I have just spent the last hour looking at virtual churches from around the world! Some will laugh at this innovative way of reaching out into the world for Christ but I realize that if I want to expand my horizons I must be looking way out of my comfort zone for ways to connect with the unchurched world. I first became aware of the virtual church years ago when the Methodist Church of England created the Church of Fools. I have to admit I thought of it as an unimpressive video game and moved it to the back burner on my information matrix. Now I know that was a mistake.
I am reading a book called SimChurch by Douglas Estes that is giving me so much to think about what the next horizon will be. I know that many in the church today will decide that the virtual church is a passing fad or small market. Estes tells us that less than 1% of the 70,000,000 people living in the virtual world are being reached for Christ. Somehow that is a segment of the community that we cannot ignore. There are full internet communities out there. Since most of this world is still beyond the imagination of most of us old timers (that was hard to write) we will have to spend time learning about the innovations while at the same time remaining grounded in the scriptural foundations upon which the church was built.
There is a portion of the church community that will want to ignore this opportunity because it is evil or unholy in some way, just as I am sure there where those that wanted to ignore the printing press because the Word was meant to be written by hand. I am sure there were those that found the voice coming over the radio instead of in person as the voice of evil and thought that television would never impact the worship life of the church community. We all now know that these forms of communication are not inherently evil but can and are used to reach people for Christ and still have a tremendous impact on our churches.
Be aware! You will have to learn a new language to enter this world. One you many find more difficult than Greek, Hebrew or even English!