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What If Church Online is the Answer, But We're Asking the Wrong Question?


What a crazy run.

We’re only two weeks, maybe three, into Coronavirus. Look at how the American Church has changed. Tens of thousands of churches are flocking to online to broadcast services, so much so (ironically) that software and hardware providers are struggling to keep up with the demand. Before Coronavirus (BCV) churches freaked at the idea of doing a digital-only expression of church. Today, well, churches are onboarding by the throngs, working to broadcast services online.

In the face of adversity, many churches have boldly stood their ground, working tirelessly to figure out how to broadcast their services online for the first time. Some are even taking the next step of moving small groups online. The Church, less than a month ago, did not believe that Biblical Community could exist online. Churches all over the country are now proving that it is possible. Big churches and small churches, modern churches and traditional churches, denominational and non-denominational… many of us are stepping up in this Coronavirus season and embracing online.

A friend asked me the other day if I was proud of the Church in this season, as we turn the corner and embrace not just communicating, but doing ministry, online. My answer wholeheartedly is “Yes.” Prayerfully, churches will learn lessons in this Coronavirus season that will help the church moving forward. But I wonder, in the midst of the Coronavirus, if we the Church are answering the wrong question.

The Question We’re Answering...

You see, I think the question the Church is answering is “how do we keep things as normal as possible?” Maybe that’s the right question. Maybe, just maybe, we’re missing an opportunity, and we should be answering another question. My heart asks questions like: What does it look like to make a disciple? What if our Churches Online were more than just online church services? What does multiplication look like in this Coronavirus season? What if, during this Coronavirus season, Church Onlines were centered around making disciple-makers?

We’ve had this conversation time and time again over here at THECHURCH.DIGITAL. Ed Stetzer calls for a third thing, Daniel Im calls for intentionality, Jay Kranda works to develop gatherers, and Mike Christian got kicked out of India for doing it. We’ve blogged Seth Godin talking multiplication strategy, Church Anywhere impacting a small town by unleashing them, and Acts 19 telling all of Asia of the Gospel. We’ve even blogged about the evolution of the 21st century church steeple.

…May Be The Wrong Question?

You see, the heart behind all of these conversations are simple… the Church today is missing something. And Coronavirus may be the time for our churches to shift. Our church services, our content, is only as effective as it drives people to action. The gospel we hear in our online world must impact our offline world. Our church content must drive us to action.

Maybe the real question isn’t “How can we effectively keep things normal?”

Maybe the real question is “How can we effectively make disciples?”

Or maybe the real question is “How can we effectively keep our people on mission?”

As fun as this exercise is to help churches figure out how to stream, and and rewarding as seeing people connect, maybe we’re really answering the wrong question. I’ve even talked about this recently with the American Bible Society in their 316.Future.Bible Conference last week. The question I’m really looking forward to focusing on is how can Church Online, how can the Church, keep people on mission during this Coronavirus season? Because that is a far more rewarding question to answer.

So, what do you think? What does it look like to keep someone “on mission” in this Coronavirus season?


PODCAST 056: Daniel Im - No Silver Bullets & How to Disciple Online
Mobilizing Spiritual Leadership & Influence in a time of Uncertainty

About Author

Jeff Reed
Jeff Reed

With about 20 years experience serving the church in the digital/technological realm, Jeff loves working with churches. As passionate about Discipleship as he is Technology, Jeff uses his passion to help Churches develop technology systems to bring people far from God closer to him. Oh, and he loves Digital Church & Church Online.

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