Digital church use cases -- Meet the Pastor
Online Pastors miss the in-person experience of walking around and greeting people they know, newcomers, and those who look in need of a comforting word.
June 9, 2021
The pastor of an all-digital church asked us the other day: "In a lot of denominations that my congregation is familiar with, the pastor stands at the door to greet the congregants as they leave. And they will wait in the line to say goodbye to the pastor. Can you see a way to "mimic" this traditional church activity through Altar?"
In our recent appearance on the Stadia podcast, Lifepointe Church's Online Pastor Rob Perry and I talked about this very thing.
The basic format I've seen in almost every single Altar Live I've attended is to have a table in the Lobby marked "Meet the Pastor," or something "Coffee with Pastor Deidre." People can hop into the table with you and engage in the kind of face-to-face chatter and laughter they are used to at the door of the church.
Each church will develop some type of norm regarding how long is long enough so others can also drop to see and to be seen.
Then there is the simple inverse -- the pastor 'walks around' the Lobby to visit the various tables where there are couple people (or, sometimes, just a lone person). Again, each church/pastor will have to develop some norms. It is one thing to side up to someone at a physical coffee table, where mutual body language can indicate the degree of openness and willingness to a visit by the pastor; and it is another for the pastor to simply 'pop up' at a table.
It is probably quite 'normal' online for the pastor to drop in at a table where there is just a lone occupant. There's no conversation to interrupt!
Also, in Altar Live, you can see that some people are present, but are not yet seated. In this case, it is also 'normal' to direct message one of these wallflowers and invite them to come join you at a table.
The tricky part is when there are already a handful of people at a table. it's not so straightforward how to all of a sudden appear alongside them. That probably goes for anyone who joins a table, but there's always a different dynamic when it's the pastor.
What do you think? Is there a social cue that works here?
Do your pastors sit together with people in the pews, either online or in-person? Do you prefer to "make the rounds," or form more of a receiving line?