Criticism of 'Churchome' Reveals What Church Is To Criticizers

Every ministry has their approach. Every church does ministry a bit different. The Bible does provide a framework, but its pretty open-ended on how you do “church.” Now that doesn’t mean many are doing church wrong and few are doing it better. There is a range, but I find the common criticism of many online ministries more a reflection on American church.

For example, Judah Smith just launched a new church called Churchome. I wrote a post last week about my curiosity about the new endeavor. A ministry focused on being decentralized through an app. If you watch the video what you never hear is this church is solely online, and physical community is irrelevant in today's world. What you hear is a vision to reach those who are unconnected, teach them the Bible, and get them into a community through groups. You only learn about the group offering if you don't skim the headlines, download the app, and investigate the idea.

Jump on Twitter and what you see are headline readers, and most likely already haters of his ministry getting stuck on “The phone in the palm of your hand” line and using the word “church” together while thinking the ministry is all virtual.

What if their groups become home gatherings? What if they use this considerable influence to plant physical churches everywhere? What if they do an “Online to offline” strategy powered by the current digital disruption?

Why are people so childly quick to hate on this idea?

  • The church hates change. There are many good reasons to resist movements, but not all new ideas are wrong. Christians can use a little something called wisdom.

  • America church thinks of “church" as large gathering. Home gatherings aren’t real church too many pastors and theological leaders. Home meetings are just a Bible study. Evangelicalism birthed mega and giga churches in the states, but there isn’t a size quota on church beyond three people.

  • Christians hate unclean spaces. Yes, the internet has bad uses, but I believe it can be received and redeemed. The church loves to swing counter to the way society goes. Alcoholism is an issue and the church rallies for prohibition. People stare at their phones too long, so let’s reject the internet. America’s short history is littered with these shifts.

I’m not saying I know everything Churchome is about, and I do know many online ministries that have a lousy ecclesiology, but let's not rush to throwing rocks. Let’s see the full pitch. Let’s see it in action. A decentralizing church is biblical. Plus, Guess what? The world needs more people planting churches!

Think of this idea as a good capitalist. There is plenty of pie for everyone and not enough people serving it up. Instead of criticizing ask more questions. I have many questions, but that doesn’t mean I’m not rooting for them to reach more people and plant home gatherings. I’m praying for them, and I think you should too.