We need Church 2.0

On Saturday I spoke at conference in London about what the future of the church might look like.  I focused on the themes of social media, the digital explosion and how huge a sociological change it all really is. My goal was to show the links between technology and spirituality.

The main challenge I brought to the room was that we need to move from what I’d call “Church 1.0” to “Church 2.0”.

“Web 1.0” refers to the era of the internet where sites and information were mainly passive and static. You went online to read information then walked away to do something with it. Web 1.0 used to be revolutionary but now it just feels boring and lacking in participation.

Web 2.0 refers to the way the ‘net is today – active and participatory. You go on Amazon.com and they suggest books you’ll like based on what you’ve previously ordered. You search using Google and it knows where you live and what you’ve searched for before, so it feeds back intelligent results tailored for you.  This is normal now, but wasn’t before. This is Web 2.0.

In 2.0 we get to SHAPE our digital environment, rather than just passively OBSERVING it. If we buy the book Amazon suggests to us, we can then leave a comment about whether it was good or bad. On social networks we get to shape the platforms with our own content. As a result we are no longer used to being PASSIVE. We no longer just sit and receive broadcasted information (like listening to radio, or watching non-interactive TV); we have a voice, power, a platform and it’s become the norm.

So what’s that got to do with Church? Well, think about your church. Is it 1.0 or 2.0? A 1.o Church would look something like this: a few people up the front ‘doing things to’ the people in the seats. Broadcasting pre-written material to people while they sit and watch. Standing up the front with a guitar and pre-chosen set list, singing them with your eyes clamped shut and no knowledge of how the room are responding. This, from the many people I’ve chatted with, is how their average Sunday looks. It feels very 1.0 and is increasingly alien for a young generation who have been brought up with Web 2.0 as their everyday culture.


So what would “Church 2.0” be like? I believe it would be a participatory experience. No one would be a passive bystander. Those in the room would SHAPE the content and the flow as it takes place. No one could be bored as all would be involved and engaged. The service would reflect who was in the room. If different people attended, then the content would be different as the room are SHAPING it. No one would wield all the power; it would be COMMUNAL. It would be hard to tell who’s actually leading the service as everyone would be such a vital part.

I feel this is what is missing in our churches and what is causing many young people and 20s/30s to leave. Culturally we are used to 2.0 culture and when we don’t find it in Church, it’s likely that leaving will be the response. Practically speaking, it’s tough to figure out what Church 2.0 would look like. For example, how would a sermon look that was crowdsourced and crowd engaging? Isn’t one person broadcasting from the front for 30 minutes the epitome of 1.0 culture? Or is the concept of oratory still valid today? Do we need TED style talks of 18 minutes, then a free for all where a wireless mic gets passed around for anyone to comment?

How would sung worship in a 2.0 model look? Would we crowdsource the choice of songs and hymns via Twitter or a Survey Monkey poll? Would we cease having a band/organist and just start songs spontaneously?

Does Church 2.0 need a building at all? In Acts we see Jesus-followers meeting in home and doing life together. Is the money we spend on huge buildings and their upkeep something needed, or are they just adding to the static, non participatory sit-and-watch culture of 1.0?

One important thing as we ponder these questions: in new forms of web technology, testing goes through a “beta phase”. This is a phase where glitches are expected and allowed. “Beta testers” are those who experiment with the new tech and feedback on how it could be improved. To explore Church 2.0 we need to take the role of beta testers; to have a go and know that mistakes are totally permitted!

What do you think about all this? How would Church 2.0 look and function, practically? Would you like to see this shift in your Church, if you attend one?
  • Just read your new blog post… exciting stuff. I think I’m on the same page as you re this… in fact this is the stuff I was talking about at the Oxford conference last spring. The church needs to realise that this isn’t just a new place to do our old way of doing church… we need a renewed theology – there’s a lot of overlap with the explosion at Pentecost in what’s happening with the web – the increased egalitarianism, the sense of enabling everyone to build something together, and the strong idea of grace – giving something away for nothing – that pervades a lot of what is happening on the web in general and social media in particular. 

  • Interesting post! Looking forward to reading more about this.

    Couple of thoughts, though. This Church 2.0 idea sounds to me like a great way to do church (actually, it sounds an awful lot like alt.worship), but I’m not convinced by the idea that this is somehow “what our culture expects”. 

    Is there any event in our culture that people regularly attend that operates in the way you’ve described? Well… no. Are there calls for football matches to become Sport 2.0, so the teams play for twenty minutes and then everyone has a kickabout? Well… no. 

    Actually, are there online spaces like this? Again… not really. When you visit a Web 2.0 site, you might expect the site to recognise and respond to you, to give you a chance to post a comment, maybe start a conversation, but you don’t expect to get involved with a major redesign. Amazon doesn’t ask me about it’s pricing schemes and invite suggestions for upcoming special offers. You’re not really describing Web 2.0 in this post – what you’re talking about is the open source software movement, and that’s always been a niche interest. 

    Most visitors to Web 2.0 sites don’t comment at all – they just like reading what the minority of content creators and commenters are saying. YouTube videos can have millions of views and a few hundred comments. Most people who buy books on Amazon don’t post reviews. So a real “Church 2.0” based on Web 2.0 wouldn’t actually expect everyone to get involved and be creative – it would end up as a big crowd of people watching (and maybe chatting about) the creative efforts of a few. 

    Hang on – isn’t that what we have already?

  • watfordgap

    Yes, I agree Vicky, we do need to re-think and realign for where society is now and how society receive and consume media and information. We also need to look at what role ‘church’ plays in society and in communities too.

    Whilst an open ‘free for all’ may not work and I agree with you Tim … isn’t the ratio something like 90:9:1 (Read, Respond, wRite), I know there are people in the pews who would welcome the opportunity to share something of their Christian faith, if only they had the chance. I’ve seen it when we’ve had that kind of service. I can also see the way crowd-sourcing of songs and topics etc. could work (Richard Littledale has a great blog post about this).

    We don’t have Football 2.0, although x thousand people in grounds across the country may wish sometimes we did! but Football is largely a spectator sport, Church isn’t. We all have a gift and a role to play in making it as relevant as possible to people we know.

