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Is Watching A Sermon Online or On TV The Same As Going To Church?


When I wrote this post, in 2015, the pandemic had not even been thought about or did we even dream that it would ever happen!  Since March 2020, most churches now have to live stream in order to get the Word out to their congregations.  So, when you read this post, keep in mind that it was written in 2015 and a lot of churches weren’t online at that time.

Speaking from a perspective of being a Church Online, the pandemic has done nothing more that run me out of the Assisted Living facility where I was conducting Worship Services, and put me strictly back online, right where I started in 2009!

This post gets a lot of views, so I thought it was time to update it!  Enjoy!

This question was posed to me recently, by one of my congregation.  Here’s the scenario…you get up on Sunday Morning, and you don’t REALLY feel like getting dressed and driving to church.  Instead, you turn on the TV and watch a church service from one of the Mega Churches and then you go about your day, of lounging around or something else, that was really on your mind all along.

Or maybe you jump online and watch a pre-recorded video of a sermon or you watch a live broadcast, and then go about your day.  Is this really the same thing as going to church?

The short answer is…NO!

We go to church to do many things.  The primary reason is, of course, to give worship and praise to God!  He IS the main reason to go to church!  We also go to fellowship with other Christians.  This is very important!  You CANNOT get ANY fellowship with other Christians through TV or the Internet.  I know you can argue that the broadcasts are live, after all, and that the people on there are live, but, really…think about it, you aren’t fellowshipping with them, now are you?

We go to church to be fed!  Oh yes, there is the occasional pitch-in dinner, but we get fed spiritually from the Word of God.  We need that.  How many times have you been at church and thought, “The Pastor is talking right at me!”?  When you watch a sermon on TV or online, you aren’t, in most cases, really listening to the message…your mind will wander, or you will get up and get something to eat, or fold clothes, or any number of other little chores that, “just need to be done!”.  You will watch a sermon on TV or online, much the way you watch a TV program or YouTube video…mostly without thinking about it and doing other things.

This doesn’t mean that you CAN’T watch a sermon on TV or the Internet and not get anything out of it.  Maybe, you are home sick or house bound for one reason or another.  Maybe you simply, cannot get out!  Snowed in! (Ooh, I don’t like that scenario!)

There are times when TV or the Internet is you only means of “going to church”, just not the ONLY way to go to church!

So, next time you think that you don’t feel like going to church and just sit around the house in your pj’s, remember the REAL reason you NEED to go to church!

Be a Blessing and Be Blessed!
Rev. Dr. Rob White, Senior Pastor

Associate AI Pastor
Spiritual Support