Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Internet Church

Lifechurch.tv is a church that has 9 campus locations in three states which includes an Internet campus for those who want to attend church on the Internet. If you want to learn about their Internet church go to this link and click on the “Church Online? tell me more” box on the right of the screen. I’ve been told that people can actually respond to a challenge to receive Christ in a virtual way (like raising a digital hand or something) and that they’ve had hundreds of people make commitments to faith in Christ via this Internet service. So what do you think of the idea of a virtual church?

5 comments:

Jim C said...

Its an interesting idea...

I don't know that I'm not fond of the lack of community that it probably promotes, but I guess I'd have to reserve judgment having not actually participated in their services etc and seen first hand how they deal with things.

The other side I guess is that if it manages to reach a person that might otherwise either not want or not be able (no car / remote area / assisted living etc) to participate in a traditional church, then more power to them for allowing a venue for people to be a part of.

All this to say that its an interesting concept and I'm not sure what to think of it :) hahaha

Vitamin Z said...

wack jack - that is what that is. church is about loving God and loving people, not your computer screen (as much as I love it... it ain't no church)

John Carlson said...

their whole model was exposed at the recent Willow A1 conference (along with several other cutting edge ministries) and then their senior pastor gave a message, and then they had a very unique debate/roundtable discussion with prominent leaders. It was really interesting. Very good to watch if you have an hour or so - go to http://209.242.58.17/2006/events/a2/a22006streama.mov His comment back to what you guys have said here would be that right now, it's an experiment - they know it's up for all sorts of ridicule (then again as he pointed out, so was Hybels when they started willow and took all sorts of flack.) His main response was that RIGHT NOW, your 14 year old son or daughter is having community, relationships, and fellowship TEXT MESSAGING on their phone more than anything else, and to them, it's VERY real - so we'd better be aware and open to that. He mentioned that they have a virtual online "lobby" where he hangs out and "chats" in the online lobby room after the live services on site. (he just has a lap top there.) He said more people stick around and for longer and have deeper, more in depth conversations in the online lobby than they do live after the services when people come up to see him. He's had people from all over the world in there, and they regularly have people except Christ. I would be very skeptical too, but when you see how cutting edge and "ahead thinkers" these guys are, you kind of slap yourself upside the head and go . . ."gee . . .wow." It's like, who would have thought the computer mouse would have caught on? And for example, how many of us talk/converse more with people via computer since we've moved away from them, than when we did when we lived close to them and saw them all the time? I have several relationships like that. So I'm not saying I'm a huge proponent of it, as I've never experienced a service like this. But I'd want to experience it first before I cut it to shreds and said that community can't be had that way. Church is not a building, not a program, and not a service. Church is a family, community, all built around Christ to glorify Him and lead others to Him. Therefor, why CAN'T and shouldn't that be centered around a computer screen for SOME people?? (not everyone - SOME!!) Heaven knows there are plenty of great groups of community found online in message boards and chat rooms. And just like churches, some are bad, some are good.

anyway - check out the video and especially the debate afterwards. VERY much well worth watching.

- John

John Carlson said...

In my last post, I meant to say "Expo-zayed" in the beginning not "exposed" - however you write that!

- J

scooterpastor said...

Hey all! Like John, I agree that the video he recommended about this church is worth watching. The way they’ve approached venues is pretty progressive. The reason I posted on this aspect of their “Internet services” is because this is by far the most “far out” thing they’ve done. In some ways it doesn’t surprise me. It was just a matter of time before this thing started happening.

My thoughts are that there would be no way to exercise all the biblical expressions of church via the Internet. Being part of a church includes the fellowship, sharing of possessions, breaking of bread, prayer, singing to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, bearing one another’s burdens, observing baptism, etc…. In some measure many of these things can happen at an Internet church, but many of these things cannot (or cannot fully). I think the way this kind of concept can be positive is as an evangelistic bridge. It is a way to reach a community that is otherwise unreachable. For this kind of “experiment” to be successful, it should be the goal of “internet” church to share the gospel and ultimately bridge people to local churches where they can eventually exercise their gifts in service to one another, experience community worship, etc…