As I often do, I've been at a conference this week and haven't had time to blog about it until now. I was observing a Leadership Network community for Multi-Site Churches.
The time is coming and now is when churches will no longer be defined by a physical space, or even a city. The technology is available to immerse churchgoers in a replica of the sights and sounds of a worship experience, whether or not that experience is actually originating in the same room. I saw it with my own eyes last week. A video reproduction of a Sunday sermon was shown on 3 massive screens at a satellite campus of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX. It was so vivid and lifelike that I could pick out blemishes and veins in the pastors face from 200 feet away.
This is largely the thesis of The World is Flat which I have begun reading but have not finished. I began to imagine the possibility of students in closed countries, enjoying fellowship with other Christian students around the world, as well as gaining access to theological resources and even the experience of a church family, only without the physical reality present. Interesting stuff.
Many of my seminary mates and professors would warn of the inherent dangers in melding technology and worship and removing direct human contact from the meaning of the term "Body of Christ". Their warnings would be valid and important. Technology is always a mixed blessing. What helps a student who is cut off from the physical body of Christ because of oppression might actually harm someone who can and should have access to a physical and immediate manifestation of the people of God. Such questions need wisdom applied in each setting. Technology is neither all good, nor all bad. It changes things.
Whether we like it or not, the time is coming and now is.