Join us for morning prayer & devotions online

I am always saying how I appreciate my congregation, St. Athanasius Lutheran Church, and our pastor, Rev. James Douthwaite.  I would like to invite you to join us online for our daily morning prayer and devotion.

It starts at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time (I know, that’s really early on the west coast) and lasts for 20-25 minutes.

What we do is begin with the opening of Matins, then we do the readings from the Treasury of Daily Prayer (a Psalm, Old Testament, New Testament, a  classic spiritual writing, a hymn verse, a collect), followed by prayer (including for prayer requests).  (If you don’t have a Treasury, you can follow along in your Bible.  A list of readings is given for every day.)

Go here: Daily Morning Prayer on the Web.  You’ll need to download a bit of free software the first time you come, but you can do that ahead of time.

I think it’s kind of cool that the online technology allows me to invite you to participate in an activity of our church.  I am not advocating “online church,” as if clicking on an online site is the same as actually meeting together, as the Bible calls for.  This is just morning devotion and prayer, not a worship service.  But I think you might find it helpful, edifying, and meaningful.

This might be something your own congregation could do.  (Are there other ways that your congregations are “reaching out” by using the web?)

Online churches

Think how mega your church could be if you were not limited by space or by the need for expensive “campuses.”  Think of a church so mega it could bring in people from around the country.  Think of a church that eliminated the barrier of making people leave their houses to go to church.  Think of a congregation whose whole existence is online. From via Church … Virtually |

</blockquote>Recently a number of churches have made the leap beyond multi-site and satellite campuses. They have launched internet campuses, making every living room, dorm room, or coffeehouse with wi-fi an extension of the church.

The trend started in 2007 with a handful of churches and has grown to dozens of congregations today. Some are large and highly visible churches, such as North Point Church near Atlanta, while others are small, but the momentum will likely lead to the launch of hundreds of virtual churches in the years ahead.

Online church is not simply a streaming video of a sermon or a podcast. Worship services have scheduled times so that attendees engage simultaneously. Efforts are made to ensure the experience is more interactive and less passive than you might imagine. Brian Vasil, who oversees the internet campus of Flamingo Road Church near Miami, says the aim of their internet campus is identical to that of their physical campuses.

“We want to help people take steps toward Christ. We do not want them to just consume good teaching, but to engage and connect,” he says. “Many people hear of internet campus and think that it must be pretty passive—people sitting in their pajamas watching a video. But we have leveraged technology to provide a chat room where worshippers mingle and talk with one another and with me, their campus pastor. We also have online Bible studies and online programs for teens and kids. Through the week, our internet campus offers forums, book studies, leadership studies, and small groups. We take prayer requests online—about 150 each week.”</blockquote>

So, what do you think of this?  Does it count as assembling together?  Do congregations need the real presence of anybody?

HT: Matthew Lee Anderson at Evangel