A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Willow Creek Groups Conference. I’ve been processing a lot of what I heard, and I’ll share more about it in weeks to come. In one of the sessions, Bill Donahue interviewed Bobby Gruenewald from LifeChurch.tv. Life Church is known for being front runners in using technology to reach people. I had heard about their two newest initiatives, but it was good to hear Bobby explain it.
The first thing they have done is create an internet campus. This is an online version of their other campuses that have physical locations. They stream worship and messages live on the weekends, give people on opportunity to join a small group (either online or in person), talk with other internet campus attenders through a forum and even give online. They have people from all over the world who attend services online each weekend.
The second thing they have done is to start a church in second life. Second Life is an internet based virtual world that people live a “second life” in. You can learn more about it on Wikipedia here. You can see a video clip from one of their services here. They have bought property in this virtual world and have built a church that people can attend.
It was great to see what they are trying to do to reach people in a way that no one has really tried yet. Of course, it’s easy to be critical about the problems that come with doing something like this, but I’m grateful that they are courageous enough to blaze the trail for us. Who knows what this will lead to in the future. Culture is changing, and we can either adjust to it or become irrelevant. I’m not sure what the right way to reach the internet generation is, but I’m glad people are starting to work on it. My prayer is that we will be creative and innovative enough to stay ahead of culture and reach people where they are.