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Is an Online Church Really a Church?

Ed Stetzer says every church should have an online presence, but a physical presence is necessary as well.

Come on—it’s 2014.

Every church should have an online presence.

Your church people and your community are there, so you should be as well. But that is different than referring to something that happens via your website as a “church.”

Can an online gathering of Christians be classified as a church? Let’s think through this by asking five questions.

Should Churches be Online?

If a church is not online, then it is not actually engaging the culture. A church needs to be where the people gather and they are online and on social media sites.

Pew Research found that 72 percent of online adults use social media. Every age group continues to experience growth, particularly those over 65 who have tripled their usage in the last four years—from 13 percent in 2009 to 43 percent this year.

Despite the overwhelming trends in social media usage, LifeWay Research discovered that less than half of all churches are engaged on Facebook. A full 40 percent are not using any social networking tools. I think that’s just bad stewardship.

I’ve said before, only half jokingly, that pastors who are not on Twitter are in sin. Social media is a valid ministry of the church. Online community can enhance the physical community.

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