But, just like you can change some things in cars (gas to electric), there are some things you can’t change (having only two wheels) if you still want to call it a car instead of a motorcycle.
If the church was starting today, would most of our church experiences be in buildings dedicated to that purpose? In houses? Or online? I think we’d be doing it predominantly digitally, secondly in houses.
Certainly, we’d also have some dedicated buildings for that purpose, since humans have always built structures for things that matter to us, but that mode of worship would probably be as rare as digital church is today. And it would feel just as strange to most of us.
The Church Must Be Analog
The church needs to use technological tools far better than we currently do. After all, you can’t “go into all the world” (Mark 16:15) without using all the tools at our disposal.
But, while you can do a lot of the aspects of real church digitally, you also need to go analog.
Tom Peters is a huge supporter of technological communication, but he believes the digital world makes flesh-and-blood meetings more important, not less. In his book, The Pursuit of Wow!, Peters quotes Mark McCormack, who advises business executives to “fly 3,000 miles for a five-minute meeting.”
I think the same advice applies to church.
Church Shouldn’t Be Too Easy
It matters that worship and fellowship intrudes on our schedule.
Church should cost us something. Things that cost nothing, mean nothing.
It may be convenient to not have to leave the house, learn people’s names, or negotiate through personality conflicts for IRL church, but that inconvenience is a bare minimum sacrifice that we should be making if we are physically able to do so.
Jesus Put Skin On – So Should We
Recent studies have shown that people who talk about doing things are less likely to actually do them because when we talk about it, we trick our minds into thinking we’ve actually done something about it.
The same goes for the internet. When we surf through a few church websites, watch a worship song on YouTube and comment on a Christian blog, we feel like we’ve done more church than we actually have.
Even God found it necessary to become incarnate so he could live physically among us.