One of the biggest obstacles online churches face is figuring out how participants can serve one another. This is important for at least 2 reasons.
First, we all experience hardships and burdens that are too big for us to carry on our own. Part of God’s design for the church is for our loads to be lightened through the care of others in our church.
Second, God has given us all spiritual gifts and talents. One of the primary ways we find fulfillment and a sense of purpose in this life is by using our God-given gifts to serve others.
Some burdens can be eased through the online care of others, and some spiritual gifts can be utilized in online church to some degree. However, there are some needs and some spiritual gifts that appear difficult to facilitate through online churches.
- When a person’s spouse dies, how does an online church care for them? Somehow a virtual funeral seems inadequate.
- When someone has a baby, how do the people in an online church provide meals for them or watch their older kids to give the parents a break?
- When someone needs a ride to the doctor, how does an online church help with that?
Another important aspect of church life is how it exhibits the love of Christ within the local community. Many churches have ministries that provide food for those in need, help the homeless, visit people in nursing homes, fix cars, repair houses, mentor fatherless children, and so on.
Is physically serving one another essential to being a “real church?”
Can online churches do these things? If so, how?
On the other hand, there may be some ways, such as with encouragement and prayer, that online churches could actually be better than offline churches. Thoughts?