Meditations (Web)Church

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

How to be the church on the web

with 2 comments

I’m enjoying the recent spike in Christian blog chatter about the web and the church, which is being touched off by the impending Christian Web Conference, which I am hoping to attend.

I thought Tall Skinny Kiwi Andrew Jones had a really thoughtful piece challenging our biases.

“Why ask if an online community is really a church when we can ask “how can we as the church use the tools of the internet to fulfill the church’s mission”?

Did that global-based web-community experience “real” fellowship or should they all fly to the same city to do it right? Did the pastor’s phone call count as “real” counseling or do we demand a return to the neglected practise of pastoral home visitation? Did those Christian soldiers in WWII experience “real” church as they sat around the radio broadcasts, or just a shadow of the real? Did those paypal money transfers to missionaries constitute “real” giving and therefore “real” worship?

He goes on to wonder whether all church is virtual, since the New Jerusalem has not yet been fully “actualized,” and he connects this thought to the letter to the Hebrews.

When I read through the letter to the Hebrews, I am reminded that we, the church of God, are essentially the invisible, virtual, spiritual, mystical body of Christ operating in the world in ways that are tangible and lasting and transforming, although not always visible. There is no defining boundary that divides the on-line church that meets in cyberspace with the off-line church that meets in buildings. We are a spiritual, invisible, community that represents the firstfruts of an unshakeable Kingdom that will last forever. We are a virtual church that finds tangible ways to live out our calling in the world, whether the forms we chose are touchable or not. Reality is not found in bricks and mortar. Reality is found in the ways in which our worship and service correspond to the God’s invisible Kingdom reality and purposes.

I think his concluding point is where I have landed in this debate until the Lord directs me otherwise:

The virtual online church happens every day as believers in Christ aggregate on the web around missional tasks, fulfil their obligation to each other to share all things and exhort each other daily, as they publish glad tidings daily in electronic forms that will outlast paper books, as they meet globally in ways that could never be achieved in the physical realm.

Go ahead and read the whole thing.

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Written by NickCharalambous

July 28, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Posted in ruminations

2 Responses

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  1. I really like this statement:
    “Reality is found in the ways in which our worship and service correspond to the God’s invisible Kingdom reality and purposes.”

    P.S. I’ve been missing a lot of the NewSpring services online lately because I’ve been traveling a lot all over the U.S. But I go back to Madrid August 20, and once I get settled in, I’ll be attending each week.

    Anthony

    July 28, 2009 at 3:21 pm

  2. glad you liked the piece. thanks for mentioning it. see you if you make it to the conference.


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