Within our culture, little effort goes towards time to think. Look at the graphic below and how it speaks to the online explosion of information. This graphic will look obsolete in a few short years.
On the eve of General Church Clergy Meetings the above is germane. The General Church is the parent body under which NewChurch LIVE was established and generously funded as way to live into the world the graphic speaks to.
The good news of the above is that Churches, Synagogues, and Mosques with an online presence can now reach many times the people they preiovusly. With our services, over the past 2 weeks I have heard from folks watching in California, Florida, Canada, as well as locally. Some of the contacts have been rather dramatic. When people are in trouble, serious trouble, many search the web. As the graphic notes, “Data Never Sleeps.” A good thing in the case of those searching.
And there is a shadow side. I remember pulling out of a parking lot, listening to Rob Bell, the best-selling author of “Love Wins” speaking. In 2 sentences, he put it out there. His church at that time, Mars Hills, was committed to never doing videos of services. Why? Because the last thing he wanted on his conscience was the knowledge that he had put a small church congregation “out of business” as congregants chose to tune in vs. join in. His point was stark, we need to fulfill Christ’s message in how live, in community, and in relationship, not in video.
I don’t know how the future will unfold. Does a church embrace technology as a way to share its message? Or does it eschew technology as a way to build alternative community? These are very hard questions, ones clergy and laity will wrestle with as we seek to do God’s work. The future I would imagine will be some all-or-nothing approaches spanning the continuum of purely web based models to resurgent home churches. For the time being, NewChurch LIVE will be an amalgam of both. And if I was humbly to offer what a “True North” of sorts might be, it would be this. Christ I believe would be far more concerned with community than with clicks. How do we build that?