Hello Internet. Can We Move In?

internet_addictionI’ve been challenged recently through reading a number of books about our place as God’s people in the online space.

The internet has sort of taken us all by surprise. It caught us off guard and many churches – ours included – have been sluggish to utilize this powerful tool for Gods kingdom. While there are probably a pile of reasons for that, I think three things top the list:

1. There’s a lot of smut on the web

2. We don’t fully understand it

3. It’s not real

Yet I’ve come to the conclusion that we, as a corporate community, have an online calling. I think #3 is a misnomer, #2 is not a good reason, and #1 is a good reason that we need to be active online as a Kingdom community.

First, the impression that the internet is not real is simply not true. The idea that there is a “cyber world” and a “real world” may have been true in 1998. But not today. Real genuine relationships happen online and more then often translate into real and positive offline encounters and opportunities. As an example of how real the online space is consider that 79% of people surveyed said they will visit a church’s website before actually visiting the church.  That’s real. And if we’re not real online, then real people who visit our real website will not visit our real house of worship. And that’s for real.

And while we may not understand the internet very well there is a little fact that should drive us to act in spite of our learning curve: the Facebook community is large enough that, if Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world only behind China and India. And that fact matters because, simply put, if the people we want to reach are online – including the people in our own community – then that’s where we need to establish an outpost.

And finally, there is a lot of smut online. Just like there is offline. A messy internet is a call for Christians to get involved, not to abstain. The messier the internet, the more I say we as Christians should make our presence known. As a church I would like to see us interact more with each other on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, and on our website by sharing content and letting our friends and family members see that there is a really awesome and genuine community to be a part of.

I think it’s time our corporate community at the Devonwood Church officially meet the internet, and then politely ask if we can move in. Will you join me?

Question: can you list other reasons why local churches might be slow at adapting the internet for God’s Kingdom? What solutions would you propose to those “reasons”?