    Not all churches have the knowledge, capability, finances or awareness of what’s needed to make this happen, maybe by example or through social media surgeries we can show them? We also need to be sensitive to those who could be put off by this style … but I guess these points may be subjects for another instalment of your blog?!

    We had a video this evening that got people talking over coffee afterwards. (Believe me, for many seeing a laptop and a projector at the front was a big step, not from Web 1.0, but from Web 0.1!!) 
    It was this one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJWkQ9UP_m8.

    Interesting discussions there and here too.

  • Chuckt

    I feel that it is hard to compete with Facebook and I closed my Christian message board because no one wanted to do a Bible study so I’m scratching my head and asking what good is Church 2.0 if there is just entertainment and no study?  What good is the package if we can’t get people to do simple things like study the Bible in a community?

    I’ve been online before there was an internet since 1983 and my wife has always told me to quit because it is more effective to love your neighbor.  You can’t really experience love from me through a keyboard so why bother?

    I have a second child on the way and they need a father so I’m going to spend more time with them and very little time online.  It means that I’m going to deny the things I want to do and be there for my kids instead of write hundreds of Biblical articles and Bible studies.

  • James P

    Good post Vicky – my church is definitely more of a ‘Church 2.0’ which actively encourages participation over just observing. In all honesty I think church as Jesus originally planned it was meant to be ‘Church 2.0’. So in one sense ‘Church 1.0’ was meant to be what we are now calling ‘Church 2.0’. I think we are all called to participate in whatever way we can and are gifted to, God has designed us to be participants not spectators, as much as we can. And this participation can be in less obvious and subtle ways as well as the more obvious ways. Interesting topic and should be a good discussion, looking forward to more blog posts on this.

  • This year we started a monthly service that has the usual mix of songs, talk and prayers but in a more relaxed setting and only lasts about 35 minutes.  Afterwards, there is time to chat with others about the points raised.  It seems a bit like blogging: the ideas/content are presented and then people comment afterwards.  Personally I prefer this to people sticking their own 2p in during the service, which can be cringe-worthy at best and divisive at worst.

    I’m not sure how many people actually take up the challenge in the second part. I think it is like Tim and watfordgap say, a large proportion of people do no comment at all.  I walk around and hear discussions on anything but the service topic.  It’s a bit like people playing Angry Birds or searching for videos of skateboarding dogs in your seminar; you may have mentioned these things, but that wasn’t really what you’d hoped they would focus on.

  • @graeme_campbell

    I think we need to just keep it really simple, and not throw the baby out with the bath water. Something that Wimber spoke about, “every body gets to play”.
    At the moment our culture and our churches are full of consumers and providers. We need to switch that so everyone is a co-laboror, that’s the key. It’s not that radically different to what church is now except it stops becoming abou us and more of us get off our backsides and get stuck in.

  • Graeme

    Feels like stretching the metaphor a little.. Using all this esoteric IT language to describe something that is dynamically completely different. #notconvinced

  • Graeme

    I think opening up the floor after a sermon can often open things up to the same loud-mouths every time (I’m sounding harsh because I’ve seen it happen). Some people do just like to hear themselves talk, whereas others understand the difference between when you have something useful to say and when you don’t. This is why we have a leadership hierarchy in the church in  the first place; not that I think Vicky is suggesting we get rid of Pastors and ministers altogether. So yeah I agree with you on the first paragraph there.

    We’ve had a few themed discussion groups after some services recently. These are semi-formal, which I think is good in our Presbyterian culture, because if people were just left to talk about things themselves, they probably wouldn’t..


    Church 2 is very exciting and something i’m sure many people are exploring at the minute (I know I am) but I wonder if web 1 and web 2 are the wrong analogy?

    The church IS in a state of flux, there IS a need for something new but I’m not sure it will replace the old. I think it’s far more complex than moving from web 1 to web 2, there will always be people who need leading, those who may not want to fully participate or those who need healing as part of their journey before they can emerce themselves into church 2. As with other times of great transformation in the church, the old doesn’t disappear, the new adds to the amazing spectrum of church life – I don’t think we can say a particular church is now irrelevant in the same way web 1 definately is archaic.

    Anywho – church 2 is very exciting, it’s what I feel called to be a part of so here is a couple of thoughts…

    church 2 sermon – yes to crowdsourced, probably discussion rather than presentation
    church 2 worship – mix of music and other expressions, re-introduce visual and performing arts as mainstream and accepted options
    church 2 building – if you’ve got one, use it. If it’s falling down, ditch it – if you like cafes, use them…  if people need help on the allotment, meet there. It doesn’t have to be the same place regularly, church 2 is not about being comfortable.

  • Andrew Finden

    I see where you’re going with the analogy (and we shouldn’t stretch it too far.. e.g. web 2.0 is having an effect on things like reading attention spans etc.) Perhaps a bigger issue is not so much whether church is passive or active, but that we’ve made it an event rather than a community. So the question becomes, what does a gospel community look like, and how do gatherings and teaching and discipleship take place within that?

  • If it means ‘body ministry’ where everyone is invited to contribute to the building up of the body then of course… (how we can start with the Bible and land anywhere else bemuses me)

    If it means preaching that gets into the heads and hearts and experience of the listener, then of course… the best preaching has always been that. Whether from the variable methodology of the apostles, or just John Stott’s observations 50 years ago about having a Bible in one hand a newspaper in the other.

    And whilst rumour has it our culture doesn’t like to be addressed by one voice
    a) we still buy papers, watch TV for hours, watch sport…
    and b) there’s a theological component here of God addressing his people – and whilst he invites us into his counsel (like Abraham in Gen 18), there’s a level at which he speaks rather than inviting us into a discussion… isn’t there?

    The problem – as observed – is that in a Web 2.0 world most people still just watch and don’t interact… and the perceived interactivity of the web isn’t all that personal – its just data analysis, which is helpful but not actually personal – we’ve all been offered very strange things by Amazon cos the stats would fit…

    Probably just time to keep on embracing what the Bible says… and come to meet and serve one another, and to be in the presence of God. Seems thats quite alien to many today who are part of “church” which makes me both sad and very thankful that my church (part of newfrontiers) seems set up for every member involvement on various levels.

