Digital Pseudo Church

Reading through my regular collection of RSS feeds I came across this article today regarding the use of a Church website.

I resonate with the concerns of Pastor Steve Clark as he worries that people surfing to church can give them a false sense of community. Watching and worshiping online is not the same as worshiping in person. It is definitly not the same as interacting with people at a congregation. Who at the church can hold you accountable if you know no one there? Who can come along side you and lift you up if you have never attended so never encountered a real person from the congregation.

It is funny that I read this on the heals of ‘Souper Sunday’ at my church. We just spent the last hour sitting with people from the Church eating and laughing and finding out more about them. If I had tuned into the web broadcast of the church, not that we actually have one, and then turned off to go eat with myself, I would have missed this intimate time of community with others. I would not feel more included in the community. I would still feel outside it, less connected with the concerns of the Church body.

I am not opposed to using a church website as a tool to bring more people into the church. I am not uncomfortable with the idea of streaming your service, if it serves to bring more people into attendance. Really I am not concerned with more people at church. I am concerned about the person who watches a service to get their weekly dose of God without spending time in intimate fellowship with other believers in a place of worship. We are called into community. We are called to care for the believers hurting in our midst. If we never meet them how can we do that?

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~ by curtismchale on October 28, 2007.

7 Responses to “Digital Pseudo Church”

  1. you are assuming though that people attemding the church are going to interact.. .which is a lot less likily for some people beyond the forced “shake hand, repeat name” time…. and that they are going to be open enough to connect through the interacting, sometimes a stretch, paticularly if the person is struggling.

    a well done web forum section may actually help bridge things together by connecting people in a less intimidating way, and the cyber-removal actually aid people in being able to be more open and turn to each other for support… both for those who attend in person and those who remain apart.

  2. Yes I am assuming that people will interact at church. I also know, from moderating and hosting, that is takes almost 1000 people to be involved in a forum to make it anything more than almost dead. I am on forums that have over 2000 members ant there will be weeks that go by without anyone answering posts or putting up new ones. Is this the type of interaction a struggling person will be looking for?

  3. The anointing of Christ was directed at those in need and oppressed, and there are more of those in the highways and byways than there are inside a church building, Which is not intended to criticise those inside the church building but to suggest that on line church groups may become active in different ways which would not show up in church attendance, while still being involvement within a community.

  4. regarding the dead forum, honestly, is that what anyone at all is looking for on any site?

    and many forums do better with closer to 100 people… when there is a reason to keep them involved. as most churches would have for their regular members, in turn helping it to become a place that would have reason for new people.

  5. Church by TV or by streaming video is useful for somebody who cannot attend because of illness or travel. It shouldn’t be the normal way of being a part of a church, in my opinion. The person who is shut-in for a long time would certainly enjoy a streaming video of the services, but lets hope that people in the church also visit him or her in person.

  6. That is what I think as well renaissanceguy.

  7. I think that most believers would be happy to find any sort of fellowship at church, to then suggest that they are missing out on ‘intimate’ fellowship by not attending is largely an overstatement, In my own situation I’ve attempted to find this with other believers within a church context, and would have to say that it is largely an ideal. Going to church and staring at the back of some ones head for two hours, and then exchanging views about the weather and the welfare of family hardly constitutes real fellowship. Most people head for the exit when the bell rings. When facing real life issues and difficulties the stuff at church misses the mark. It would seem to me that honesty needs to be caught rather than taught, and hear lies the problem. Maybe you could define your ‘own’ definition of ‘intimate’ fellowship; because most people that I’ve spoken to claim that it is incredibly illusive, and rather romanticized.

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