church misc

Can the virtual church replace the physical church?

Get the latest Christian Web Trends Insights

By submitting this form, I give OurChurch.Com permission to send me communication by email.

A couple weeks ago I blogged about a study published by The Barna Group which found that while “more than seven out of ten Americans (72%) claim they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is important in their life today…” only 17% of adults said that “a person’s faith is meant to be developed mainly by involvement in a local church.”

That sparked some very strong opinions on both sides of the issue.  On one hand we received comments like this: “I have been a non-church going Christian for over a year, and I can assure you that when it is done in the will of God, it is anything but a problem.”  We also received comments from the opposing viewpoint: “I hear so many people defend not going to church. If you notice their defense is full of holes.”

Can the virtual church (online audio sermons, video services, Christian discussion groups, etc) replace the physical church?

Give us your opinion in this week’s poll and post your comments here.

In His Service,
Paul Steinbrueck

    Request a Free Web Design or SEO Consultation!

    I am interested in talking with someone about:
    Custom WebsiteSEOBoth
    : :
    : :

    By submitting this form, I give OurChurch.Com permission to send me communication by email.

    Share and Enjoy !

    0 0

    About the author

    Paul Steinbrueck

    Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.


    • Having a strong faith without a local church is almost unfathomable. Sure, you can learn much about your faith from online resources, but where does the accountability for one’s actions come in? Where does the personal interaction with the body of Christ come in to play?

    • Before anyone can answer this question intelligently, the “Church” must first be fully defined. It wouldn’t hurt to read some articles such as Chip Brogden’s “Churchianity Today” in order to more fully explain the differences in the True Church and the religious system or the institutional church. When you are born again, you are born into the True Church, and only our Master determines this citizenship — not attendance at any meeting. As a matter of fact, on the seventh day, God RESTED. He didn’t jump up and go to a meeting.

    • In reguards to your question, the first thought was, what if the internet went down? Then I desided to wait and went to my mail to clean it up. There is a site. save the . There is much going on in congress reguarding the net its freedom and just how it can be used. My question is, how long will the freedom of the net be available?

    • While someday a virtual church may be all we have, I believe that given the choice, we should seek fellowship amoung brothers & sisters in the physical world. There are some who cannot get out easily & some who live in areas where there is little to be found in the way of a “true” christian church. There is a difference in putting yourself or your voice out there for the Lord. How can we truely witness to others, if we don’t put our faces & lives before them , as examples? Gathering together (physically) in fellowship & worship helps strengthen our relationship with God. Whether we gather together in church, our homes,or a park, we find faith, hope & comfort in unity.There is great fellowship, inspiration & knowledge to be found on line. But when we see God in the final judgement, we will have to come face to face with Him. No excuses!

    • Church (eclesia) in the New Testament means called out ones. Church today means Denomination/building/Pastor/Leader. I grew up in “Church” learning the teachings and doctrines/ belief sysytems of the Church. I also gained much self-righteousness, because I was in the “Church”, and not in the “world”. Jesus said “Follow Me”. Our personal relationship is what is going to determine our walk with God. Nothing else. God arm is not shortened; He is well able to teach us from His Word what He wants us to learn. Because of the day and hour in which we now live, great change is taking place in all arenas globally. Few truly believe, and even fewer can truly imagine, that whatever group they are associated with could be in any kind of error. But to believe that your group/denomination/circle is the one with the truth…then everyone outside your group would be in error…if they think differently and don’t believe like you.

      During the Church age, from the establishment of the early Church to now, God has used the ministries of apostle, prophet, teacher, etc. to reach converts and share with them God’s message. Do we really believe that God is pleased with all the divisions and separations within those who call themselves the Church? That God ordained for us to be in competition for the souls of men? That Jesus would approve the massing of great wealth for a few using the name of God? Is it not man’s way of thinking…when we justify leaders living in million dollar homes, flying Lear Jets, while taking offerings from the very poor and needy Jesus commanded them to help? The Church world today is polluted inside and out. Humanism has crept in and corrupted the message of the gospel, distorting it beyond the recognition of the early apostles.