  • James, the analogy may not be as far off as you think.  Web 2.0 didn’t simply replace Web 1.0, but is built using the foundation of 1.0 with new ideas and technology added on or integrated with it. With Church 2.0 the same can surely be true.

    The problem with new technological ideas is often that the hype gives an impression (for a short while) that you have to throw everything old away.  However, the reality in the corporate IT world is that we are holding on to what we have, but providing an interface through which newer systems can access that legacy in new and exciting ways.So I agree with you: with Church 2.0, we need to make sure that we don’t over-hype what’s new and scare off or marginalise those for whom Church 1.0 is the answer.  Not least because Church 2.0 needs to draw on that legacy itself.

  • Some great comments on this post so far.  

    This is something I have been thinking about for three years or so. Church is not so much about “doing church” but about “being church”  How does this carry over into cyberspace? How does this translate to a local church being salt and light in their community and having an impact that makes a difference in peoples’ lives in the real world? 

    There are a couple of dangers that I can see to Church 2.0.  The first is that it can create a sense of belonging without a sense of commitment to a local church.  Social media is very good at connecting people. Social media can help create consensus around a cause without necessarily leading to any form of action.  

    The second is that it could potentially end up being exclusive.  Excluding those that cannot afford the technology or do not want to use technology.  Church is meant to be inclusive.

    The best model that I have come across in the Bible for “doing” church is 1 Corinthians 14:26.  Do we have this in our churches today?  Some churches come close but I think we still have a long way to go.  

    Anything that helps us on our way to this cannot be all bad.

  • Good comment Andrew, Have you read “Total Church” by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis? It looks at re-shaping church around gospel and community. It talks of different ways to approach teaching and discipleship.

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  • Mark Howe

    I like the idea of church being more interactive, more democratic, more fluid etc. But I’m not sure that Web 2.0 is a great analogy, since the term doesn’t actually mean anything. Much of “Web 1.0” was interactive – usenet anyone? – and much of “Web 2.0” isn’t. The Internet is still and will probably always be about consuming far more than we produce. That assymmetry is where the A in ADSL comes from – even telephone exchanges are wired with this assumption baked in!

  • The form of stage led church you describe has developed out of a charismatic movement that desired the sort of relationships you define as Church 2.0. The 1970’s house churches quickly formed new leadership structures & suffered from issues related to heavy shepherding. In my experience their descendants still do.

    As @twitter-206134015:disqus has shared the ratio between content creation / response and consumption in Web 2.0 is low. If 100 people read a blog I post then I expect only a few comments. I honestly get more feedback and reflection and disagreement from what I share in Church than I do on the internet. In the Church I am part of a far greater proportion of people are involved in creative content than on the Web. So a Web 2.0 based Church would be a step backwards.

    Perhaps what people are searching for is simply small church?

  • Very useful food for thought here – both blog & comment thread. But in many of the rural churches I work with the situation is far closer to that described in Edward Green’s comment. What seems to be most appreciated is community/networking/interaction that focuses on small & doable. The interactivity that Vicky describes & which attracts the constituency she considers does geneuinely happen without the need for a web interface.
    In addition, there are important assumptions that lie behind a church 2.0 approach about accessibility (broadband & mobile phone coverage) that almost automatically exclude large proportions of rural churches and communities. (See John Popham’s Can’t Get Online Week blog & FB page.)
    Nevertheless there are many things that churches can – and probably should – do to improve opportunities for interaction & participation.

  • Michiel van Heusden

    Thanks for posting this, Vicky, and thanks for some insightful replies.

    Just two thoughts:1. I agree with Tim Hutchings and Dave Bish that 2.0, having great potential, does not necessarily lead to the active participation we would like to see in our churches. Thinking about the character of participation in the 2.0-development the main activities by participants seem to be ‘liking’, ‘commenting’, ‘buying’, ‘watching’, ‘recommending’, etc. In other words, often quite passive, consumer-like behavior. If as churches we’re moving into a time of more direct participation during services, how do we make sure  that other activities are allowed for and encouraged, such as ‘serving’, ‘thinking’, ‘giving’, ‘loving’, etc.?

    2. It seems to me that an important part of leadership is keeping balance and sometimes even making impopular choices. For example, when it comes to choice of songs in a service, I feel there’s a need to sing certain songs (e.g. songs of lament, songs of repentance) that may or may not be voted most popular but still need to be part of our meeting with God. How do we hold this tension together?

  • I was musing this morning on Martin Luther, and how political change and improved communications technology both contributed significantly to making ‘his’ reformation successful. We have a similar combination with a church ‘in trouble’ now, so maybe the conditions are right for Church 2.0 (by whatever name).
    It’s worth remembering, though, that ‘The Reformation’ neither did away with nor replaced what came before.

  • I’m wondering whether the church always has existed as a BETA version of the real deal anyway, and the inconsistencies, the bugs and flaws that get worked out in a BETA version remind us that we are not the fullness of new creation that we are meant to be and only will fully be when the complete comes. 1 Corinthians 13:10 right?

    I agree to an extent but I still think that some of the church 1.0 features are as relevant to the church today (31st October 2011) as when the church first used them. I agree with what Matt Slingsby said about the movement from 1.0 t0 2.0, but I also am mindful that over egging the analogy of church and technology leaves one or two worrying extras. 

    Technology is pretty faddish and these days crazy amounts of money are spent by big business chasing fads, which is reminiscent of the dotcom bubble burst scenario. The church faces this and has struggled with it, and I really hope that it doesn’t cause explosions in local churches and turn people off Christ.

    The other is that technology moves so fast that no-one ever truly has chance to catch up and the expendability of technology as a result is concerning. Again, I can see how this might already be happening in the local church, with the constant influx of new materials for worship as an example.  It’s my guess that there may not be many songs from the last 5 years and if things carry on like this for the next 5 years that are remembered by the time we hit 2020.
    That might be because worship leaders are under pressure to write and release albums to make money to survive and continue to be relevant and in the sphere of the local church when it comes to worship materials. 

