The argument rages on, is it possible to be a church online?
The detractors say that the church is a community, and you can’t do community online. I think that they are still living in the dark ages when a computer game was Tomb Raider, or Super Mario, or even Pong. People locked themselves away to play and it was antisocial. But this is the age of Facebook and Twitter, social networking sites are just that, social. Real people talking to other real people in a real way via the internet. Did I say that it is real?
It mat not be community in the way that the way you live in real life is community. But then the community twenty miles down the road may not be the same as the community where you live. Rural communities are a different kind of community to that of medium sized industrial towns. In large cities the communities in the leafy suburbs are different to those of an inner city council estate. People who commute are often members of more than one community, a work and a home one.
Online communities are another form of community, but they are communities nevertheless.
More than that
But this talk about community is missing the point. This blog has been missing the point up to now. It isn’t about community – it’s more than that.
Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20
The Apostle Paul said: “So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” Romans 12:5 both ESV
We get our word “church” from the Greek ἐκκλησία (ekklesia) which means gathering or assembly. So to speak of a church as a community is right. But it’s more than that. It isn’t just where two or three are gathered in the name of Christ that matters. It’s more than this. The presence of Christ amongst them counts too.
It’s all about Jesus
In Paul’s example we are members one of another because we are one body in Christ. It isn’t about us. It’s All about Jesus. It is the presence of Jesus that makes the gathering of people in a building on a Sunday morning. Similarly it is the presence of Jesus that makes an online church a church.
I’ll give the Apostle Paul the last word:
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27