How To Find Satisfaction

Like many rural congregations, Galilee Lutheran, Russells Point, has faced its share of challenges with membership and funding. They had few digital resources on hand when COVID-19 brought the added challenge of how to get church to the people when people were unable to get to church.

We feel called as a congregation to minister to baby boomers and older,” stated Don Berlin, Council President and one of those trying to deal with technology required by the pandemic. But they had their pastor’s iPhone and little else, making it hard to connect with anyone, let alone Boomers.

Pastor Karen’s sermons are recorded on her iPhone and then posted on Facebook and YouTube,” explained Don. “A link to the YouTube sermon is then sent out via text to everyone on our church’s Hotline.” Yet, as glad as they were to be able to offer videos of sermons, church leaders like Don wanted to do more. “We’d like to find out how to live stream…” or even offer a “Sunday morning time slot on local radio station.”

So, they signed up for a Mentoring Session with the Southern Ohio Synod’s Outside the Box Team (OTB). During their session, OTB members helped Don, and others responsible for online worship, learn about cost-effective resources and easy ways to create more appealing digital worship experiences.

You didn’t talk technical!” Don exclaimed. “The guidance and recommendations received that evening stimulated our thinking in new ways to expand and improve our worshiping experience to more people.” Don is now excited about new possibilities of digitally connecting with Boomers in their homes, at a nearby nursing facility, and elsewhere.

Reaching Boomers, however, is not the only thing Don finds exciting. “I want to reach kids – open doors – touch their lives. Pastor Karen has good sermons and I think kids will get something from them if we can reach them. My grandkids come to church but sometimes they have Sunday morning soccer games and so they miss. The digital church is a way to still connect with them.”

Reaching youth and Boomers with the gospel is important to Don. The thought of doing so is “satisfying to me,” he concluded.

Outside the Box Mentoring Sessions are an initiative of the Thrive! Campaign, which is supported by generous donations from congregations and individuals of the Southern Ohio Synod. The mentoring provides needed resources to help congregations grow their digital presence because, as Don put it, “We all know that we must learn to think and act outside of the box to survive.”