ministry renewing the church

iCampus – Why start an internet campus?

This is a series of responses to questions about an internet campus from a previous series of posts. Do you have any other questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments and I will try to respond to each one. Thanks!

Why start an internet campus?

This is a great question and a fundamental question for any organization considering a new venture. As a ministry of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection the answer is easy. It aligns with our purpose to build a Christian community where non-religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians. My hope is that an internet campus might be a way for those who have never heard the good news of Jesus Christ to become connected to a community of faith in which they might experience God’s love, receive forgiveness and be on the journey of knowing, loving and serving God toward becoming a deeply committed Christian.

If an internet campus does not connect with non-religious and nominally religious people, I do not think that it could be determined to be a success. To quote Craig Groeschel,

To reach people that no one else is reaching, you have to do things that no one else is doing.

To my knowledge there is no other church with an internet campus in the Kansas City area and I believe that it might be a way to connect with people that are not otherwise being reached with the good news of Jesus Christ.

Other responses to the question include, but are not limited to:

  • Renewing the mainline church
  • Providing a model for other United Methodist Churches
  • Share resources from Resurrection.

What do you think about my responses? How would you answer this question?

3 replies on “iCampus – Why start an internet campus?”

I think you need to add a generational element to this. How do you reach 20s and younger if their parents didn’t raise them in the church? How do you bring them back? Well, you go where they are–and they aren’t all hanging out in bars anymore. Nowadays, folks are sitting at home browsing Myspace, playing WoW, or blogging. It’s in the Methodist tradition to take what is familiar and spin it toward Christ–Charles Wesley did it with hymns, and we need to keep up the effort.

I have found my own baby blog to be a real point of connection with people. I started it to appease my in-laws (with whom I wasn’t close at all) when we got pregnant, and kept a record of belly pictures, ultrasound results, etc. When June was born, we posted photos, videos, etc of her. I still keep it up and have a devoted readership (mostly family, but some friends as well). What amazed me was the response I got from one year’s Thanksgiving Hargrove Family Reunion to the next year. Because I had a blog, random cousins and aunts and uncles and people I had met once before felt like they knew me. Instead of looking at me as “Andy’s wife, what’s her name again?” they were overflowing with affection and comments. They told me that I made them feel involved, that I made them feel included. Keeping up this blog has repaired relationships and forged new ones.

The internet generation expects to be able to connect online with a church community as well as IRL. It would be a mistake to avoid the step of an internet campus simply because it hasn’t been done before. We should be at the forefront–not the tail end–of engaging culture.

That’s not a textbook answer, of course–just food for thought!

Christine – I really appreciate your response, particularly the link to the Methodist tradition of engaging people where they are, and in this case online. Do you have any thoughts about what might be helpful / useful for an internet campus?

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