Question of the Week: How Has Technology Changed Christian Community?

There is no doubt the internet and all the devices and social communities that followed has changed the way people relate to each other. There are few who would argue this statement. However, the verdict is still out on whether or not this shift in community is good or bad.

There are some churches that have embraced this shift and have made it possible to have a complete church experience through the internet. While doing some intense preliminary research (simple Google searches), I found a 3-D online church experience. Even if its not quite taken this far, many churches, including the one I attend, stream video recordings of the service online, have blogs, and have Facebook groups.

Not everybody is excited about what the internet has done to community. In this article in USA Today, Nicholas Carr argues that the internet is making people dumber which is also having a negative effect on the way people are able to relate to each other. Many people fear that the artificial community offered via the internet is not a sufficient substitute for physical community, although it is often times used as such.

So what do you think? What ways have you seen the internet change Christian community? Furthermore, is this good or bad? Should churches embrace the new technological community hook, line, and sinker, or should we be wary?

I wrote a brief blog post on this last year. I’m excited to hear your thoughts on this!

4 thoughts on “Question of the Week: How Has Technology Changed Christian Community?

  1. Our church doesn’t really use the Internet when it comes to our sunday morning worship experience. But I must say that the Internet has revolutionized the administrative and “business” side of our church. I think the worship experience is much more effective when
    It has a person-to-person feel to it.

    • I agree, there seems to be something about person-to-person physical interaction that gives the worship experience sincerity. As much as technology can help aid and enhance community, without the physical interaction, it can’t really replace it.

  2. I think the internet (which I invented, by the way *sarcasm*) has allowed us to relate in a less intimate way with people, which if this is supplemental to authentic community, is fine and not detrimental…however, it cannot replace authentic community. If it does, we soon forget how to relate to people, which is scary. We joke that if ministry didn’t deal with people, it would be a lot easier, but when it doesn’t deal with people, it ceases to be ministry. Christianity is built on the concept of community…I mean our God is 3-in-1 -> community. So, though it may make things “easier,” and may be able to reach more people, the internet is great for disseminating information, but not for replacing the community-based experience (however, I will allow for the rare exception when true community is not possible). This is simply a matter of communicating with our church body what the purpose of the online experience is…it is supplemental to, not a replacement of actively participating in a church body.

    • I agree with you Jared, but I do wonder how the generation beneath us, which connects so much more through technology than we do, will handle this issue. I think most of our generation sees technology as supplementary to community. 10 years from now, I’m not sure if that line will be as clear. It will be interesting to see what happens.

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