I was quite fascinated today to read Chris Brogan’s take on online campuses like that of LifeChurch.tv. Within Christianity, critics come out of the woodwork to debate the pro’s and con’s of “doing church online.”
Here at Saddleback we have an online campus where people gather to listen and discuss the live service, and we’ve been talking and brainstorming about how to do it with excellence. Quite a few folks have asked what I think about it all, so I wanted to throw out my thoughts in a somewhat random order, but leading to a bold and clear conclusion…
- Online campuses are expensive, when done well.
- It’s hard to connect people in a deep and meaningful way through an online campus… hard, but not impossible.
- For most of you who read this, who are part of a physical flock, “online church” will just never be “church” to you, and that’s okay.
- There is an enormous opportunity, in a wired up world, to connect the disconnected (spiritually), who are connected (electronically) to Jesus Christ.
Therefore… it’s worth the expense. It’s worth overcoming the challenge of how to provide deep and meaningful relationships. And even though it may not feel like “church” to you, online campuses are fulfilling the great commission. There are lost people online who need to be found, and if any realm could use a saturation of the gospel, it’s the social web.
So… stop sitting around debating it. Stop complaining about it. Stop talking about how it “just isn’t church.”
Start praying for people who will never set foot in your brick-and-mortar auditorium to find Christ in some other way, and start praying for those who are essentially modern missionaries to an online world.
Online church campuses are in the infancy of their ministry. There are plenty of questions to answer and problems to solve, but for me, I thank God for a growing online witness.