Is your church offering online worship or online ministry? There is a huge distinction in definition let alone the resulting fruitfulness for me in the two. Offering online worship is providing a 30-minute to one-hour worship experience. Offering online ministry is providing a comprehensive offering of the full expression of the church.
Let’s unpack what is intended here by “comprehensive offering of the full expression of the church.” Let’s start by what it is not. It is not offering every traditional or historical event we have ever offered. It is not about offering every class we have ever taught. It is not about the same service projects we have been doing for thirty years. It is not simply videoing the service and offering the recording on your website. In other words, it is not about offering the status quo of what congregational life was like inside the building.
Here is what it is: It is offering hospitality, connection, relationship, discipleship, serving, worshiping, praying, generosity, and evangelism. Yes, it is all of these full expressions of the church offered in fresh, innovative, and contextual methods for those who have been gathering for quite some time, those newly gathered, and those yet to gather.
Whether we are the church in a building or online, we must be the full expression of the church. Not only are churches not offering the full expression of the church online, they had not been offering the full expression of the church in the building. For example, some churches were not reaching new people, discipling existing let alone new people, or intentionally connecting relationally with people outside the church family through hospitality, a connection process, evangelism or service. It is still surprising the number of churches who have no hospitality or connection for their online worship experience or offer any sort of small group for discipleship. It is heartbreaking the number of churches who only focus on those that were gathered in the building rather than seeing the monumental opportunity to reach new people with this new method (for some) of doing church online.
Here is my challenge for you: Gather your leadership team, pose this question, and have a discussion. Is your church offering online worship or online ministry?