Whether You Want to Accept It or Not, God Is Using the Internet to Change the World and Even the Church
Christ Fellowship in McKinney offers worshippers a Facebook page, online sermons, live chats and QR codes.
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Find the church by going online--the 21st-century version of sighting a steeple on the horizon. Beyond its website, Christ Fellowship also has a Facebook page.
The curious can download the worship program by scanning their customized-with-a-cross QR code. Worship services are streamed online from the church's Internet campus--with live chat running so participants can share spiritual insights in real time.
Afterward, Senior Pastor Bruce Miller said: ''Someone will ask you, 'How did it go? Did God help you today? How can we help you?' Just like we do when people come to our building in McKinney. We are here to help people find and follow Christ, wherever they are starting out from.''
And wherever they are in the digital world.
Christ Fellowship exemplifies most of the latest ways churches dramatically extend their reach beyond any one time or local address. Such congregations signal ''a willingness to meet new challenges,'' said Scott Thumma, of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, author of a study by Faith Communities Today of how churches, synagogues and mosques use the Internet and other technology.
The organization's national survey of 11,077 of the nation's 335,000 congregations found seven in 10 U.S. congregations had websites, and four in 10 had Facebook pages by 2010.
The use of QR codes--which allow users to scan a bar code with their cell phone and go directly to a related website--is too new to be measured yet, Thumma said. He recently began tracking churches that stream worship--about 1 percent of congregations, he estimates.
Future surveys may measure the explosion of digital applications. Christ Fellowship has one app for donating online and another for swapping goods and services to help others in the community--2,100 people at the North Texas church campus and God knows how many online.
Believers have been early adopters of every new form of communication since the first printed book--the Gutenberg Bible. Centuries later, examples abound beyond individual congregations:
Source: Baptist Standard | Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA Today
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