    My 2 pence on the growth of church is that above all it’s vital to remain true to growing every member of the local church to know God more and to be more Christlike; and sometimes it means having to patiently work alongside those who tweet 10 times during the sermon to understand that the person 4 seats down, or along the pew, doesn’t even know what tweeting is and therefore needs to be pastored to make sure that they don’t become disillusioned by new technology, or providing creative outlets for their 2.0 cultural thinking.

  • I can give you (both) some answers to this, as it’s exactly what we’ve been
    doing for 2 years in St Mark’s church, Oulton Broad (Suffolk, England)

    We run two streams at one time…Mark 1 and Mark 2 :-)

    Mark 1 is the more traditional service following the Common Worship, church organ etc.
    Mark 2 is a cafe style church in our main hall. The chairs are set up around tables, there is tea/coffee/toast/fruit available for any who wish for it, seats are comfortable and the whole service is “led” from the data projector.

    The “modern” lectionary we use is:
    * A worship song to start, as people are drinking/eating 3 minutes before the service is due to start – it’s an informal start – “toasting” the Lord as it were.

    * A welcome from the worship leader.
    * Another song
    * Then the puppets appear – the theme of the day is introduced using a contemporary retelling of the theme or perhaps a “misunderstanding” of the theme in order that it can be played back and better understood.
    * The theme is elaborated upon – sometime using things like the brick testimony (Bible in Lego) or something relatively similar.
    * Usually one more worship song (while Youth (or Uth as they are called!) and young children) go to separate studies, then followed by…

    **** How would a SERMON look, that was crowdsourced and crowd engaging?
    Isn’t one person broadcasting from the front for 30 minutes, the epitome
    of 1.0 culture?! Or is the concept of oratory still valid in 2.0
    culture? Do we need TED style talks of 18 minutes, then a free for all
    where a wireless mic gets passed around for anyone to comment?

    * The interactive sermon. A sermon is about teaching, so the theme has to be there. The leader or assistant then talks about the theme/reading, then asks questions at points during the explanation to get other people’s opinions. So, it’s maybe 20 minutes, but it’s involved, the wireless mic does get passed around. There can also be a time of prayer after.

    We then JOIN the Mark 1 service after, so we are still one church family coming together for communion.

    And just to answer your other questions…

    ****How would WORSHIP 2.0 look? Would we crowdsource the setlists via
    Twitter or a SurveyMonkey poll? Would we fire the band and just all
    start songs spontaneously and join in? Why do we have people up front on
    a stage, a la pop culture?****

    * You could…but you’d have to definitely have very talented musicians and all of the music available for you instantly. Would take some investment to do all that. Certainly, our band website has a “new song suggestion” form and a “prayer request” form, and we encourage people to suggest songs, but we do either leave it up to the band leader or the Service leader to choose songs – mainly as we want them to remain roughly in context with the reading….e.g. if it’s about grace we’d probably choose something like “Only by Grace can we enter” – “Tonight, when all the world was sleeping” wouldn’t be very appropriate.
    * The band allows for that certain “something” – music has the power to get people into that state to be closer to God/receptive to the Holy Spirit, not many other things allow that.
    * Cafe style church does mean that everyone is more involved, so it’s not an “up front on stage” thing – the band is not at the front, it’s at the side – the opposite side to the front. The only thing that is at the “front” (pointing south, just because that’s where the projector screen is best positioned!) is the projector screen – it’s a focal point, and therefore an obvious place to talk from.

    ****Does Church 2.0 need a BUILDING at all? In Acts we see
    Jesus-followers meeting in home and doing life together. Why are we
    spending money on huge buildings…****
    Yes, church does need a building…well, a focal point anyway. Social Media is great for getting to people in their spare time, but church allows people to get out of their “distraction” zones, into a place where you can either experience quiet, solitude, church family, fellowship or perhaps even spiritual glory.

    ****are they part of what’s needed or are
    they creating the static, non participatory sit-and-watch culture of
    Just like Myers Briggs, etc, people have their own learning and worshipping styles, some of which work for some, some of which work for others. I’m very fortunate to be a worship leader in a church which is able to cater for both.

    Our church is growing, which seems often to be one of a set of good indicators of the healthiness of a church.

    I for one would love to be able to do Twitter interaction with the sermon etc, but we don’t have the technology available, not the age range which necessarily use Twitter or Facebook.

    I can imagine in a “young” church it would be possible. :-)

  • Beth

    As someone who has struggled under the 1.0 model, I can see where you are coming from in this post. I have had major issues with church in the UK and contacted over 20 churches and organizations for help and practical advice. The number of churches and individuals who have replied? Well under half of those on the list, with only around five practitioners of church responding in a positive and helpful way. I am now attending a major church online the U.S, and have joined a smallgroup where I help facilitate worship.

    The web is a listening culture. Sadly the church doesn’t seem to value listening, and I wonder how a vast body can respond to change quickly, or at all, if it cannot listen at a grassroots level. Should pastors have surgeries, like MP’s do? Do they still do hospital visits and visit those who are sick or at home and can’t attend church services? How can the web and 2.0 technologies facilitate followership?

    One of the problems for me is that the web is a visual medium and ‘seen.’ This is a good trait because it encourages openness and participation, is welcoming and thrives on involvement. Conversely though, it doesn’t necessarily encourage confidentiality or integrity, and feedback is highly codified, unlike a shoulder shrug, a raised eyebrow or a smile I could expect in a face to face interaction. These levels of warmth and coolness must be a minefield for a church practitioner to walk through after a service as they negotiate their relationship with their congregation and anticipate their needs.

    The web culture is very ‘think’ literate. This is undoubtedly a good thing. But my gut feeling is, change happens most deeply at the emotional level. Perhaps this intimate place is where we should focus our church 2.0 experience.

    If we could use interactive church services to encourage our congregation members to be more emotionally open with their leaders, I think church 2.0 could have longevity. Because of my own difficult experience, I believe the church needs to develop a culture of listening and persuasiveness, across all media and personal interactions, from the top down. I’m sure there are many ways of utilizing new technologies in order to do this, alongside the more traditional pastoral visits etc. I have already mentioned.

    Thanks for providing me with some interesting food for thought! I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and am encouraged by reading it, and by the insightful and thought provoking comments. God bless.

