel”, “What did I learn”, and “What am I going to Do!”
  • Prayerfully leave your device and then call someone from church and just talk for a while. We were never meant to worship alone!

God is near to all that truth-fully mean business in worship.  Whether on an Ipad or in a pew, God is engaged and inviting you and I to do the same. 

May your worship be warm, connecting and shareable. Jesus walks with you !

Worship outside when you have the opportunity

Pastor Alan van Hooser

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