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Asbury Online Campus

By: David Stucke, Dakotas Conference communications

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“It's important to recognize that we are in a different time. Our mission and values have not changed, but there are different access and entry points for people when it comes to church and worship,” said Rev. Matt Morrison of Asbury UMC in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Asbury United Methodist Church has an online campus that started during the pandemic, but has emerged into a ministry connecting with people who are members of Asbury UMC and others who are new to the church.

Creating an online church community takes intention and focus. The Asbury online campus uses a Facebook group and includes worship, online chats, and posts that encourage engagement throughout the week.

Each week, Morrison and the digital ministry team at Asbury UMC spend time planning and recording two different types of online worship services– a traditional service and a nontraditional service. The traditional service includes music and liturgy that you would find in the United Methodist Hymnal. The nontraditional service includes music composed by artists in the past five to seven years and a liturgy that has a casual tone.

The 30-35 minute recorded traditional service happens on Facebook on Sunday mornings at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Volunteers or staff are available online to greet, pray, and respond to comments. The nontraditional service is live on Facebook at 10:45 a.m. each Sunday. All of the worship services can be viewed throughout the week on Facebook.

The online worship services are not the same as the in-person worship experiences at Asbury UMC. Online worship leaders are in front of a camera and looking into the camera. The online worship experience is shorter and includes less responsive liturgy and music. A typical online worship experience consists of a countdown, welcome, song, children’s message, announcements, and benediction.

The digital campus is creating and stirring up possibilities for new ministry. “You don’t have to think about geography anymore,” said Morrison. Asbury is seeing new ways to serve people who are snowbirds or are homebound and invite people to Christ, especially those who have never heard the good news.

UMC

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