With six-year-old Daniel
belting out a solo, and 10- and 12-year-old sisters, Lydia and Samantha working
the technology, a church in Dobson aired its service online during inclement
weather Jan. 31.
“We had a great day,” said
Andy Atkins, pastor of Fairview Baptist Church. “It blew us away.”
Expecting 10 to 15 people to
log in to view the service, the church instead had 65.
“We were amazed,” Atkins
Figuring most log-ins had at
least two people watching, Atkins estimates 130-140 people were able to view
services that Sunday.
“And it was free,” said
Atkins. “That was the best thing.”
Atkins not only preached but
he played the piano as he led his family — wife, Tracy, and three children —
along with a neighbor from across the street, in worship.
Atkins said the church had
never tried livestream.com before but said it was easy to use.
Despite a winter of bad
weather, Jan. 31 was the first service Fairview cancelled. One Sunday they
limited services to one, but with 30-plus inches of snow, “believe it or not,”
they had not had to cancel before that day.
The family rehearsed the day
before to check equipment and options on livestream.com. Atkins said his mom
and dad as well as some college students helped by watching and giving feedback
about what was working and what wasn’t.
“It turned out to be
something big,” he said.
Lydia has been running
Mediashout at the church to display lyrics during worship services. She used
those skills to display lyrics during the livestream.com feed. Samantha served
as chat-room administrator.
Atkins said the church uses
call-em-all.com to notify church members of announcements, including letting
members know where to log on to view the service Jan. 31. He knows not everyone
has the ability to log on but Atkins indicated that it was nice to gather as much
of his church family as he could even on a snowy, stay-off-the-roads day.