Over the past year, God has really been impressing on me the opportunities to spread the Gospel online. I started hearing about Online Church, thought it was interesting, but did not put much stock in it. Then an interesting thing happen. I began experiencing the positive impact of an online community.
Over a year ago, while on a mission trip, both a missionary and a friend, who was with me on the trip, mentioned Michael Hyatt to me. I started reading his blog and listening to his podcast. I also read his book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, which is all about building an online community, what Hyatt calls a personal platform, in order to promote a product, service, or cause.
The MichaelHyatt.com platform has begun to impact my life personally, professionally and even spiritually. He is a Christian and talks regularly about his faith. What hit me though, was this question, “Why not do this, but with church?”
This may sound crazy to you, but many people are already doing it. Of course, a lot of these people are connecting with an online church community that is part of a physical megachurch. However, I think there may be potential for the average church to get in on this.
Some of the questions that must be considered are:
- Can you do church online? Does this count?
- Is this a good thing or hurting real discipleship?
- Is this encouraging community or individualism?
- Does this furthur the Great Commission?
- Are people growing in their relationship with Christ?
- Can people connect meaningfully with other Christians in community?
- Is outreach and missions a feasible priority?
I have opinions on some of these but am still processing the whole idea. Later this month I am headed to eConnect, a conference designed to help churches and ministries use online tools to spread the Gospel. I look forward to hearing what God is doing in other places and seeing the future potential of online church and ministry.
What advantages do you see to doing church online? Please share in the comments section.