Virtual Church   2 comments


St Andrew's Presbyterian Church

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The July/August edition of Presbyterians Today was focused on technology and the church.  One of the articles included interviews with individuals who belonged to and/or attended a viritual Presbyterian church online in Second Life.  I found it quite interesting and it opened to me a huge variety of questions regarding the definition of “church”, our understanding of fellowship, and the possibilities of the future.  So I decided that I would seek the input of you, my readers, and share some thoughts along the way.

The first question that comes to mind and seems to be addressed in the article is a definition of “church.”  While many people will make statements like, “A church is not a building but a people,” it has not necessarily been our norm to function in that way.  There seems to be some agreed upon viewpoint that a church is really not a true church until there is a building that bears the name of the group meeting there.  Many congregations spend a large amount of money maintaining current buildings while others take out large mortgages to build and/or expand a building.

The individuals interviewed in the article mentioned above seem to indicate that they feel they are definitely a church.  While they do not have a physical structure where they gather, there is a virtual structure online that they use to gather.  There are even offices, worship spaces, meeting rooms, and quite an elaborate decor and landscaping.

So my questions to those reading are:  What does it take to be a church?  What is the role of a building for a church?

I look forward to hearing your comments.

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2 responses to “Virtual Church

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  1. My oldest daughter is disabled. She was born with fetal alcohol syndrome. Her behavior is affected by social stress, change in routine, lack of sleep, you name it. Church was second (only to the public school) as one of the hardest environments for our family to negotiate. In some ways it would have been nice to be able to do virtual church. In fact we did a lot of online sermons and Bible studies during her teen years. But, that isn’t church. I

    I don’t see anything wrong with using technology as a tool, “Technology does not create character; it exposes it and builds upon it.” What does it say about the character of a “church” where the relationships are only virtual? How are the needs of the congregation being met? Does the church look anything all like the young church modeled in Acts? have blogged for 5 years. I have a lot of virtual friends willing to pray for me when I am struggling. The local church, those called out for a holy purpose, are the people I had hoped to count on for respite, coffee and hugs. I just don’t think I can expect that from someone who isn’t local.

    And, truthfully, the local church mostly failed our family.

    • Julie,

      Thank you for sharing. It saddens me that your local congregation did not support you and your family adequately. I think those situations are what cause individuals to reconsider the value in the face-to-face congregational settings. It is interesting that you have continued to find value despite your experinces.

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