I’m pretty sure the First Church of Antioch, or Jerusalem Community Church didn’t have church wide WiFi or even Facebook Fan Pages. Yet most churches today are equipped with technology to the hilt—from flat screens in the foyer to Facebook feeds online, the web has become a core component of many church’s existence. Have we gone too far? Are our churches too Internet-dependent? Or are we utilizing the web to form church community?
Rather than view the web as a routine addition to doing ministry, we ought to consider why we’re using it. Here is a matrix that will help you analyze your ministry’s web usage.
The Web is a Tool.
It is a means to an end. What is the goal for which we should use the web? Obviously, bringing glory to God is the overarching goal of the church. More specifically, we ought to use the Internet to advance the distinctives of the church—evangelism, fellowship, interaction, support, prayer, etc. The web has the capability to promote a church’s efforts, if used in the right way.
The Web is a Servant.
Maintaining web accounts and setting up new Internet memberships can be burdensome for a church. Minister of Media has become a new full-time position for some churches. As you function in a web-saturated culture, that the Internet is the servant of the church. According to Acts 2:42, the church’s occupation consisted of 1) teaching, 2) fellowship, 3) breaking of bread, and 4) prayer. The Web ought to function as a servant to each one of those activities. The web is not your church’s master—requiring constant attention, maintenance, or slavish labor.
The Web is an Asset.
Finally, consider the web as an asset to be used, not a distraction or a drain of resources. The web has remarkable potential for advancing church community, as long as you treat it as a valuable asset.
The Internet can function remarkably as a tool, as a servant, and as an asset. Think about it. Your web ministry can function around the clock and around the world. It can serve to enhance a church’s ministry on just about every level. Fellowship can deepen as a result of proactive and intentional Internet activity. How, practically, can you use the web? Here are some ways to consider:
• Facebook page
• YouTube videos
• Online Bible reading schedule
• Church calendar
What are some other ways that churches can use the web to form community?