      How many leaders spend time considering Peter’s admonition in 1Pe 4:17,18 For the time [has arrived] for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will [be] the end of those who do not respect or believe or obey the good news (the Gospel) of God? And if the righteous are barely saved, what will become of the godless and wicked?

      Everywhere you look, people are seeking to emulate the early Church, employing methods, handing out titles, but where are the results? Where is the body of believers walking in the power and anointing of God? They are hard to find, sitting among the throngs sitting in the “I’m ok your ok” conferences. Who really believes that judgment is what is coming to the Church, before anything else? The early Church turned their world upside down…what does the world see in the Church today? Division, strife, competition, name calling, hypocrisy, great wealth. There are places where their is great persecution against christianity, and the Church there is real. They know the price to be paid, to love not your life, to walk in a relationship with God, to be led by the Holy Spirit, to love the brethren. I fear that we here in the west are going to be in for a very rude awakening. The job of the Church is not to make people comfortable where they are…in their sin. It is to bring them to repentance and into right standing with God. All the validating and being held accountable to others is not going to amount to any more than a pile of ashes, when the Lord comes to judge His Church. The Word tell us that we shall give an account for every word we speak. Jesus said, in Luk 12:4,5 I tell you, My friends, do not dread and be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom you should fear: fear Him Who, after killing, has power to hurl into hell (Gehenna); yes, I say to you, fear Him!

      Who do we fear today? God, or man? Who are trying to please in our efforts, God or man? Who will we be held accountable to, God or man? Somehow what man thinks starts to seem pretty small and insignificant in the light of comparison.

      Maybe we should seek God for the answers to all the questions, rather than consulting men? Maybe we should get into His Holy Word, and hear what the Spirit is saying.

    • Most are fake Christians today (by design from the demons), and buildings are filled with deceivers.
      On the internet, sound doctrine can still be found, thanks to the Holy Spirit, even though we live in times that were foretold in scripture….”They will not stand sound doctrine…..just wanting their ears tickled”….hearing only what they want to hear and skipping “persecution for Christ’s sake”.
      They suffer persecution for sin’s sake instead.

      On the web, a HS indwelled “teacher” [“gift of teaching” means “a defender of the truth of sound doctrine”] has posted essays & sound doctrine….the way the Holy Spirit works now to finish building the “Body of Christ”, from the neck down…..Christ is the”head”
      …..a virtual assembly of real believers that are not living close together now, the way it was originally in the ‘Body Of Christ Church’ that the Apostle Paul started years after Acts 2.

    • There is no such thing as a perfect local church because churches are made up of imperfect people. Rather than bashing churches for their imperfections, how about we acknowledge that all churches have flaws and move back to the question of whether its important for Christians to be a part of a local church, flaws and all, in this virtual age.

    • The Internet has obviously openned horizons that were not available 2000 years ago, or even 100 years ago. I believe that it can be a useful tool, just as parachurch groups are. Continuing the same line of thought, parachurch groups cannot replace the local church; I think that the same idea applies to the e-church. While there may be times that this is all you may have access to, it should not become the primary choice.

    • Althought the internet is a great way to connect with people. When you don’t have physical contact with other believers it weakens your faith. Christ came into the world a physical being. Every human being longs for physical interaction whether it be a handshake or a hug. The church is the body of Christ not just as an idea but also a physical representation of his love. Church should never be boiled down to 1’s and 0′!!!

    • As an active member of both churches (?????) I can tell you that God can and does use both. However I don’t believe that the personal interaction of the local church, can be achieved by this virtual church.

      I know that todays corporate organizations are often a poor example of a true Ecclasia. But when the people of God (Christians gather) no matter what form it takes, if they gather because they are Christians, That is where God wants me to be. To join in, to give such as I have, and to recieve.