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Benefits of a Virtual Church

Virtual Church 07 – Benefits of Virtual Church

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In the previous Podcast we looked at two of the major liabilities and criticisms of the Virtual Church, and how they can be overcome. Today we are going to look at the benefits a Virtual Church offers.

Virtual Church can provide a spiritual avenue for people not currently able to attend a traditional geographical church in order to participate in the function of mission, worship, fellowship and bible teaching. It is a major benefit can be seen in giving to the isolated and detached of society with what Jürgen Moltmann called a “creative passion for the impossible” (God for a Secular Society, London: SPCK, 1999, p.159). That is a task for a Virtual Church community to grasp and go ahead with..

Assisting Housebound & disabled people

One of the ways in which a virtual church is effective is in the area of helping housebound and disabled people. Housebound people, including those with physical, emotional and psychological problems, may only venture from their domicile on rare occasions. Access to a traditional geographical based church is not always catered for, as well as people being too shy to attend traditional church. Indeed, I know a lady, who because she has a low self-esteem, she felt more at ease communicating in a Virtual Reality environment, particularly in a Virtual Church. If the local geographically based churches do not have transport for housebound and disabled people, then a Virtual Church could well be the means to allow these people to participate in the life of the church.

One way to enable people is through technology. As technology consistently evolves, items such as the Dream-racer Cap could be configured to control computers http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6625145.stm. The cap works by head movement, however the underlying technology could also be used in a glove or shoe and therefore enable a semblance of ‘normal’ movement to the user. For more seriously disabled people with severely restricted movement, there are available eye-controlled communication devices (http://www.tobii.com/default.asp?sid=553).

By using these technologies, housebound and disabled people would be able to participate a great deal within a Virtual Church environment, including fellowship and worship. There is also the possibility of extending their participation to serving the Virtual Church in some capacity such as moderator, administrator or helping to lead worship, bible teaching and prayer times. This inevitably leads to confidence dealing with people offline, and more in a God they desire to serve using their Spiritual gifts that may currently be lying dormant and unused. In doing this, people will develop confidence in themselves. Instead of feeling neglected, isolated and alone, they may feel wanted, and more importantly, loved by others.

One major foreseeable problem with this proposal is that financially, it may be prohibitively expensive to arrange and operate these schemes. There is also the requirement of sourcing technical support in the case of hardware and software malfunction. Training issues could be another issue. However, with God, if He is in the planning, nothing is impossible. Local church groups, Christian organizations and denominations could pool financial and personnel resources, so they could be achieved. It would signify visually that churches have unity, even without uniformity. It would also give rise to the opportunity for traditional churches to work along with Virtual churches to the glory of God. Charities and Government help is also widely available to help subside costs or donate technology (http://www.cftd.co.uk/cftd.htm). In helping the housebound, the Virtual Church will have extended the Gospel’s reach and be seen “loving their neighbour” Matthew 22v39).

Assisting the Geographically Isolated & Persecuted Christians

A Virtual Church would enable isolated church communities, such as those ministered to be Bush Church Aid Society of Australia (http://www.bushchurchaid.com.au). This method would enable such organizations to fulfil their vision.

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Bush Church Aid Society of Australia

Similar links could be created with isolated Christian communities and churches in Great Britain or the USA. This would be similar to the way New Testament churches linked. The New Testament communities linked for the following reasons: prayer support, encouragement, imitation and theological reflection. Today, isolated churches can also gather together for fellowship, worship, evangelism and teaching in a Virtual church.

Another benefit is for Christians in persecuted countries to meet with Christians in the west. This of course may give additional problems, given the Internet censorship policy of such countries.

Virtual Church enables the capability for Christians to communicate and worship together from a vast geographical area, where there may not be many churches, is self-evident given the scope and range of the Internet.

So the enabling of housebound, disabled and geographically isolated people to engage with other Christians is a major benefit of a Virtual Church. Without Virtual Church, a lot of people and their spiritual gifting would go missing from church life. Virtual Church is but one visible identifier to the invisible world-wide Church. Thank you.

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Comments on: "Benefits of a Virtual Church" (2)

  1. Hey I love this blog. I can see the time and effort put into this.. Thanks!

  2. It was nice to see your blog.Just Keep Writing!

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