Meditations (Web)Church

A year (and a bit) in the life of NewSpring's first Web pastor

Don’t lose sight of basics in the tyranny of the new

with 4 comments

I have a confession.

It’s been just four weeks since I took on this role as Internet Campus Pastor, and God’s already teaching me some hard lessons about how I view success and what I’m trusting in to achieve it.

God showed me my fallen desire to “prove myself” in this new, breathtaking world of church possibility when I should be letting him focus my heart on reaching and deeply touching people who desperately need to know more of Jesus.

On three different occasions in one week, God showed me that I shouldn’t be relying on innovation to have an impact in my ministry.

  • The first came last Sunday during LifeChurch.tv’s beta test of its new icampus. We noticed that all the main components of the site we were building were practically identical, right down to the open, public chat and the map showing global attenders.
  • Then came word on Tuesday that Mars Hill Church’s On The City community building application had been bought by Zondervan. That reminded me that in spring 2007, after at least two years of envisioning what I call the “networked church,” I submitted a plan for such an application to E.W. Scripps Co.’s enterprenuer fund. They loved the concept. They just couldn’t see a way to make money at it from churches.
  • And then today, LifeChurch.tv debuted its new icampus, with a post-service live show webcast using Mogulus. Yup, you guessed it: We planned a live show to start just a few weeks after our Internet campus launch. I referred to in this post as a “distinctive.”

I should have been happy that two leaders in the Internet or Internet campus church movement had affirmed our strategic direction and gut instincts. Instead, I was worried that we’d look like copycats.

That’s when it helps to have a friend and colleague like our Creative Director Joshua Blankenship. “Who cares?” he said. Thanks Joshua.

Living in the online world carries a certain slavery to it. Be new. Be original. Be innovative. Be successful. Be discussed.

But those can be huge, distracting temptations if you’re not holding every tool, every platform, every community building strategy captive to Christ and the work he wants to do through them in people.

What’s new quickly becomes old.

There’s nothing new under the sun.

When it comes to online church, what counts is the quality of our attenders’ devotion to Christ and the depth and durability of their relationships to each other.

Tools are just tools. It’s how you use them that makes the difference. An eternal difference.

For internet campuses, offering an excellent, authentic experience of the love of God and the love of his people is infinitely better than making your site shiny and slick and original.

I need to remember that.

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Written by NickCharalambous

November 23, 2008 at 7:50 pm

4 Responses

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  1. preach it 😉

    Mark

    November 23, 2008 at 8:30 pm

  2. Nick – Thanks for your thoughts. I think that your reminder carries a lot of weight, not only in internet campus, but also in ministry at large. I particularly appreciated your reminder that loving God and loving people is at the heart of ministry – on the web or elsewhere.

    Andrew Conard

    November 23, 2008 at 9:23 pm

  3. Thanks guys. Cheesy as this may sound, the only way to defend against these kinds of deceptions is surrounding yourself with wise counsel, such as you. Do I hear an amen?

    ipiphanist

    November 24, 2008 at 9:28 am

  4. […] A reminder which I needed to hear at Don’t lose sight of basics in the tyranny of the new […]


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