My Church’s Address Starts With WWW or Why Sermons Are So 1677 (Part 5)

I gave y’all a break from my series examining the role of sermons in church life. The lifeless horse may be soon approaching a second death, it remains to be seen after today’s beating.

In 2006 Craig Groeschel‘s LifeChurch, which had been expanding from Oklahoma to include other campuses around southeastern America, launched a different kind of campus: an internet one. Meaning you could log on to watch a church service on a computer.

I think this naturally weirded many people out. Though most churches stick to the format of worship & sermon for church services as religiously as they stick to Jesus an online church seems to violate something*. “Wait – you’re going to church…and there’s no people?” Almost all of us realize that the sermon isn’t the point of the church service – it’s the gathering of the people.

I’ve been to a lot of boring church services. I’ve been to ones where the pastor wasn’t exactly presenting a coherent message, and in fact I walked away utterly confused as to what he was even trying to say. And if I’m going to go to church to hear a sermon, I mightaswell go to one where the sermon is engaging and challenging and well thought out. Why use up my time fighting off sleep and balancing my checkbook in an uncomfortable seat?

And so in this way an internet church makes total sense – I mightaswell tune into an interesting sermon if I’m going to listen to a sermon. But ultimately church is far more about the gathering and community and fellowship of people.

To me, this is the ultimate reason for this series. Sermons are not inherently wrong – they certainly have their time and place. However I do not agree that their place is at front and center of a church gathering.

*I’m not criticizing Life Church as I’m confident there are many circumstances in which an internet church is useful and necessary for someone, and that is blessing someone’s life somewhere.

How can sermons be done to encourage fellowship? What do you think of internet churches? If a sermon isn’t front and center of a church service then what should be?

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5 Responses to My Church’s Address Starts With WWW or Why Sermons Are So 1677 (Part 5)

  1. David says:

    How can sermons be done to encourage fellowship?
    Sermons are for preaching the Gospel, not encouraging fellowship. Fellowship opportunities are for fellowship.

    What do you think of internet churches?
    Like Televangelism, they fill a need for folks that are unable to, or too lazy to get out.

    If a sermon isn’t front and center of a church service then what should be?
    Jesus.

    He not a good idea, not a philosophy, and not a role model. The Holy Spirit knows what God wants to do at any particular gathering, but most men don’t want him too. (1 Cor 14)

  2. theoldadam says:

    I too, think worship ought be in the center.

    We have our fellowship after the worship service.

    Of course the Word needs to be there. Faith comes by hearing…” so a sermon is to help keep us in faith by accusing us (everyone, including the preacher), and then by liberating us with the gospel message of the forgiveness of our sins.

    And of course, Jesus said that we “have no life in us unless we eat His body and drink His blood”, so the Lord’s Supper is central, as well.

  3. Larry Hughes says:

    Getting the Good News out about Jesus in any way possible is certainly paramont to the salvation of ones seeking Jesus be it air waves, internet, or in person.

    One size fits all sermons are not the way to win others to christ or keep ones already in Christ firmly planted. Alternative spiritual conveyances are needed to further Jesus among us..

  4. Chris says:

    It may be off topic a bit, but if you think some people are weirded out by the idea of watching church service over the internet how about this.

    http://slurl.com/secondlife/Xenia/52/152/26/?img=http%3A//1pcsl.org/images/8/8c/1pcsl-new.jpg&title=1st%20Presbyterian%20Church%20of%20Second%20Life&msg=Join%20us%20for%20Prayer%20Service%20Sunday%20nights%20@%207pm%20SLT%20/%209pm%20Central%20and%20Conversation%20Group%20Wednesday%20nights%20@%207pm%20SLT%20/%209pm%20Central

    It’s a virtual church service in something called “Second Life” where you go, create an avatar of yourself, go to a virtual church, listen to a sermon, take communion, the whole shebang. It’s just way too much for me, but I know some people that believe it is a very legitimate means of doing church. They know that older folks (like moi) are change averse, but that younger people will be more accepting of it. Change is ok if it’s for the right reasons, but this I feel is change without discernment.

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