Meditations (Web)Church

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

Web church prepares a way in the wilderness

with 9 comments

As a techno-evangelist, I pray I’ll never embrace technology uncritically.

Technology should always be a tool first. A way of life only when necessary. Never an idol. And as much as possible a way to connect, not disconnect, us from the relationships that should be primary in our lives.

That’s why I’ve appreciated John Dyer’s new blog. His most recent post about technology and “presence” was particularly fascinating for me since I had waded into these deep waters just a few weeks before.

John does a great job of laying a stronger theological foundation, and I think we’re largely in agreement that the use of writing in the early church as way to bridge distance and unify the early church means we can’t “argue against online church without also calling into question many other uses of technology in the Church.”

I’m with John entirely on the idea that fullness of physical presence should always be a goal whenever possible, although I do think video, and eventually holograms, will radically mess up what that means.

I’ve got just two quibbles:

No. 1: I see pastoral care over a community of believers who see themselves in community with each other is a major and weighty part of my role. For me, video on demand should not be confused with a web campus. I want to explore bodly ways in which we can use video to pour into people’s lives in discipleship, but without creating connecting tissue between believers online, we don’t have a body and we don’t represent Christ.

What that doesn’t mean is that I think physical churches do community better. They suck at it for the most part, as I mentioned here in response to John Saddington’s excellent post.

No. 2: We’ve got to get real about assumption that our web church experiment is a simple choice between “easy church” and “hard church.” I’m certain that John’s list of “people living overseas, hospital patients, and parents of new babies” might be a huge part of our demographic. But when Christianity is literally dying out in Post-Christian Europe, it seems to me, as a British native, that it’s a choice between “church and no church.”

The web church with its accessibility, lower level of apparent commitment, and enmeshing in a network that destroys social barriers provides a critical on-ramp onto the narrow highway that leads to life. (Matthew 7:14.)

My goal as a web campus pastor (and thought-leader) is to make our church’s methods of worshiping God and forming community far more flexible, only so that we can remove every unnecessary obstacle toward the lost seeing Christ face-to-face and joining themselves to his body.

In my view it is honoring God’s command to prepare a way in the wilderness. (Isaiah 40:3)

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Written by NickCharalambous

January 21, 2009 at 11:43 am

9 Responses

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  1. dang. this is hot. love it.

    John (Human3rror)

    January 21, 2009 at 12:31 pm

  2. btw… ever think of moving to a self-hosted environment? you’ll probably want that flexibility so you can add more social elements, plugins, etc…

    John (Human3rror)

    January 21, 2009 at 12:31 pm

  3. I was thinking that myself 🙂

    ipiphanist

    January 21, 2009 at 1:00 pm

  4. Since web church is the wilderness that we’re walking through, there is no known good-better-best way to get people to show up. What has been NewSpring’s strategy for inviting people to the web campus in a couple weeks?

    Chris Hill

    January 22, 2009 at 7:22 am

    • Good question, Chris. So far, we’ve just been relying on the organic buzz that we can generate through NewSpring’s social network presence through staff like me, Tony Morgan, and the volunteers we are depending on at launch. That’s mostly intentional since we want to iron out any issues in the way we manage the services before drive people to the web campus with full force.

      I haven’t discussed this without communications director exhaustively, but I would assume that we will communicate with our physical attenders to point friends and family to the web campus if they don’t live near physical campuses. We’ll explore some keyword advertising, too, very possibly. Do you have any ideas?

      ipiphanist

      January 22, 2009 at 10:43 am

  5. Very cool to hear you wanting to reach out to your own family through God starting this new web campus! Subscribed and excited to hear more through the blog, Nick. Thanks!

    Gabe Taviano

    January 22, 2009 at 2:42 pm

  6. Social media networks are definitely the best means. If we want to reach people through the web, we’ll have to find them there. Personally, I’m more likely to visit a website if provided a link through email, facebook, twitter, etc..more so than if I’m given a web address through traditional means of advertising.

    I guess social media is the new “word of mouth” advertising.

    Maybe we can discuss this topic more at Unleash.

    I’m excited for this ministry and the unknown possibilities that web church has to offer.

    Chris Hill

    January 23, 2009 at 10:52 am

  7. […] why i think all churches eventually will be Web Campuses. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)The web church is the new reformationLatest […]

  8. […] environment. But I believe some of what I wrote may have been written with prophetic force that may remain useful to church leaders and pastors who are only now engaging in this […]


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