Why have this conversation? Why present the idea of a Virtual Church?
I went into registration for this semester of seminary knowing I needed to take an elective.
I had heard that Dr Watkins was on point as far as professors were concerned and I "HAD to take a Watkins class," before I left CTS.
I did not realize that this class would change how I looked at two very (so I thought at the time) separate entities: The virtual world, and the Church.
As I examined the descriptions of the electives offered this semester, I kept coming back to a class called "Theological Grounding and Development of the Virtual Church" taught by Dr. Watkins. I must have read the description of the class ten times before I selected it and clicked "Register."
Thus began a very interesting journey for me.
Each week I have had to write a blog entry, be active in a Facebook group, read many pages in many different books and respond to what I have read, create a YouTube video, research churches who are joining the "virtual" revolution and post links to their sites, and view and comment on all of my classmates blogs and videos.
Dr. Dawson told me to take an elective because I needed a class that was not going to be as demanding and "Full of reading" as my other courses. Well, the joke was on me.
However, of all the classes I have ever taken, this has been by far one of my favorites. It challenged me to be interactive with mediums that I have not explored as in depth before. It has taught me how to read intently and utilize that information in my own personal ministry setting. Most of all though, it has allowed me to find the answer to this question: Why do we need to start this conversation about the Virtual Church?
Why? I'm glad you asked.
We need to start this conversation so that the church can stay relevant. So that the church can find its place in the new context of what we call the "real world."
We have to teach people about this new way to get the Word, the Love, and the Light of Christ out into a changing world.
We have to enable ourselves to get outside of our comfort zones, to be relevant to the comfort zones of those we are trying to reach.
We have to be able to reach as many people as we can by allowing them to come to us however and whenever they can.
We need to start this conversation because we need to CONTINUE the conversation of Jesus.
So, let's be relevant. Let's get Jesus out there. Let's have this conversation. Let's get to virtual churchin'.
In the words of Dr. Watkins-- See you next time. Same place, Same back channel.