I received a request for webhosting this week, and it was definitely a first for me! This gentleman wants to start an online church! I am in the process of vetting this person to determine if he is real, but the request is interesting.
I have a demo website set up so people can play with WordPress (I guess I can install other software as well) at churchdemo.us before going live with their own website. It also allows me to test out plugins and graphics without having to mess-up some ministry’s live website to see how something looks or works to try something out.
“I would like to start a website church. There I would, with the help of our Lord and you create a bulletin board and a chat room, we would be able to minister to a vast amount of people all over the world. Providing they have a computer and access to the internet. There will also be official membership offered.”
I found this of great interest since this is bring me back to my roots. We started out ministry by putting a brick and mortar church online with a bulletin board and we did offer chat rooms. Our Bulletin Board systems were membership based systems, but they were not online churches. They were (as the websites today are) churches online.
I have mixed feelings about this. There ARE millions of people around the world that are not anywhere near a church. But there are people around the world that are too lazy to get up, get dressed and drive 5 miles to go to their local Bible preaching local church. Would this be another excuse to not fellowship with other local believers? (Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”)
If you have ever been involved in church planting, you know that you have to get out and be knocking on doors, send out mailings and reach the people in your area and invite them out to church. How do you “plant” an online church. While I have not had an in depth discussion with this gentleman, I can see one on one witnessing, but I have no urge to partner with a person if their idea might include a mass email (spam) campaign.
How do you send out an electronic “school bus” to pick up kids to bring them to church?
It will be interesting to see what this gentleman has in mind.
I have set up a membership program, chat room, Forum (Bulletin Board) on the demo system, and it looks like it will meet his needs. This will be an interesting endeavor if the Lord is behind it and he is really committed to making it work. (Romans 8:31 “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”