Virtual (Online) Churches

Can church be done virtually?  Whether you agree or disagree, it's happening.  C. Michael Patton observes: Many churches are beginning to hold services online. While the majority of churches now post the MP3’s of their sermons online, others are taking virtual prayer requests, and some are actually holding online services. How? Some open up virtual chatrooms where the sermon is streamed through a live feed. In these rooms, congregation members can chat with one another about the sermon, give prayer requests, and even be lead by an “online pastor” (a new pastoral position that many churches are now hiring for!).

Even more intriguing are those churches who are renting out space on the popular virtual reality animated program called “Second Life.”  Lifechurch.tv, rated the most technologically innovative church in America, has seized what they believe to be an opportunity. They have purchased land and built a church on Life-Space. While many eyebrows are raised by traditional church goers, LifeChurch believes this to be an opportunity to share the Gospel of Christ in a unique way that is semper reformanda with technology.

Here's a sampling of some screen shots:

So, the question remains.  Can people really do church on-line?  Patton asks "online-churches" to consider the following questions:

1. If Church is about real relationships, can real relationships be created in such an environment?

2. If Church involves real accountability, can real accountability be sustained online?

(To see all 20 some questions, go here)

(HT: Parchment and Pen)