  • Great post Vicky and v thought provoking. I suspect that church 2.0 is on the cards, the question that needs to be asked and answered, is how the more traditional models of church co-exist within this future vision? How do we make Eucharist, taking into account the recieved traditions and history of the church?

    That said, within my own denomination, Anglicanism, where money is tight and human resources are increasingly stretched, the need to identify people as leaders locally, and equip them to serve in whatever way God calls them, is ever more paramount.

    I suspect ultimately, there there will need to continue to be a mixed economy of church – both 1.0 and 2.0 – probably within the same church community, meeting different needs.

  • Sam Hargreaves

    great post vicky!  We did an article discussing ideas for worship 2.0 – http://engageworship.org/articles/Developing_creative_worship_#2_-_Interactive/Unfinished   if that helps at all…

  • Wow — stumbled on your post and there’s so much politic to working this kind of thing out.  I wonder — as someone who uses technology/Internet/mobile/tweet/FB/pinterest/blog etc. etc.  etc. — if there isn’t something lost by moving church too much to the Web/mobile … 2.0?  

    I am on screens all the time for job, hobby, fun yet I love things that can happen “non-line” (read not-online which is different than offline).  Isn’t 2.0 about moving people faster and farther onto their screen lives?  What about a real handshake, making music together, praying in person?   Imagine tweeting prayer.  Will we really know where to stop?

  • Hello All, 

        God Bless You Vicky for your blog, and God Bless your blogging community.  First off, I think it would be helpful to mention the fact that we are no longer in a modern, or post-modern or even post-Christian culture.  Rather, we are in a pre-Christian culture nowadays.  I believe our modern society has more parallels with the 1st century environment than at any other time in history. We are basically introducing Christianity to the world for the first time all over again.  So, the church has to evolve, and be organic—let’s think of the church as an organism versus being an organization.  I’m basically referring to the words of Christ in John ch. 3, where he ascribes Spirit-filled believers as being like the wind..completely spontaneous. Let’s continue to innovate, but when our innovation becomes predictable, then the winds of our liturgical practices must blow in another direction.  

       I believe church planting teams should study the needs of their culture and then plant churches accordingly. As Joshua and Caleb spied out the land, church planters should study the spiritual and social climate of the regions or areas where churches are being established. For example, here in northern Utah, churches use such things as Hunter’s Expos and Ski Swaps to evangelize. 

       My prayer and ministry goal is to become an Air Force chaplain.  The American Air Force has its own subculture within the Armed Forcs, so I have to understand that culture in order to be effective as a chaplain.  Grace and Peace to you Vicky, and to everyone!
    Cameron Swanson

  • Twince

    I would have to disagree with getting rid of the sermon and having it more like a discussion. We come to church to serve but also to be fed the word of God. You can’t guarantee that everyone in the room has their fundemental theology correct which could be really confusing.

  • Ralphie

    It’s a really thought provoking post..so well done for that… Have to be honest and say that I think it has some major flaws.

    Firstly, I’ve been heavily embroiled in writing IT strategies, Gen x to Gen Y strategies etc for large corporates across the globe… And using an analogy which in itself is completely confused and in the main a marketing concept, is very difficult. I.e. everyone’s view of what web 2.0 is about as definitive as an amorphous cloud…

    Secondly…and much more importantly…I tank most of what you are referring to is about access channels and not about the product itself. Church is not about the service, the meeting or the building….it’s about the people and the presence of God. There is a real danger than in an attempt to be ‘relevant’ to one part of society… We forget what is most relevent… That we all need a saviour and to know that God loves us!

  • Andrew Finden

    He he.. I have read it – paradigm shifting! In fact, very nearly suggested in my comment!

  • Interesting post! I was disappointed not to get to your session at Worship Central.

    A couple of thoughts/questions in response to the ‘PRACTICALLY’ points you make at the end, partly to play devil’s advocate…

    Re: Sermons – My question would be: is preaching the same as giving any other kind of talk? Something in me says, “No”. The impartation of information and/or entertainment are not all that’s happening in preaching. That’s not to say that the traditional ‘sermon’ model is necessarily the *correct* model of preaching… but if we’re going to change model, we need to ask what is the baby and what is the bathwater.

    Re: Worship – Wouldn’t what you’ve described be a kind of 21st Century version of (what is rather impolitely termed) ‘hymn bingo’?  I think the arguments for and against the SurveyMonkey model would be substantially the same as arguments for and against ‘hymn bingo’ .  There’s a good Biblical case to be made for it (not least from 1 Corinthians!), but of course that’s not the only way the Bible talks about gathered worship.

    In both cases I wonder whether focussing on the technological/cultural aspects risks obscuring longstanding ecclesiological questions. 

    I’m all for the engagement of technology with faith. (In fact, I currently start each day by summarising a chapter of the Bible on Twitter!) But while we absolutely need to find ways to incarnate our faith anew in our culture, maybe ‘Church 1.0’ and ‘Church 2.0’ overstates the contrast…?

  • Jo Royal

    Love the post and the thoughts that follow.  I read this earlier today, and it has been going around my mind for a while now.  I am all for shaking things up, being creative, considering the audience, not holding on to tradition when it is no longer functioning.  I love the idea of Church 2.0 – although I can’t really ‘see’ it working – but maybe that is just because it is so far off our ‘normal’ church! 

    I have been considering a BETA church – in light of Hebrews 10 vs 24,25   ‘And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but
    let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day

    The more I study and contemplate this verse – the more I think this doesn’t really happen in Church 1.0.  There is very little spurring of each other happening.  One person generally stands up the front – and they may try to encourage and spur on – but it says EACH OTHER.  Not just one person doing it all.  I see this happening as people are encouraged to participate, to move around, to chat, to pray with, to make tea for etc – not sat down in rows listening for 20 mins (actually – it is more like 40 mins at times!!)  Church 2.0 -could far more effectively encourage everyone to get involved – and fulfill the direction to spur one ANOTHER on!

    Just have to work out how this could actually take place in our own context, with those God has given us to work amongst!

    Looking forward to reading more!


