Tim Bulkeley blogged about the subject of the church and social capital. He suggests that, if he preaches on his blog to an audience of hundreds worldwide, in addition to those present in a congregation he is physically present with on Sunday, then there has been a gain, not a loss.
That got me thinking. If I were to go buy a piece of property and call it planting a new church, one with a progressive Christian outlook of the sort I articulate on this blog, and invite people to attend, I suspect that there would be relatively few who would do so with any regularity. Few are interested in having those traditional sorts of Sunday meetings, who are not already involved in them somewhere.
But if we acknowledge that church is wherever Christians gather, and not a particular building or even a designated space, then it can be argued that this blog is “church” – especially given that it is a place where I, as a Christian, gather together with others, and do things like communicate, teach, and sometimes even sing.
We form community in different ways today, and in different places. If we ask whether church is continuing to have a vibrant existence in the buildings where it traditionally has, the answer may be yes or no. But if the question is instead whether Christians are creating communities, interacting with one another, studying the Bible, discussing important subjects, making music, and collaborating on matters of common concern, then surely the answer is yes, is it not?In that case, perhaps people have been misled because they have been asking about what is going on in traditional church venues, without ever considering the possibility that church could be something different, which may have moved elsewhere.