I want to plant a new kind of church – a digital church.
FIRST, A LITTLE STORY
I was packing up the office of the church where I had been a pastor for the last 3+ years. The church and I were heading in different directions. The problem was that I wasn’t sure of the direction God was leading me. Then I had a visit from an absolute joy. She was 78 years old and a member of the church. One of her primary functions in life was to be my surrogate grandmother and to be one of my personal cheerleaders in ministry.
She took me by the hand and said, “Walk with me.” You don’t argue when grandma tells you to walk, so I walked with her.
She took me down the hallway to where our church had a display of our history set up; a picture of the first men’s bible study class in 1918 that later developed into the church, the first church building, and pictures of the groundbreaking when the new facility was built in the 60’s.
She asked me, “What do you see here?”
I answered, “The church’s history.”
With a sparkle in her eye she responded, “Yes! The history of church. But not the future.”
This dear lady walked me back to the office and told me God had given her a picture of the direction He was calling me to walk – to plant an online church community. As my wife and I prayed about it I began to get excited. And scared. At the same time. I was excited because I believe God has given me the dream to do such an endeavor. I was scared because I’ve never done anything like this before. But there I was – faced with the idea that I follow God’s leading or I keep venturing off on my own. Thus was born The Church Plant, A DIGITAL MISSIONARY ENDEAVOR.
Many churches have artificial plants that merely gather dust. The Church is supposed to be living and vibrant – not fake and dusty!
The next church movement will live not in bricks and stone but online.
One social media user noted:
While many churches across America seem to be experiencing decline, more and more people are plugging in to the world through phones, tablets, and computers. We’ve seen that people are still just as hungry for spirituality as they ever were. It’s not that people are done with God. It’s simply that many are done with the traditional way of participating in religion.
It’s time for a shift.
It’s time for the church to catch up to where the people are. With every revolution in media technology, preachers have been there to utilize media for the sake of the message of Jesus Christ and God’s love.
In an age when the literacy rate was relatively low, the Apostle Paul wrote letters to instruct churches when he could not be physically present. The first book printed on the printing press was the Bible. When radio hit the scene, God’s people took to broadcasting the Gospel over the airwaves. Radio missionaries even pump out the Gospel into closed countries when they aren’t allowed to physically preach about Jesus. With the dawning of the television age, televangelists hit the scene, pumping out an enormous amount of television ministry. While many televangelists get a bad rap, there are some preachers on t.v. who have viable ministries and do good things in the name of Jesus.
So here we are in the internet era. If we are going to be about people and reaching people for God then we must be intentional about being where they are. I’m not just talking about churches having a web presence and websites that have church information and recording of the Sunday service.
The contemporary church is not just about websites or music style – it’s about a revolution in the way we connect with people.
With more than 2 billion people plugged in online we must be intentional about creating a church community that hits people where they are, where they can come as they are, whenever they want.
The Church Plant is a place where everyone is safe to engage Christ as they are – no strings attached. We desire to be a lifeline to the discouraged, the disillusioned, and the disenfranchised.
Above all – it’s about Jesus…
With so many “unchurched” people in the world we are dropping the ball in reaching people with the message of Jesus. The sad fact is that many churches simply don’t embrace the idea of evangelism. Sometimes people are too nervous, afraid, or a million other reasons for not wanting to talk to someone about Jesus. But every day we see people – millions upon millions of people – clicking “share” or “retweet” when they want their friends to see something.
An online church community like The Church Plant has EXPLOSIVE potential for reaching people who would otherwise be unreached. An online church also has the ability to mobilize believers worldwide in order to support missions and Christian work around the globe.
We have the tools at our disposal to do more for the Kingdom of God than ever before. Now is the time for a completely online church, helping people hear the message of Jesus, connect to God, grow in spiritual maturity, and turn around and change the world for the better.
WHAT DOES THE CHURCH PLANT DO?
– Bible-Based messages in video and blog format
– Directed personal worship in video format
– Confidential Pastoral Counseling (personal issues, pre-marital/marital counseling, etc.)
– Real-Time Bible Studies with video and written prompts and group discussions
– Pastoral Care and Prayer via email, text message, or phone
– Support Worldwide Missions (we have missionary families in Africa and Southeast Asia we want to support at the outset)
It’s about a revolution in the way we connect with people. The revolution is here.
Every week on social media I’m asked questions about faith, spirituality, the Bible, and for pastoral counsel. As Jesus says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9: 37-38)
The Church Plant wants to reach the plugged-in harvest in a way that hasn’t been done before.
Will you join us?
We need your prayer! Outside-the-box ministry ideas can draw criticism from people who like the box. We need you to be praying that God will use this ministry to reach a plugged in culture that is otherwise unreached.
We also need funding. Our initial goal is to raise funds to create the legal entity The Church Plant, a legitimate non-profit church. We want everything to be above-board legally, so attorney and filing fees will be the bulk of our start up costs. We also need funds for the website. You can see us at www.thechurchplant.net.
Thanks to the generosity of Christian sponsors, we’re already one-fourth of the way to our goal! You can find our GoFundMe fundraising site here.
We need you to partner with us in this ministry to extend the love of Jesus to the plugged in culture around the world who would never think about setting foot inside a traditional church.
Will you join us?