Monday, February 24, 2014

Grace Online Part 3: Is this a substitute for physically attending church?

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. 

Is Grace Online a substitute for physically attending church?

Let me start by saying that the breadth and depth of ministry that can be accomplished online is amazing. At Grace, we believe that real connections and real relationships can happen in an online environment. However, we also believe that being the church involves physically gathering together. Therefore, our goal is that Grace Online be a front door into church life, but not a final church destination. One of our goals will be to connect people who attend Grace online to a local church in their area, whether that is a Grace physical location or another like-minded local church. Here is why:

  1. Spiritual gifts. The church needs you! Many people are looking for what they can get out of a church. But the truth is – a relationship with a church is not one-way. Each individual also brings something to the church that only they can bring. Namely their spiritual gifts. Some of these spiritual gifts can be used in an online environment and we will encourage people to get involved in Grace Online. But some require a person’s embodied presence to be most effective.
  2. One anothers -  if going to "church" once a week was just about gaining what you need spiritually to make it through another week, then tuning in online would be just fine. But the purpose of church is so much broader than that. It is about corporate worship, praying and studying the Bible together, serving one another and reaching out in mission together. In fact the New Testament commands the church to practice 39 “one anothers.” These can't be done in isolation.
  3. Ordinances – Jesus commanded his followers to observe two ordinances (some churches call them sacraments) and both are intended to be enjoyed in community: communion and baptism. Some churches have tried to find ways of including these ordinances in their online worship, but we believe for a church to be a biblical church that there must be a physical expression of these ordinances. 
         Grace Online Blog Posts:
            Part 1: Why are we doing it

       Thanks to Tim Stevens and Marc Cortez for their thoughts on this. 

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