Sunday, September 27, 2009
There is much talk about multisite ministry where video feed from one teacher/preacher is sent to other sites where groups meet. I think the idea is helpful at points as one can then access outstanding preaching in multiple locations. It has some issues too, but that is not what this post is about.
The multisite model has also now spawned the internet church. Here you can meet in forums (cell groups) and listen to live audio or video of the preaching. Whilst this does allow many more people to access the teaching in an informal and even anonymous environment, it has some major problems that many others are pointing to.
We at our congregation have been focusing on fellowship and community. Our love for God HAS to find meaning in our love for others. And this is, in my mind, where the internet church primarily falls short. Whilst one can open up on a forum and seek counsel via email, we've missed something in the personal interaction face to face. To confess sin online to a bunch of fairly anonymous folk is one thing, to bare ones soul to a brother or sister is a lot more real and life changing.
The second issue that I believe is a downfall of the internet church is that it is a consuming model in line with our consumer culture. There is little or no real opportunity to give back, and there is little opportunity to really identify with the community. It is very self serving in many ways and also it's tough to serve with ones spiritual gifts from behind the keyboard. How do I show hospitality, tongues/interpretation whilst we are separated?
I think internet church is helpful to a point...but because it lacks the personal connection and the opportunity to serve it is and never will be church.