  • The problem with Church 2.0 is we need to condition ourselves 2.0 too.  It’s scary to think but sometimes we get attached to Church 1.0 where we can sit back and watch and take everything in. conversational faith and interactive faith is a Biblical pattern. 

    When I am preaching, I try not to answer all the questions, but simply to suggest different questions to the issues of life. When Jesus was asked questions, often He didn’t answer people, he simply fed them another question, surely the whole point of discipleship is to work out your faith for yourself, as at the end of the day only I can give an account for my life.

    I like the concept of Church 2.0, but don’t necessarily like its implications, it reminds me of the day Windows Vista came out, I refused to change to that ‘thing’  they called ‘progress’ it was hard work and painful to operate, I now refer to Vista as the crash test dummy for Windows 7.

    The interesting thought about preaching is that our ‘traditional preaching’ is not traditional at all, the majority of the preaching in the New Testament was an interactive talk, sure we can refer to Peter’s preaching on Pentecost and Jesus’ sermon on the mount, but there was far more discussion that what we would say is preaching. 

    Worship is an interesting one, as essentially it is supposed to be something we do together, music is such a deep part of church services, that irrespective of 1.0 or 2.0 there is going to be times of celebrating and honouring God. At times certain songs have resonated and become Anthems or capture a season in the life of the church, but as any worship leader knows, despite the spiritual facade we can put on, some worship songs can go down like a lead balloon, so, worship is may be 1.5 (half way there). Paul says worship should be in proper order, so we cannot have a ‘pot luck song selection’ 

    Buildings…. we have saying don’t we ‘church is the people, not the building’ well, lets be honest for a moment, if we asked ‘mobile’ churches would they prefer a building of their own, I think we would hear a resounding yes. I have done mobile church and building church, its much easier having a place available which doesn’t involve set up and pack down. 

    If we believe in corporate (face to face) gatherings, we will always need a building, whether it is our own or hired, unless we adopt a virtual / social media church, in which case buildings are irrelevant.

    I think church 2.0 looks more like a conversational church, where people talk and learn through discussion and experience. Generally people like to discover things for themselves, for centuries the church has to some degree been centralised, maybe now its shifting back into a people movement. 

  • Anonymous

    ok - controversial… but i wonder if Church 2.0 looks a lot like a small church. And rather than trying to be a large church with better tools for pretending to know everyone who walks in the church doors (i.e. Amazon, etc) maybe the way forward looks a little like the past – the mom and pop churches where people know your name and miss you when you’re not there, instead of the walmart churches where everything is in one place and the discount card can predict what you need a discount on.

  • Sarah

    I so love this concept, though I’m from a church where maybe for once we’re slightly ahead.

    As far as teaching goes, I do think that preaching does need it’s space and time (but then as a preachee I would). But people learn by interacting. Like the lecture/seminar structure at uni. So we developed small groups where people discuss the teaching from Sunday. It’s a space where people can ask questions or give their viewpoint and has really helped our guys get hold of the word rather than just listening then going home and forgetting.

    With regards to worship,I was raised Assemblies of God where a worship leader would know the first song, then it was over to the congregation to start a song, pray, read something from the Bible, give a proohecy or vision, etc. Today, many AoG churches are more taken with lights and sound systems and doing a ‘set’ than having any interaction, which is a shame. There are drawbacks – people liking the sound of their own voice for example, but there was such a freshness and a sense of involvement in it. I think we do need to look again at what worship is and bringing the people back into it rather than just feeding it to them.

  •  is preaching the same as giving any other kind of talk?

    I would say ‘no’ too – preaching / teaching / sermons involve proclaiming the gospel (the power for salvation), which puts it in a whole other powerful category.

  • @graeme_campbell

    Here’s another thought. In the UK I would suggest that the most powerful social commentators are actually stand up comedians. They are everywhere and have huge influence, even more so than the majority of musicians. The fact that 12000 people will pay 30 quid plus to sit in an arena and listen for 2 hours to the likes of Peter Kay, Billy Conolly or Dara O’Brien, proves that it’s naive to think that the orator is a dated concept.

  • Love this Vicky, nice one. 

    I wonder if you have any thoughts about the connection between the Holy Spirit and Church 2.0 thinking? Does our pneumatology influence our use of technology? 

  • Cathy Madavan

    Love this blog and the comments. really got my thinking juices flowing.

    My only tentativeness is that there must be a way of making sure that within the body people use their skills and talents in the right places at least some/most of the time! those who teach, teach etc… – I WANT my teaching on a Sunday to be predominantly from those who are gifted and who have either a degree in theology or at least very tested in grounded theology and application. It may not be fashionable to say Bible college training makes a difference – but it made a massive difference to us and the people we went with!  The idea of a lowest common denominator free for all theology worries me! I know that we are in a time where we think everbody knows best about everything and the media and social media really has encouraged that (although I love social media for lots of reasons), but the further you get into leadership in business, politics, ministry or anything, the more you realise that seasoned leaders/teachers etc… have incredible wisdom and experience and that it really matters that they use the influence they have been trusted with (wisely etc of course…)

    But let’s then get creative/culturally savvy with it – abso-flippin-lutely!

    YES that leadership should empower/train/equip everybody for works of service every day! YES to finding new and innovative ways of every age and every member becoming more active than passive. As a ministers wife let me tell you that if you find the answer to the age old problem of 20% of the congregation doing 80% of the work I will be very appreciative!

    But also church is not just Sundays – ‘church’ expresses itself in a variety of activities all week when members do all kinds of fab things which they might not be able to do in the very limited hour and a half on a Sunday morning. Personally – I’d prefer my Sunday packed with skilled people helping me to understand things the best possible way with the best kids work and the best worship team and gifted prayer ministry – but I am a theorist and I like systems and to sit and learn and I like to listen and take notes! I must be getting old right???? (38 by the way – fossilised. :) ) But I also can’t bear it when people seem switched off and passive – and I know they are not all theorists like me. I try and encourage as much interaction as possible when I lead worship or teach – but it’s hardly revolutionary stuff.

    Also – different size churches have different challenges and opportunities. The dynamics, styles, and organisation change massively. But innovation and creative thinking about how to make sure we are all participating should always be liberally applied.

