Journeyman Project Dispatches from the Life of Patrick Fowler: Christianity Explored

11Mar/090

Does Online Church Work?

A decade ago, the internet was viewed as a nusance...now it is the information and entertainment center of the developed world.

A few years ago, and unknown pastor and his church in a little-known suburb of Oklahoma decided to pioneer the use of this medium to create a relevant online worship experience, where people could hear the gospel, and visit church without having to leave their homes. Here's the result...

Thank you, LifeChurch, for ignoring the critics and paving another channel for the effective proclamation of the gospel!

www.lifechurch.tv

11Jan/090

Church Tech Camp Take #2

Loved, I repeat, LOVED the unconference last week. I can think of nothing better than the time I spent there, hearing the discussion between 50+ people over their use of technology for the gospel. What was gained from the time? Here are a few thoughts and links.

First and foremost, I added a host of twitter contacts, so that I can keep track of relevant blog posts and updates in the lives of those who are like-minded in their use of technology.

Secondly, I surfed through and began using a number of new internet applications, integrating Twitter with by blog, utilizing the Twitter search features to expand my network, and finding ample connection to ministry-minded individuals via ROOV.com.

Finally, I had a number of key concepts strike me during our discussions over the use of the internet. Here are the footnotes:

  • People share their lives/thoughts/experiences like never before--but they are doing it in the online arena. Where else can you learn about people's favorite books, see pictures of their adventures, and hear their laments over the toils of life. Sure, they don't share marriage issues, or personal vices, but following the details of their lives for years can open the door to knowing them well enough to engage them in those more intimate conversations.
  • People can connect with others nationally and internationally in ways that are not physically possible, especially in closed countries, and in forming these connections, can facilitate things like Community groups, one-on-one discipleship, Theological Education, and sustaining missions partnerships.
  • People in today's society are intensely mobile (travel a LOT). How do we encourage a depth of discipleship in a world that by default leans toward surface meetings? It seems to necessitate the use of technology.
  • We need to look at the portal of the internet through the lens of people's spiritual gifts and passions. The gift of evangelism can find special expression via the internet...and we need to help guide people with that gift to the right tools.
  • How do we define church? We need to come to a conclusion on this issue, then use the definition of church to help us frame what we are doing online.

8Jan/090

Online Church Tech Camp

I am currently having my mind and concept of the internet enlarged by a conversation regarding online church...

This conference is very open to discussion and has an online video broadcast. if you are out there, join us.

Here are a few thoughts so far:
How does our perception of the internet today compare to the church's perception of rock music one generation ago? Didn't God allow us to create the internet for his purposes?

What advantages does it present?
Here's one: Discipleship and Community Building in places that are closed to church gatherings and seminaries.