There is no doubt that the last 15 years have served to move the Internet and its associated tools and online “relationships” to the center of American lives and American ways of interacting with each other. It’s also no secret that many unchurched and dechurched Americans have emotions about church that range from disconnected interest, to pain and resentment, to outright fear. Factors ranging from scandal to the efforts of the enemy have contributed to making it difficult for many to walk in the doors of the church “that first time.”
Additionally, the very concept of the local church is built on the foundational teaching and belief that both proximity and human witness are critical components of attracting the unchurched to walk in the doors. So if more and more people are spending more and more of their lives online, it follows that establishing “local” churches “where people are” online, can be one part of a strategy to reach the unchurched and dechurched and bring them into fellowship and church membership.
And for church members who are temporarily out-of-town, or unable to attend services for health or weather reasons, a community worship experience can serve to keep them not only up-to-date on church teaching, but also in fellowship with church membership and pastoral resources.