The Reformed Presbyterian group I worship with has eagerly resumed in-person services as soon as it was possible to do so. But services / sermons remain as recordings either for those with Zoom or who like old-fashioned CDs. This is because some vulnerable people (mainly elderly and those with compromised immune systems to begin with) have not yet returned to the building and may never do so. It seems that a combination of worship service systems will be the new way. This applies to most of the congregations within 'my' denominational group.
For gatherings such as the men's and the women's monthly fellowships, no 'virtual' version did, or will, happen. For years before Covid, a group from various local denominations met monthly in our building for prayer, but it switched to Zoom since lockdown. Now we are hoping to get back into the building for prayer, and those other monthly get-togethers (which include boys and girls).
However, I just received a quarterly journal from a disparate group of Protestant Christians who do not form one particular congregation. They can be all over the country but the journal, and now Zoom events, link them together. They are really keen on virtual events, as these quotes show, first from an article headed "Not giving up meeting together - Heb. 10:25" with the strap-line, "Perhaps we need to rethink how we interact with each other?" There was no single person credited with the article; it just came from "the community". Here's what was said:
"The fact is that, in these Days of COVID, we need to redefine what it
is to meet together. I have to confess that, since I have been forced
to conduct my meetings on ZOOM, I have never been so encouraged than I
am now! We need to adapt to this new reality in our lives, rather than
giving up. One lady has even published the fact that our ZOOM Bible
Studies are better than any face-to-face meetings she has attended!"
The unknown writer then detailed three weekly virtual times, one for a moderated panel discussion where anyone can join in to comment (some 'heavy' topics are tackled.) The second was "our safe place for people to really get to know each other and support each other through chat and prayer. Sometimes there may be guided meditation on the Word, other times we discuss the trivialities of life, such as what we had for breakfast!" The third one is a series of "Gospel snapshots" held in "a friendly, accepting atmosphere, where all are encouraged to take part, rather than being led by 'Bible scholars'."
Another page advertised "A place of Scriptural safety, discussion, interaction and online teaching - without geographical boundaries. A place to go and grow." A web-site link was given.
Yet another page quoted Heb. 10:25, adding Jesus' words, 'For when two or three are gathered in my name there am I...'. Then came this quote:
"Despite being considered inferior to meeting in person, screen
meetings have taken on an unexpected virtue. Within small groups,
close and intimate fellowship is surprising[ly] possible; added to
which there are no geographical boundaries. When our Bible studies met
in each others' houses, we found they had something special, but we
had no idea how connecting online with a wider world would bring an
even greater richness and depth to our studies. If you are seeking
something more than the 'wood veneer' of many church groups and want
to dig deep into the Scriptures, why not get in contact with us?"
I also know that groups such as the Jehovah's Witnesses stopped all meetings in their Kingdom Halls (globally) once lockdowns started, and they have not resumed. They continue to meet via Zoom. And instead of doing their door-to-door work, they write letters to people in their area, usually providing a contact e-mail or phone number to encourage their readers to find out more. Given their end-time theology, it is unlikely that they ever will resume in-person meetings at their Kingdom Halls.
As an over-view of Protestants (though Jehovah's Witnesses do not call themselves 'Protestants'), there seems to me to be three main attitudes to virtual events in light of Hebrews 10. (1) Virtual 'meetings' are better than no personal getting together in worship, but nothing equals actual meeting in person (especially for sung praise, communal prayer, and the sacraments). (2) Virtual 'meetings' are so good, they should not only be continued, but can be better in some respects, so let's increase them. (Some particular views of 'church' and end-time beliefs can promote that idea.) (3) Virtual events should be back-up to gathering in person to worship, helping those who simply cannot attend, or to cut down on much traveling, which turns out not to be as necessary as we thought, so let's use modern technology in a subsiduary way.
I'm not going into any theology about Hebrews 10 with regard to virtual meetings, because all this has been a purely circumstantial event due to the pandemic. But theology will have to be thrashed out sooner or later given how nothing is likely to be the same again, with regard to global health issues. Christians are at a crossroads, really, with choices to make about on-going fellowship and worship. Their leaders need to weigh up what's really going on behind the scenes, spiritually speaking.