Faith, Children, and Church Online

Watch this great video (embedded above) by Dana Byers about how to “Engage Your Kids in Church Online.”

I’ll tell you that I too was very skeptical with Church Online in general before diving deep into what and how it can be used for the Kingdom.

Take it a step further and even today with my 3 year old daughter, would I be willing to have Church Online be a significant part of her faith journey?

I’m thankful for people like Dana who is willing to experiment by faith with new technologies with her own children.

Way to go.

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John Saddington

I am the CEO of 8BIT and a Full Time Entrepreneur/a>. I like what I do.

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  1. says

    i view church online as another great tool in building your childrens faith, but being a part of a local church body is essential. We read in Acts about the importance of physically being in the local church. Online church should be used to supplement the primary church experience, be it house church, a plant at a ymca or a traditional church building…rubbing shoulders, shaking hands, worshipping & serving alongside other brothers and sisters is necessary and Biblical.

    • Dave says

      Agreed. There is no substitute for authentic Christian community; in person. Tough to fufill some of the ‘one another’ mandates.

  2. says

    My daughter is 4 years old and LOVES Church Online. True, she doesn't understand the message, but she loves the worship and knows the names of several of the regular on-screen people. When we are at an online experience she often wants to watch along with us.

  3. says

    It's great to have kids involved in the "Grown-up" worship experience. No bones to pick there, but I really worry that the idea of Church Online might be taking something from our kids spiritual experience. There is something profound about Widening the Circle of spiritual influence with our kids. Letting them get to know other adults, and leaders by name and face and form relationships with those saying the same things I say to my kids at home…or what they hear online. I know that there are other ways to do this, besides church (and it pains me to say this); but there is nowhere more built in to do it than church. The bricks and mortar church is unrivaled at providing this for the family and children specifically.

    So great to hear that they're using the LifeKids materials, those are fantastic!

  4. Dana Byers says

    I agree the local church is a great network for the family! It's important that I explain why our family's home church is church online. My husband and I run Blue Door Ministries, Inc., which we launched in London 2 years ago. We've been in 9 different countries in the past 4 months working on projects with churches and pastors. Currently, we live in Poland to help translate church online and free materials for churches into Polish with the help of a local Evangelical Polish church team. Our family engages with Christian families all over the globe online and in person (often staying with or living next door to them). Having church online as my church home has caused me to play a much greater role in my and my children's spiritual development, in engaging in Biblical community, and in personal evangelism than were I still relying heavily on my local church to provide it all for us each week.

  5. says

    Its interesting to see the balance of comments here. I grew up in small church of 50-120 people over the years, and I am now attending a church of close to 1200. And so I have seen group dynamics on both sides of the table. Jonathan & WallyYocum I heartily applaud your desire to see kids involved in the local church, but I would like to ask the chances that most kids have a chance to interact with their parents and adults through a majority of the service in many churches and not get shuffled off to "Children's Church."

    Yes you can say that it each parent's choice but in some cases its even expected so that the adults can receive instruction without distraction. In reality it comes down to the value that a church places on its children not just through their statements and beliefs but their actions as well.

    Thus I would have to suggest that its not online church's vs. non-online churchs that need to be discussed, as much of the composition of where and how people choose to connect with the global body of Christ. Yes if they simply consume instruction and Godly teaching and do nothing beyond that, then yes every concern should be raised. In how many cases is this true of so many of us today, in real flesh and blood church services though.

    If however this couple is connection with Life Church and ministering alongside other believers in the local community, then maybe we should give this concept some additional thought.

  6. says

    I see a lot of great needs that church online can meet, however how do children (and teenagers, and even adults) build real, life friendships, and relationships? They may be able to meet some friends that they video chat with at some time, but the purpose of church is WAY more then watching a person talk, and a band play songs – it's about community. I understand all of the ways people can build community at an online church, but as children (and teenagers) are developing, it's important they have other voices in their life speaking truth, adults that can pour into them, and even more important – building real, life, (physical) relationships with people at their church. Sharing life is important for all ages, but even more-so for children (and teenagers). They NEED shared memories that only a physical church, and physical people can give them. Mission trips, camp, lock-ins, broom-ball, hanging out with their peers after church at Chile's, etc. This is so, so important.

    As adults it's easier for us to understand that relationships, and community, can be had in more "virtual" places (although nothing can replace a physical, human relationship), but children and teenagers? I don't think so. I look at the small children at church playing on the playground, and having fun with their peers, while learning truths about God, and how He loves them. This is so important. I wonder how you replace that having church online?

    This is one of my main concern about church online, we are made in the image of The "imago dei", and thus we are in need of physical, real, community, and relationships – it's in our DNA.

    Thankful that we can dialogue about this, as we attempt to see people become who God has created them to be.

  7. a.bird says

    As it relates to this, I gather not a online versus "normal" church, but I see a greater question in what are parents doing to be involved. Are the parents doing the molding or are they relying on the church (online or not) to sculpt? Often times I see brick & mortar churches with awesome kids programs handing out great materials for the the parents to expand on the teaching but very few parents use the material and simply leave it in the car only to be thrown out a few days later (or as soon as they get home). I know I'm guilty of that. The same thing can be with online church, in that there are tons of resources to go deeper, but how often is it used with the children? I don't think this video shows any pros or cons to "doing church" online, rather it shows how a family is effectively using the resources provided by the church she (virtually) attends. I think it would be the same as showing how a family uses the handouts from their brick & mortar church.

    As it relates to the discussion of virtual church versus brick & mortar, I don't understand why we, as Christians, are pitting two goods against each other. It's both/and, not either/or. So your Christian brother/sister attends a virtual church. So what? Do they no longer have the saving grace of our Father? I'm dismayed this is as big a deal as it is.

    I don't buy the premise that "physicality" or one's proximity to other believers makes a church or worship service. Why can't an online attender mingle/hang out/fellowship with folks from a brick & mortar church? Does not attending the worship service preclude them from the activities of another church? Are they disqualified to participate in outreaches or mission trips put on by the church down the street because they don't attend their services? Or is it for members only? What if virtual church attenders in the same neighborhood got together for a service project or mission trip, does it not count because they attend a virtual church? In the end, both virtual & pew-sitting church attender have the same after-service dilemma: why can't our friends, family & us agree on where to eat after church?

    I can't help to wonder if it simply boils down to what's your corporate worship style preference: do you prefer to worship in a concert setting or do you prefer to worship in front of your computer screen? For me, I'll take the brick & mortar church.

  8. says

    Great thoughts. As a bricks and mortar Children's Pastor; we strive to beat that "take the kids away" mentality. There has to be some balance in there, and I can't agree more with the separation fear between adults and kids.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Church Online 2009 November 4 by Daniel Berman Its interesting to see the balance of comments here. I grew up in small church of 50-120 people over the years, and I am now attending a church of […]

  2. […] online turned into a great discussion at a friend’s website when he posted my video there.  Click here to watch the video and check out some of the thought-provoking comments that follow John’s […]

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