Pastor Jeff Vines shares his perspective on what it’s like to preach to an empty auditorium, while reminding us that it’s now more important than ever to continue meeting, even if we have to find new ways of doing it.
For the first time in modern history, many Pastors around the world are finding themselves in the position of having to preach to an empty auditorium. What does it feel like to have no crowd?
“A huge part of the art of communication is reading your audience”, says Jeff. “You often allow them to help you decide what direction to take, and particularly to know if your jokes are going over well!”
While an empty auditorium is not ideal, Jeff points out that in a crisis, more people than ever are turning to the church for answers.
“Suffering and illness is not something any of us ever want to see”, continues Jeff. “But we can use these tragedies to teach people to pray, and to point as many people to God as possible.”
Jeff believes it is often seasons of suffering that wakes people up to what really matters. When we are living a life of affluence and peace, it’s very easy to become spiritually lazy. This is the time for the church to lead, and we all need to work together as best we can to defeat this disease.
“We need to find ways of caring for each other, without spreading this disease”, Jeff says. “When our church meets together online, there are 20,000 people coming together at once. We must be good citizens and save lives.”
But Jeff also believes God inspires the church to be ready for what’s coming. God is always preparing the way for the gospel to go out, regardless of the political or social events that are happening around us.
“God does not promise us protection, even when what we are doing is honest and true. People have always been persecuted for the sake of the Gospel”, Jeff continues. “We should come together whenever and however we can, whether it be in a small group, a life group or in our homes watching. But we must continue to honour the sacrifice that Jesus made for us all.”
But Jeff reminds us, there is no guaranteed protection against suffering for doing the right thing. However, he believes we all have a responsibility to do it anyway.