    Sadly – though – with max creativity, church 8.0, best leadership in the world etc… you can’t do people’s discipleship for them. In a consumer culture – heck in ANY culture, some seeds fall on fertile ground, some don’t. Some run the race, some hobble along with help. We just keep praying and keep working really hard and keep trusting.

    And we keep reading blogs which help stretch our thinking so that we at the very least keep checking ourselves and trying new things.
    Good job. I am learning and being challenged. Thanks everyone.

  • Hey Al

    I’m sure Vicky does have some thoughts, but here are mine in the mean time! I think whether or not we use technology to work towards Church 2.0, the pneumatology of it is a lot about Jesus in the congregation (Heb 2:12), the Spirit of Christ’s leading coming through his wider body as we worship together as well as (not instead of) through the directors/hosts/planners/designers of worship.

    Just like for the Corinthians, there’s still a need for, to borrow web language, ‘moderators’ of contributions – to keep good order, discern the Spirit from the rest, act as a ‘tour guide’ to maintain togetherness, encourage the stragglers, etc – but if we start to explore 2.0 structures we will, by whatever mechanism, hopefully release creativity, prophetic leading, praise, lament, intercession etc etc…much of which may currently remain outside the corporate worship experience most of us have most of the time.

  • Anonymous

    We ran a monthly meeting at Norreys called Church.com which was an informal cafe-style meeting where there was a short talk and the opportunity to discuss the topic over tea and croissants :)

    I think it’s probably easier to do in smaller churches…

  • Richard

    As I was reading through the posts and the comments, I was thinking through what my response is. Not just for typing something here, but in the role I have as a church youth worker and the implications for my possible future career (I’m in the application process for ministry).

    Cathy has summed up so much of what I wanted to say. Maybe it is an age thing (I have an extra year on her so I’m not sure what the stage after fossiliation is!) or maybe it is a church background thing.

    The thing I did want to add is that I was part of a 2.0 church back in the early 90’s. Ok, we didnt have twitter/survey monkey/etc (lets be honest, few people had email then). It grew out of a house church, didnt always have a sermon, had dedicated parts of every service for people to share things, the worship group ‘took requests’ and it was very effective in a lot of ways. The one area that i struggled was with the teaching – so much that I also started attending another church in the evening that was very firmly 1.0 but the preaching/teaching was important to me.


  • Benj Street

    Really great blog Vicky – I’ve been talking about this for the past 15 years – (interactive / collaborative church that is). Frank Viola tries to address some of the questions in His book re-imagining church www.reimaginingchurch.org and the prequel – Pagan Christianity.  I don’t think he has all the answers, but certainly thought provoking and challenging.
    E.g. The whole nonsense of having to have a sermon every week – is only a bi-product of the Greeks loving to be stimulated by hearing great intellectual speakers, then when some of them became Christians they imported the practice into their gatherings.  I’m not saying there isn’t a place for really good teaching occasionally, and even preaching to crowds like Paul did in a number of cities (and actually modern online media is great for facilitating that),  jut that every week to have to just sit an listen to someone talk (even if they are an amazing speaker) does very very little to change people’s lives in the long run, compared to being able to talk, discuss share, and be expected to contribute, hear from God for yourself to share with the church, and then have your hearing discussed, questioned, understood so that the group learns together, takes it away, puts it into practice, then talks about it some more the week after.

  • Elz

    Vicky – great comments and so much to think about (I am in the category of person hearing this sort of thinking for the first time!).  As I read the description of web 1.0 and 2.0 though, I could clearly think of many examples of online experiences that I have daily that are 2.0 rather than 1.0 and as you say we now just naturally accept this as the norm and have barely noticed this huge technological change.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could effect such ‘naturally accepted’ change within our churches and communities so that more people are connecting with God in a relevant way?!

    My only concern is that I have often wondered whether web 2.0 (as I now know it is called!) is wholly a good thing?  I personally enjoy the level of interaction now afforded me online and can definitely see the benefits but I also find this new way of doing things rather scary at the same time!  Everyone is enjoying and making full use of the increased power to express themselves and their opinions online and shape the virtual world around them – but how many people consider the increased responsibility that comes with this power and freedom of expression?

    We don’t have to look very far at all to find horrendous rumours tweeted anonymously, cases of cyberbullying, hacking, ‘fraping’ and false representation and people generally just being very careless and/or naive with the comments that they broadcast worldwide on blogs, FB pages, twitter etc (just to be very clear – none of these comments could be applied to this blog!!).  We also see a sort of artificial narrowing of the gap between ‘normal life’ and ‘fame/celebrity’ culture.  In following celebrity tweets some seem to imagine that they are best friends with A-list celebrities who they are never likely to meet in life and perhaps even feel that their lives can be put into similar categories.

    These things may seem insignificant/unimportant on the surface but what about when we translate out thinking to church 2.0?  If we give everyone the same level of authority with which to speak, pray, disciple, lead, prophecy etc. are we being true to what we read in Ephesians 4:11 where the Spirit gifts some for particular areas of ministry?  Also, if we do not think carefully about the increased responsibility that comes with the increased freedom to express ourselves and interact/participate and how that works itself out in reality in the Body of Christ, are we running the risk of always participating, always vocalising, and never receiving/reflecting/being invested in spiritually?  I think there is a lot to be said for knowing when to soak up spiritual gifts, theological knowledge, solid bible teaching and when to give it out to others.

    I heard it said recently that ‘listening can be defined as: taking in what someone else has to say without considering your response as they are talking’ – what a huge challenge!  I think there is A LOT of room for 2.0 style imrpovements in our churches but let’s not write off 1.0 entirely – let’s take time to listen:  to God, to others and to our own hearts before we embrace the huge responsibility of interacting and expressing to the world. :)

  • Jamesfarrant

    Yes I think I’ve experienced beta church worship and loved it; the guy leading just started singing it’s very freeing and Holy Spirit really moved x

  • Steve

    Very interesting Vicky.
    As a church leader, I have a few questions and reservations.

    I’ve always believed that people should be involved in a church service and we are all ultimately involved, simply by worshipping and praying together. We should not forget that. At our church we do release people to participate in many and various ways but we do this based on character. It’s not enough for someone to simply ‘want to have their say!’ 

