The Journey 118
Read: Acts 2: 30-47
Mega Church The Digital Church: Every church is going the digital and the electronic way. Today sometimes the number of worshippers that come to a church does not run in hundred but in thousands. These church has a band with the latest musical instruments, the latest application in recording and sound system. Two mega church caught my attention recently because both of them were in the news. The first one is Christ Fellowship Church, McKinney, Texas. This church has a Facebook page so as to make its presence in social media. One the unique aspect of this church is that you can download the worship program by scanning their customized-with-a-cross QR code. The worship services are streamed online from their Internet campus — with live chat running so you can share spiritual insights in real time. This church also has an app for donating online and another one for swapping goods and services to help others in the community About 2,100 people attend worship at their Texas church campus and how many worship online, or connect online cannot be even measured. The other church is the Houston’s Lakewood Church. Joel Osteen who runs Lakewood Church told CNN belief last Tuesday, that what he does through the Lakewood ministries is “to make Christianity relevant to everyday life and appeal to people who wouldn’t normally go to church or tune into a TV ministry” . He continues and says that “I want to make God good and relevant to people who weren’t raised like me.”According to Osteen, “When I grew up, a lot of churches taught you doctrine, and that’s all good, but I felt like my calling is how do you live the Christian life?,” he said on CNN. He also defended his sermons, which is heard by almost 40,000 church members and 10 million viewers each week. I think this is awesome an unimaginable for clergy like me to even fathom it. I am happy that these church make Christian faith relevant and people who worship there feel “good” and “awesome”. But is the Church in a digital age all about making the people feel good? How can the church in the digital age transform the life of people so that they become a witness in the society?
This week we are meditating on the theme : Transformation in my parish” based on Acts 2: 22– 47. Here is a portion that has reference to the life in the early church. In verse 42 you find, that the early believers listened to the teaching of the apostles and gathered together in fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and prayer. What is important in the church is its teaching, its fellowship, the participation in the Lords’ table and its witness. Church is all about “fellowship” and “relationships”. The church is made “The Church” when people have genuine relationship and fellowship. When these relationship and fellowship does not exist the people who gather for worship becomes a crowd. What is needed today in the church is people who are willing to relate and may be also enter into another person’ life in term of genuine Christian relationship. If this does not happen, then worship and faith living can stoop down to a very individual and private level, where even in church I have a private space and I would want to be left alone. I believe church is not a place or a space for that purpose. Today lot of people would want to associate with a mega church may be because of its worship patterns, the music, the type of sermons and so on but what is important is when I attend church am I worshipping with fellow believers with whom I have genuine relationship and also true Christian fellowship? If this does not happen then the church in the digital age may seem to make the church relevant to the people but not the message of the gospel. Transformation in a parish is all about genuine relationship and fellowship among the members of the parish. That is what early church taught us.