What's you thoughts can we truly have virtual community in the Church?
This is a brilliant assessment of Internet life. No, you can not have a true community in the same sense that you can have one in the real world. I would prefer 'Virtual Outreach' because that is a much more valid use of Internet resources.The Internet is a great place to plant seeds, and broadcast the truth of Jesus Christ. But there can be no true community. I'm not even convinced that it's a good place to minister to those that are hurting because without honest contact it is easy for people to hide behind different personas that have little to do with what they are in reality. If virtual outreach is used as a place to direct people to help in their own location then it would be a worthwhile endeavor. Many people who are lost and disconnected from God and society turn to the Internet for solace. I was one of them for over 10 years and became an Internet addict because I wanted to hide from a world in which I found no hope. I wanted to hide away from the pain of every day life, and the atrocities that happen in the world. During that last decade of my dark depression, the Internet became my only source of socialization, my only way to interact with others. I was literally afraid to leave my own home. I was searching online for a Truth that I had not found in 'RL' and an Internet Ministry would have been a welcome haven for me. But quite frankly it would have been just one more place to hide.Salvation is glorious but that's where the adventure should begin. I'm grateful that I got connected to a loving Church family in the real.I know that the Internet is ripe for the harvest! There are millions, perhaps billions more people who just like me are hiding there. So now I fully advocate Internet Ministry - if and only if a real life component is highly encouraged.
I like how this guy challenges virtual communities of believers. I think that he makes some very good points. One area I think he does not touch on which is my main area of focus is using social media to reenforce relationships and communities that exist in the real world. Most of everything that I uses helps churches to better communicate with their existing church body. There is no form of media that can ever replace the human experience of a face to face relationship.
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