#thechurchisthenewnormal

If you are like me (which might not be as bad as one would initially think…in my humble opinion), you have probably heard statistics and read articles and blogs regarding the declining attendance at Sunday Celebrations; which some claim to be an indicator of the decline of the Church in general.  In fact, one article I read last year stated that within the next 10 years 60% of small neighborhood congregations within America would cease to exist.  I don’t know where those figures are coming from but I strongly disagree.

New Normal2Due to the explosion of internet television, podcasting, and live streaming Sunday Celebrations, it is impossible to get an accurate picture of, and chart the changing dynamics of, the Sunday Celebration.  While some are criticizing the use of these venues, others are doing what Christ did, taking the gospel to where people are congregating.  In this case it’s chat rooms, websites, and anywhere online or on a smart phone.

Personally, I am involved with several online chat experiences and social media communities for Christ followers, Geeky Christians, and even chat rooms where non-Christians and Christ followers discuss (not debate) their differences and their beliefs.  Many congregations are hosting online discussions, and like our congregation does, streaming their Sunday Celebrations so those seeking to know more about God can hear the truth of God’s word.  There are literally millions of virtual prayer rooms that exist online.  This allows people from around the world to literally pray for and with each other within moments of a prayer request being uttered.  Worship experiences are happening across social media platforms (search the hash tag #tworship on Twitter) and the International House of Prayer has an online 24/7 worship experience that can be visited both physically in person and virtually.

Is there more work to be done in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ?  Of course there are always more people, more co-workers, more family, and more friends in our circles of influence with whom we can share the good news as Jesus commanded us to in Matthew 28.  However, it might be a little soon to proclaim the Church in decline.  It might be more accurate to proclaim the expanding and exploding venues through which we can now share the gospel and join physically, spiritually, and virtually together in worshipping our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  This is not just a new way to share the gospel.  It is becoming a normal medium that can be used to share the gospel.  It should never replace sitting down with a family member or friend over a cup of coffee to share what God has done in ones life.  But it definitely should not be ignored as a viable venue for expanding God’s kingdom.  #thechurchisthenewnormal

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