How to Prepare for an Online Church Service: A Guide for Attendees

Online church services are more common than ever.

At the beginning of March in 2020, almost 100% of churches hosted in-person gatherings. But by the end of March, that number had fallen to 7%. Most churches went online, honouring social distancing guidelines and keeping their congregations safe and connected.

As an attendee, nothing can replace the feeling of an in-person worship service—but in the meantime, having Sunday church service online is a close second. It’s live, it’s inspirational, and it’s easy. In other words, it’s as close to the real thing as you can get.

Are you wondering how to prepare for your first online service? We make it simple in this guide. Keep reading!

Test Your Internet Connection

When’s the worst time to make sure you’re good-to-go online?

Five minutes before service starts.

Rather, you’ll want to prepare ahead of time. Make sure you can find the website by typing it into your browser (for example,, log-in if you need to, and see if you can find the streaming site.

You’ll want to navigate the entirety of your church’s streaming platform early to troubleshoot any errors. 

Eliminate Distractions and Give Yourself Permission

When one goes to in-person church, they designate themselves an hour (and sometimes more) to worship. There are no distractions—laundry, cleaning, school, or work—but instead, unbridled focus.

You may have even spent time getting ready for the service, doing your hair or make-up, and wearing your Sunday best.

Try to treat online service in the same way.

Don’t participate halfway, i.e., leaving your seat to answer the phone or check the pot roast. See if you can clear your schedule and calendar for this time, permitting yourself to attend fully. Let your roommates or other household members know that you’re attending—maybe they’ll attend, too!—and if not, request a quiet house.

Participate in Your Own Way

This point piggybacks off of the last one. Just as you’re participating with your time, you can be engaged by interacting with the service if you choose to.

Some services allow for participation through video conferencing. Other churches have after-service conversations where members of the congregation can connect with each other and the clergy. If that’s not something they offer (or you want to do), you can still contribute in other ways, such as:

  • Standing and sitting as suggested
  • Singing along with the hymns
  • Taking notes for questions or later reflection 
  • Telling others about the service you think may enjoy it

When it comes to online church, you’ll get out what you put in. So, rejoice in the moment!

Enjoy Your First Online Church Service

Worship is something best experienced in-person. But as you await that time, online church services can be a great beacon of light in your week. They’re communal, encouraging, invigorating, educational, and fun—just like you remember. 

The only difference? They’re online! Other than that, feel free to participate as usual—singing along, dressing up, and designating yourself the appropriate amount of time to “attend.”

For more great lifestyle tips and reading material like this, keep scrolling our page.