Friday, February 21, 2014

Grace Online Part 1: Why are we doing it?

Starting on Sunday, March 2 Grace Church is launching a brand new worship experience for an online audience called Grace Online. To start with, the service will air 5 times per week. I'm sure we will adjust from there. The first service time will be on Sunday, March 2 at 11 AM. This series of blog posts will give some rationale and back story for this new ministry endeavor. 

Why are we doing this? 
  1. Mission: One aspect of our mission as a church is to make more disciples of Jesus. This involves telling more and more people about the love and hope and joy that comes from a personal relationship with Christ. This mission drives us.  One of the amazing things about the internet is its massive reach. The internet has over 2 billion users worldwide. 239 million Americans are on the Internet. 114 million Americans are browsing the Internet on a mobile device. 107 million Americans have smartphones. 59 million Americans have tablets like the iPad.  The average American spends 32 hours per month online.  This makes the internet one of the largest and most accessible mission fields in the entire world.
  2. Technology: We believe in using technology for the purposes of the gospel. The church has always had a dubious relationship with technology. Each time a new technology was introduced, the church has usually been slow to embrace it. In the 14th C –the first organ was used in a worship service and was considered to be of the devil. In the 16C the newfangled printing press was viewed by some as a threat to the gospel. More recently radio, and movies, and television have been run through the same gauntlet.  But think about the historic impact of an instrument like the organ in churches. Remember how the printing press was used to make the gospel available to the common person and how great Christian communicators like Billy Graham have used radio and TV to spread the gospel around the world.  We want to utilize all technology available to us to spread the good news of Jesus to the world. The internet is our latest technological tool. In 1 Corinthians 9:22 Paul says, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.” The internet is one of our current means to save some.
  3. Opportunity: God has blessed Grace with teams of people who are passionate about creative arts, music, technology, video production, etc. Luke 12:48 says, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required…” We believe that this is true for our church. God has blessed us with people who are gifted in these areas and we believe that these gifts weren’t meant to be kept to ourselves but to be shared with others so that God can receive more glory. So, one of the reasons we are doing Grace Online is because we can. God has positioned us to do it.

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