My very long prodigal “season” away from the Lord and church gave me an uncommon perspective. I’m not bragging, it’s just what happened.
When I returned to the Lord in 2014, things sure looked different in churchdom. Very different. On the decline were such things as getting dressed up for church, hymns accompanied by piano or organ, expository preaching, and three services per week. Instead there were now mega-churches with hip names that featured CCM rock music and light shows, pastors in skinny jeans with swag haircuts, coffee and donut bars, topical doctrine-lite preaching, huge video screens, and weekly community groups instead of a mid-week service.
And there was also the internet. In the old days, everyone pretty much relied on their pastor for their Bible teaching. Sure, many read their Bibles during the week and a few might even have had hardbound commentaries and other Bible aids. We also had Charles Stanley and a few other solid preachers on television. But the bulk of the teaching was from the pastor at the local church. That may not be the case for many today. Now we have tons of Bible aids online as well as sermon podcasts galore from many solid (and unsolid) pastors. There’s also many Christian forums and blogs like here at WordPress. Need some godly advice about a personal or doctrinal problem? There’s thousands of articles and You Tube videos just waiting out there in cyberspace, more than enough to make your head spin. Sunday worship? You can spend all of your waking hours on Sunday interacting with other believers without ever venturing out the front door just by trolling through the posts here at WordPress. Some even see that as the preferable option given the style and substance of many of the churches today.
The article below discusses how “virtual church” is impacting shoulder-to-shoulder worship and fellowship with brothers and sisters in the Lord. The internet can be a great tool for the Gospel and spiritual growth. I truly appreciate many of the online resources that are available. But there’s also a danger. We can easily separate ourselves from family, friends, neighbors, and fellow Christians in our community that we could otherwise share “real life” with as we instead increasingly become “virtual church” shut-ins.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:24-25
In today’s world, can “meet together” mean online interaction or must it be physical face-to-face? A twenty-five-year-old would probably answer that question differently than I would.
Online Sermons Causing Low Church Attendance?