As restrictions on in-person gatherings are eased, an important ministry question arises: if we can safely gather together by limiting the number of participants and ensuring they all wear masks and keep 6 feet apart, should we? Is a physically-distanced gathering better than an online one?
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the breadth and depth of interaction permitted through Zoom. It shouldn’t have been a surprise; lots of people have been using this technology for a long time. Coaching, for example, is a field that has thrived over the past decade by convening online cohorts, some of which never meet in person. Those cohorts do important work.
And yet . . . Zoom.
You know the depleted feeling by now, the one that settles on you after about an hour staring into your screen and trying to communicate without the nonverbal cues communication needs. Students are sick of it, so why should my ministry with them demand more of it, especially if an in-person option is available?
Zoom is a valuable tool, but it’s starting to feel more valuable when you don’t have to use it.