Saturday, March 29, 2008

Fundamental Functions of the Online Church (Part 3 of 6)

Yesterday, I explained that the first part of UpReach is Worship, but I also told you we would look at UpReach 1.5 today. I hear your voice already. What is UpReach 1.5?

UpReach 1.5 is a function of the church that spans both UpReach and InReach, so in a sense it is InReach 1.5 too, but that distinction will get confusing later in this series. Trust me on this. UpReach 1.5 is the way to go with it. You can thank me after you read Part 6 of this series.

Upreach 1.5 - Discipleship
UpReach 1.5 is the Fundamental Function of the Church that spans both UpReach and InReach and it's what is commonly known as Discipleship. This is a pretty "churchy" term, but the basic idea is that one of the Fundamental Functions of the church is to take a person who is already a believer in Jesus Christ and help them to form a closer relationship with Him. Primarily biblical teaching is where this happens, but it happens in community with other believers as well.

Too often our churches have been good at "getting people saved" and not so good at "making disciples." Salvation is the first step, of course, but we must never forget it is the first step of a long and exciting journey.

I think the online church has the opportunity to do discipleship pretty well. We function within a community of people sharing ideas on blogs, interacting with each other in social networks, and twittering their lives to each other almost constantly. The online church needs to strategically use these powerful tools to encourage people to have a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. That sentence is true for any church that seeks to engage people living in the 21st century whether it's an online church or not.

What do you think? Can the online church perform the function of discipleship? How does your church use technology like this to encourage discipleship?

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