Posts by Tag

see all
Search post

Be Open to the Online Expression of Church

0

pexels-tima-miroshnichenko-5710516

In Revelation 7:9-10 the Apostle John details a vision of the collective future of the Church:

9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

I start with this passage because it’s worth noting what the goal of people who follow Jesus is and why we do what we do. Put simply, we want more friends around Jesus’ throne with us. It’s also worth noting that the cultural distinctions (nations, tribes, peoples, languages) don’t go away in heaven, rather cultural diversity is celebrated in Heaven.

God did make us all different after all.

So the best earthly expression of Heaven come down to earth…the Church, is when cultural diversity is embraced in all it’s cultural forms around the worship and proclamation of Jesus. Even if the culture is different than ours. Even if it’s an online culture, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

Making an ‘on earth as it is in heaven’ endeavor is deceptively difficult to accomplish but I’m glad that the early Church tackled this culturally driven ecclesiastical dissonance head on for the sake of the Gospel like we find in Acts 15:19-21:

19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

In other words, “don’t make it hard for the Gentile expression of the Church, they can always come to a local synagogue any Saturday they want Jewish church”. Note the openness of the Messianic Jews toward an expression of following Jesus that was vastly different (and simpler) than the tradition they knew. Had they been closed minded, they would have cut off the future growth of the Church.

So let’s put this to the test in the modern ecclesiastical dissonance of the post-pandemic culturally driven debate in light of the early Church in Acts 15:

“dont make it hard for the digital expression of Church, they can always come to a local congregation any Sunday they want physical church”.

It’s also worth noting which expression over time gained prominence throughout church history, the traditional bound expression or the culturally contextualized expression.

Let’s not be closed minded in our traditions and cut off the future growth of the Church. Let’s not repeat the same mistakes of the Judaizers forcing a religious tradition that’s not contextualized to the culture Jesus has called us to reach. We need to be careful not to pull up the wheat with the tares.

Don’t forget it’s Jesus’ Church and He can build it however He wants. I think Romans 14:10-13 puts it best.

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before Gods judgment seat. 11 It is written: “‘As surely as I live,says the Lord, every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

Conclusion 

The last thing we need to be doing is putting the stumbling block of physical church attendance in the way of our brothers and sisters online wherever they are, whatever digital sub-culture the belong to, and whatever digital platform was used to bring them to Jesus. It will all get sorted in heaven, where digital sub-cultures will mix with all other nations, tribes, peoples and languages as we worship around the throne of Jesus. Heaven is the goal, that’s our mission. Not our liturgies, not our methods, not even our ecclesiology. Therefore, we should be more intent on filling heaven than filling auditoriums.

What do you think? Share your ideas below or on social media.

Through the Digital Church Network we are helping physical and digital churches better understand the discipleship process, and helping churches and church planters understand this and other decentralized mindset shifts. Joining the DCN is free and be encouraged! 

 

Blog Posts Your Church Can Make During Winter
Shared Experiences: The Key to Understanding Digital and Metaverse Discipleship

About Author

Jason Morris
Jason Morris

Jason Morris serves Westside as our Global Innovation Pastor, overseeing the church online, global church planting, and bringing new ideas and creativity to expand God's Kingdom for Westside. Jason is experienced as a missionary to Paraguay, South America for almost 9 years where he helped churches grow healthy with new ideas. He received his B.A. in Missions and M.A. in Biblical Exposition from Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola, Florida. He and his wife Maria have been married since 1993 and have 2 amazing kids: Isaac and Brianna. Jason loves new tech gadgets, sci-fi, yerba mate, and speaking spanish. Jason's passion is to help the church of Jesus reach the globe and loves using new ideas and technology to help make that happen.

Related Posts
3 Reasons Why Online Groups are Great for Your Church
3 Ways to Overcome the Summer Attendance Slump
The Power of Masculine Vulnerability

Comment

Subscribe To Blog

Subscribe to Email Updates