How does an online church work?
Part One of Indigitous’ interview with LifeChurch’s Alan George
To those who are skeptical of using digital strategies to reach people for Christ, the most common objection is that digital is “impersonal.” No website or app can match the personal experience of talking to someone face to face. While there is some truth to that argument, it’s missing the point. Digital strategies in evangelism and discipleship aren’t about replacing face-to-face interaction, they’re about meeting people where they are. People are already online and on their cell phones looking for answers. We need to meet them there.
For nine years now LifeChurch has been meeting people on the Web with its online church services. The organization, which is best known for its YouVersion Bible app, has created a successful model for online church services that are much more interactive and community-based than you might think.
Recently Rich Street caught up with Alan George, one of the pastors of LifeChurch’s online church, and talked to him about how the organization uses digital strategies to reach people.
Alan says that LifeChurch’s mission is “to lead people to become fully-devoted followers of Christ.” Online church is not just about broadcasting content like some TV show or YouTube channel. Rather, “it’s about engaging people, having conversations with others and through that community, getting connected deeper with God.”
There are, of course, skeptics. “How can church online be real church?” they ask. Putting aside the fact that the church is not a building or a service, but the body of Christ, Alan come up with three aspects that people expect to find at a church service:
- Someone teaching the Word of the Lord
The online church at LifeChurch.tv has all three of those aspects. Though there are some who consider the online church to be their home church, perhaps the most important function of the online church is as a stepping stone for someone who is exploring faith, someone who for various reasons, wouldn’t feel comfortable walking into a brick and mortar church but are willing to go to a website to see what the church is all about. From there, if they decide to start following Christ, LifeChurch is happy to help them connect with a local church in their community.
Watch the full interview here. Stay tuned for Part Two of this interview.