Blog: Max Dawson
December 16, 2015
I suppose it was bound to happen. Someone outside of our congregation criticized the work that we are doing as we stream our services live over the internet.

It was related to me that they said something to this effect: “The Dowlen Road Church gives their members the option to stay home and watch the services online rather than being present. They give their members a choice.”

We have streamed our services for the past four years. But we have never presented the online viewing as a choice or alternative to being present for worship. Let me tell you why we stream our services.

1. As an evangelistic tool.

We have a substantial number of people who view our services with regularity. How many of those viewers are not Christians? We have no way of knowing. But we do know that some unsaved people do watch our live stream.

Last year, a local woman who had been in a serious auto accident and was laid up for months became a regular viewer. She learned the truth from a hospital bed. When she was well enough, the first thing she did was to come to services. She responded to the gospel invitation by being baptized into Christ. She has been present in the assembly at every service since.

That is only one example. There are others who have also learned the truth via live preaching of the gospel through our website.

2. To encourage Christians who cannot come to our assemblies.

Some Christians have no choice. They may be trapped in a hospital bed, or in a nursing home. God is sufficient to meet the needs of those in such a situation. One of the ways He blesses those saints is through our live stream.

In those special cases, it is possible to live a Christian life apart from being present in the local assembly, but it’s certainly not the norm. This church provides a live feed
for them! It does not provide a service for those who want to lay around in bed on Sunday morning, or for those who want to catch a little gospel at the halftime of the football game on Sunday afternoon.

The live stream also benefits some who have to work and cannot be present at worship. I have talked to a few who are able to view the services on their iPad at their job–whether on their lunch break, or at some other downtime at work.

Consider the mother or father who is forced to stay home with a sick child. Or think of the Christian who is working or travelling in a foreign country. In these cases the live stream provides benefit for them, though they may be very far away.

Additionally, when we have a gospel meeting (as we did last week) people from all over the country and around the world can view the lessons live. We received word last week from individuals in other states who viewed our meeting lessons.

There is also a benefit to those Christians who belong to churches that have only a Sunday morning service. They are able to view our 5:00 PM evening service.

The charge that we provide a live stream in order to give our members the choice of staying home instead of assembling with the saints is a false charge. Shame.


Will some people abuse our live streaming and use it as a substitute for assembling?Maybe. But that does not mean we should stop providing the live stream.

Let me tell you why all Christians should put out their best effort to assemble.

1. GOD’S PLAN. It is God’s plan that we assemble (Hebrews 10:25)(Acts 20:7). The early disciples “came together.” Assembling was a key element in serving God.

2. GOD’S PURPOSES. Our God has purposes for our assembling together.
– The assembly is a gathering where we worship Him as our God (Acts 20:7; 2:42).
– The assembly is a place where our gifts should function (Romans 12:4-8).
– The assembly is designed for our edification (Ephesians 4:11-16).
– The assembly is related to our accountability to each other (Hebrews 13:17).

While the live stream can provide a number of benefits for people in various circumstances, it can never substitute for being in the assembly of the saints.

Blessings to all,