Get Ready for Church 3.0
Are you ready for Church 3.0? James Emery White has a new book out entitled Hybrid Church: Rethinking the Church in a Post-Christian Digital Age. Here is a quote from an email his organization sent out.
“It is time to put forward a simple but provocative thesis: the church must respond to the new reality of a post-Christian world and the digital revolution by becoming something it has never been before.
The church must respond this way, first, because of the rise of the nones and the post-Christian world we live in have changed our mission field entirely and, second, because the digital revolution has changed our means of communicating with that mission field. The significance of these changes cannot be overstated. When you look at the cultural challenge facing the mission of the church, regardless of the era, two key dynamics have always been at play: one is the nature of the mission field, and the second is the nature of communication needed to reach that mission field.1.“
That is a lot to unpack, but I believe White is correct. The Gospel is always relevant. From the Roman Road to the iPhone, the Church has always used the technology of the day to help spread The Good News. The Gutenberg press revolutionized the world. It helped put the Bible into the hands of the laity. The Digital Revolution that we are living through is such a time as that. Instead of bemoaning a day that no longer exists, we must use the opportunities that revolution affords us to spread The Good News. It’s our Roman Road.
I’m old enough to remember another book of White’s called Opening the Front Door: Worship and Church Growth, written thirty years ago. White then made the startling observation that Sunday School was no longer the front door to church membership. Worship was the new front door. As a young pastor, I remember changing our church’s outreach strategy based on that new reality. In Hybrid Church, White declares that the new front door of the church is digital.
White gives four Digital Front Door Assumptions that are worth noting.
- People want to check a church out online before attending in person.
- They may attend or view online for months before visiting in person.
- They want to be able to interact online.
- They are accustomed to being served digitally in almost every way.
In my experience working with churches across the county over the last twenty-plus years, I have seen these four assumptions play out in large and small churches. The churches that best survived Covid had already begun to move towards a hybrid approach. Now, post-Covid, it’s questionable whether any church can survive without some hybrid approach. This is especially true regarding how people today give to their church.
White had this to say on that, “We’re not easing into this. It’s not a gradual change. It’s been abrupt, which means we have to adapt quickly. We simply can’t do church in a 1.0 or 2.0 way anymore. But we can do Church 3.0, … and that means going hybrid.”
My commitment is to provide you with all the latest advice on all the digital tools you need to be Church 3.0. The 21st century has changed our methods of communicating. It hasn’t changed what we communicate. The Good News that Jesus is the answer to all the ills and challenges of our day!
Shameless Commercial! My sponsor is OnlineGiving.org. I’ve been in the online space for about twenty years; having my own company for years as well as writing for several online firms. At OG we are tooling up for Church 3.0. Is your partner? Let us show you how our platform and services can better position you to meet the challenges of the Digital Revolution. Contact us at (615) 206-4000 or email@example.com, and we will give you a free demonstration!
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach
- White, J. (2023), Hybrid Church: Rethinking the Church in a Post-Christian Digital Age. Zondervan