The New Testament is primarily where I like to get what I believe the Church is meant do. The Church has specific functions and jurisdictions. For example, biblically, the Church is not lawfully permitted to supersede the authority within families. Likewise, it is not permitted to supersede to authority of civil government.
But what is the Church to do? What are it’s purposes? Worship, community, service…? Today’s average church organization in America is loaded with extras as methods of fulfilling it’s basic purposes. Usually, because community—or fellowship—is a responsibility of the Church, churches organize social gatherings and special events to put groups together to bond and mingle among the church family.
Community can be active several ways. Simply attending a Sunday service you can get a whole lot of social interaction. But what about the Internet? Is it a proper place for Christians to meet and mingle? I think so. Why not? The Internet is just a sophisticated form of communication. Communication is a good thing and basically Christian. God wants Christians to communicate—thus strengthening community (relationships).
But what about unlimited boundaries to “churching” on the Internet? Can you have church over the Internet entirely? Well, some might say “of course not.” But why not? If you say, “Well, yeah you can,” then why do you think so?
Hypothetically (just so you know, I don’t usually do hypotheticals), Everything you do face-to-face in a church facility can be conducted over the web. You can give service and everyone can listen live. You can offer group discussion afterwards. You can even take up an offering via PayPal if you want.
Churching on the Internet is mainly flawed in that there’s no physical contact (face-to-face contact) and the benefits that come with it. The movie Wall-E is a get a great example of what I’m referring to. Not in person, thanks to technology, you can perform countless actions to relate with others—and yet for all they can do they don’t satisfy because there’s an element of impersonality. It’s much easier to miss the human connection.
This is quickly becoming a subject the Church should address. I think, as always, it will be difficult to find the most God-honoring solution. Still, It shouldn’t be for the individual. The matter is simple; use the Internet the way it works well. Don’t use the Internet for ways it doesn’t work well. The Internet can be a great thing to the body of Christ. Let’s make the best and right use of it.