Why the Internet will Strengthen, not Kill the Church

Ever since the modern internet hit the scene in the 1990’s (thank you Al Gore…smile) doomsday Church Leaders have been fretting that it would be hurtful to culture, the Gospel and the movement of the Church.

Nothing could be further than the truth.

The last time there was a technological advancement of this magnitude the printing press was invented, which helped propel the Gospel in an unparalleled manner at the most opportune time of the Protestant Reformation. For the first time in history the average person (who was literate) could actually read the Bible for themselves in their own language! It was legitimately world changing.

The internet and this highly technological culture that we are living in has the same potential to catalyze the movement of the Gospel in a way not seen since the Protestant Reformation.

The Bible App

The Bible App, developed by the good folks at Life Church has been downloaded and installed more than 200 million times. When YouVersion launched there were 12 versions of the Bible available in 2 languages. Today there are more than 1,200 versions of the Bible available in more than 900 languages! YouVersion is working to make God’s Word available to every person on Earth, no matter where they live or what language they prefer.

Video Teaching

The internet and technological advances have fueled video teaching, which has propelled the multisite movement not only in North America but around the world. Each week more than 100,000 people attend a Hillsong Church Campus in one of more than 25 locations in more than 12 countries around the world.

Internet Evangelism

The internet is creating a unique and interestingly safe place for people of other spiritual backgrounds to investigate Jesus’ claim to be the only path to God. Thousands of Muslims, in particular, are saying yes to following Jesus as a direct result of intentional internet evangelism.

Technology and the internet are creating opportunities to fuel the Gospel that haven’t even been thought up or leveraged yet. My hunch is if Jesus walked the Earth today instead of reading someone’s account of the sermon on the mount (Matthew 6) we’d probably be watching it firsthand on YouTube.

Forbes recently ran an article entitled, “Five Signs That Stores (Not E-Commerce) Are The Future Of Retail”

  1. All But One Of The Top Ten U.S. Retailers Are Physical Chains
  2. Stores Are More Profitable Than E-Commerce
  3. Amazon Purchased Whole Foods
  4. Millennials And Generation Z Prefer Real-Life Stores
  5. Online Retailers Are Being Eaten By Legacy Retailers

In this new cyber-age the Church isn’t going anywhere. It is going to take ground, not lose it. You and your church just need to figure out how to leverage this new opportunity. While technology and the internet can enhance and catalyze the growth of the church in new ways it isn’t going to replace the church. Even with global work place trends towards automation the Church will remain, interestingly enough, distinctly human. A place where real people can interact with other real people about the most important conversations and topics life has to offer. But what technology can do for the Church is:

  1. Create new ways for all people on the planet to engage in the Bible
  2. Build new ways to deliver biblical teaching across the globe
  3. Provide opportunities to get quality, accredited biblical training online anywhere in the world
  4. Create new, easily accessible, safe space for people to connect with other people and engage in dialogue about God and His principles

What other opportunities are you seeing or sensing that may be next for the Church to take hold of and leverage for the sake of the Gospel? I’m interested in your thoughts and ideas…leave a comment!

Posted in Leadership

One Response to “Why the Internet will Strengthen, not Kill the Church”

  1. Jim Corder July 5, 2017 at 10:51 am #

    Great post, Paul. It gives hope to churches that they remain relevant and have a strong purpose. Churches can leverage technology to accomplish their mission and not fear it.

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