With the advancement of technology, we are able to connect with people nearly instantaneously from anywhere in the world. Reading, attending events, tours, grocery shopping, and many life activities can be accessed online. This allows for convenience, but does it take away from the experience? Church, for example, has the ability to be live-streamed, yet is an online church something that should take the place of in-person services?
Church online has the convenience of allowing people to watch services from anywhere and in any condition. If you are sick, or a long way from home, perhaps you want to share a sermon, then the technology to view services online can be a tremendous help. A senior business major who wishes to remain unnamed, speaks of some of the pros and cons of online church. She states, “A pro would definitely be convenience. If you are sick or can’t make it into church that weekend it is just right there.” She continued, “Con, it is very easy to become isolated. When you do church online, you are not there interacting with people.”
One argument for attending church in person is the idea of people as the Church, not a building. Janice, a psychology major in her junior year, states that “In-person builds better relationships. You are able to feel more comfortable and open up because you have that close bond. One downside of in-person church is you may get to know certain views that they (people in the church) might have that go against yours which might make it feel like you cannot open up.” The relationships found could be beneficial or hurtful if you do not find the right church for you.
A way that online church can be beneficial is using it to find a home church. If you are looking for a new church and do not want to have the somewhat uncomfortable get-to-know-you interaction with several different churches, you can start by attending online. This will allow you to get a feel for how the church functions and if it might be a good fit for you. Another way online is helpful is it can make you feel connected to home if you are away for an extended period. The familiarity can be comforting, especially for college students in a new state or too far from home to visit often.
Whether you attend church in person or online, it is important to have a church that is the right fit for you. If you feel that a change may be necessary, I encourage you to explore other churches. Asking friends, family, or your pastor for advice on where you might find a better connection to God and church family is a great place to start.
Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash