Twenty years ago I got my first modem. I was an early adopter (none of my friends had one), it was a cutting-edge dial-up blazing fast at 300 bits per second. Today I'm using a modem that is 8 megabits per second--literally 26,000 times faster than my original modem.
In 1984, my first PC had two floppy drives and no hard-drive. I used one floppy for my software and the other for data.
Five years ago I had one computer hooked up to my internet connection. Today, there are 15 "machines" in my house connected to the outside world (4 computers, 2 iPhones, 4 VOIP phones, 1 iPod Touch, 1 TV, 1 Xbox, 1 Bluray, 1 DVR)...and that increases when I have guests in the house.
The world is changing, and it is changing at a rapid pace.
For example, the image below is what pops up when I turn my DVD player on. A machine which was originally created to play movies from a disc can now (when connected to the internet ) stream movies from Netflix and Blockbuster, as well as play videos from YouTube and music from Pandora. It's old school to actually go to the video store for a movie.
My TV is able to display my Twitter feed, Ebay activity and play movies from Amazon Video on Demand. I'm not bragging...I'm just saying it is a changing world. If your TV or DVD player doesn't do these things yet--it will soon.
I don't know all of the impact these changes will have for the church...but I think some things are possible:
- Online church won't be restricted to watching from your PC or laptop. It will enter the living room in stunning color and high resolution.
- Churches will stream Bible classes and other teaching right to the living rooms of their attendees. "Our membership class will take place this Wednesday evening at 7pm in every home of our church."
- The local church will no longer be geographically limited. You will have true participants and volunteers all over the world.
- As online church gains popularity, the community aspect will increase. Not only can they "attend" a service with hundreds of people online, but they can attend physically with 10 or 15 people in their own house.
- The distinction between "house church" and "online church" will begin to blur.
I am jazzed about the possibilities. What about you...does this seem scary? Or exciting?