The Online Church
The church has a long history of adapting to cultural and technological contexts. As the first Christian communities sprang up in the first century, the apostle Paul helped form them by using letters as a technology of sorts to communicate with Christians across regions, social class, and time. His use of media to shape early churches can help us understand the potential of online connection to cultivate an authentic, digital Christian community.
- We, the body of Christ, cannot content ourselves to sit back and watch as these new media become the message without us; the world needs God’s story of hope and humanity to be woven into the fabric of its life, everywhere that life is found.
- Part of the challenges to doing church online is in actively managing conflict, protecting privacy, encouraging participation in local communities, and gather together in-person as a church body for sacraments and celebrations.
- Church culture is dramatically different than what we see happening on social media, and members entering an online church for the first time will bring their assumptions about social media into this new context. How might we bring people into this posture of cruciformity and reconciliation, when that posture is so foreign to today’s online experiences?
- How can we translate Paul's concept of the church into an online context? How can we match his understanding of community, mission, and service with the technological tools and resources we have available to us today?
- Let us consider how Paul structured worship and leadership in the Corinthian church, as well as how he handled conflict within the church body to maintain growth and faithfulness.
- Paul's leadership and communication with the church in Corinth in the first century provides a basic framework that we can use to explore the application of an online church today.
- If you ask almost any social media user today, they will tell you that the incredible potential of social media is often not fully realized—sometimes as a result of the nature of the medium itself, and sometimes as a result of the way we use it. In this post, we will examine some of the difficult realities of social media in our society today.
- The emerging technologies of online connection are powerful tools. But to what extent does social media provide incredible opportunities, and to what extent does it hurt our real life communities?
- Since the beginning of the 2020 pandemic, many churches have begun streaming their worship services online. But what would it look like for us to actually engage our communities in online community? Is this even something we should be talking about?