    Many of us spent years just humbly learning and quietly serving. We served by cleaning toilets and doing ‘hidden’ jobs. We served in whatever way was needed. And perhaps it was those times that earned us the right to be heard. 

    And we know this to be true. You will lead worship at Spring Harvest next year because you are trusted. Your character and gifting have made room for you. I’m fairly certain that it won’t be a free-for-all in the big top with anyone who fancies having a go getting up to lead a song?  Why not? Because not everyone is going to be led by the Spirit. Not everyone is going to be submitted to the Lord. It would be mayhem. So we trust people like your good self to lead us. 

    The problem with the internet is that anyone (just like me) can comment. All can have their say. But it doesn’t mean that what’s being said is true, reliable or trustworthy. The scriptures tell us that those of us who teach will receive a sterner judgement from the Lord. 

    You also said in your blog that “we no longer sit and  receive broadcast information like listening to the radio and watching TV”. I would have to differ. Every day millions of people do exactly that, and read books, study the scriptures and listen to Vicky Beeching CD’s.  Receiving information is no bad thing, especially when people are encouraged to reflect on it, wrestle with it perhaps in small groups.

    I applaud your blog Vicky, but I think Church 2.0 needs to move forward prayerfully and with much sensitivity to the Lord.  
    Every Blessing.

  • Steve

    Organism vs organization!

  • Markm

    What is a church?

    ‘I believe that Jesus’ real presence is most fully experienced in the gathering of the Christ-following community’ (Matt. 18:20) “And where two or three are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”
    That’s the point of the word “ekklesia,” the word that Jesus chose to describe this thing we call “church.” 
    Ekklesia originally referred to the assembled citizens in a Greek city state, gathered together to enact a shared vision of the kind of society–the kind of humanity–they were striving to be.
    For me that’s “church”.
    Us coming together as the citizens of heaven gathering to enact our shared vision of the kind of humanity we believe we were created to live.
    Individually our worship, I believe, is supposed to be the living sacrifice of our lives to God for His glory and so He can make things happen through us. 
     So we gather to encounter the real presence of Christ, to learn and be changed and to act in a way that will allow our community to see that another world/way of life is possible. For me that’s a transformative vision of worship and the church – one where things change!
    The tools we use to live out that vision are surely the ones that are the most effective and creative at the time of our communities existence. 
    …Should it look like 2.0? Should church be co-created with the community and the maker? …Should church be interactive? …Should church happen online as well as off? …Should church allow everyone to play? …Should church allow conversation and questions? …Should we work collectively on this stuff? …Should we know more about the people God has given us to love? …Should church emerse itself in the culture of the people in order to present the good news in a form that can be understood? …Should church be ‘shared’? …Should church be ‘liked’?   WELL HELL YES!! BUS DRIVER MOVE THAT BUS!

  • A very relevant information on this specific topic. An attractive way of presentation here. Thank you for your collective information.

  • Tim

    Love these questions! I wonder whether we need to be careful we don’t confuse ‘church’ with ‘meetings’. According to Paul we meet together to encourage one another, all having something to bring (songs, words, tongues etc). Church is the body of Christ, as far as I can work out, walking as Jesus walked – outside in the world bringing the kingdom. As long as Sundays are ‘church’ we have a problem. 

    I think we do need to think about how we do meetings, especially if we are spending Sunday morning as passive consumers, leaving ‘ministry’ to the professionals. If anyone is like me then this surely affects our mindsets as to how we see our role in being ‘church’ for the rest of the week. 

    So perhaps our meetings can vary – we can have lots of different types of meetings, with different expressions, as collective participants as we do life, going outside the walls of our church buildings to be Jesus to our communities. 

  • Helpful cautions, Steve, I think, and well put.

    A couple of questions in response:
    Does the opportunity for public participation and expression have to equate to perceived authority? Or to put it more pragmatically, when someone ‘has their say’, is it a given that they are perceived as a teacher, a leader, an example?

    Clearly, as you say, we have a responsibility as leaders to discern what is from the Lord and what is not, to make sure teaching is true, to do everything we can to make sure Jesus is honoured and worshipped in spirit and truth in our church gatherings. Can we perhaps invite a more genuine corporate engagement in shaping, expressing and enjoying our worship of God without simply opening the floodgates for anyone to take over the direction of the meeting?

    Filtered contributions via service leader/host, text message or social media seems, in our enbryonic explorations of this, to work very well, especially when you invite people to listen to God and seek to be led by him without committing to sing every song that is suggested(!) – in fact I would maybe encourage people not to just ask for songs – we have trained and gifted worship musicians to look after that for the most part, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will have every helpful Scripture, testimony, word, picture or creative idea to make that time of worship the richest and most authentic it can be.

    You also raise what I think is a very significant generational difference in habits – I won’t seek to put a cut-off age on this (partly because I think it’s about my age!), but younger people, while they do still absolutely watch TV, listen to people etc, increasing do so with a laptop, tablet or phone in their hand on which they’re busy communicating.

  • Steve (P)

    Thanks Simon, good thoughts there and helpful (for me) questions. 

    As you say, I think ‘filtered’ participation might be key here. In my particular tradition of christendom we are very open to prophetic participation from the congregation – which itself is a minefield that needs careful filtering and leadership, but is perhaps more of the 2.0 idea.

    The other reflection I had on this today was to do with the issue of stillness. My life, like most people’s, is very wired. All day I’m emailing, texting, face-booking and twittering.  I enjoy it. But every morning I shut the door to my office and turn off my laptop, turn off my phone and sit quietly. It’s God’s time. I pray, listen and submit myself to the scriptures. I love it. And really it’s there that I meet with the Lord. I can get easily distracted and so it does me no good at all to have texts popping up, and my computer on pinging away with twitter alerts. While I’m trying to reflect on the scriptures I need to turn it all off for a while. 

    I do totally ‘get’ the concept of twittering during the sermon; I do. But I’m also aware that when we twitter, or facebook, it’s so easy to get distracted. The preacher makes an excellent point, we pick up our ipad to tweet it, we start reading other non-related tweets, we comment on those, before we know it we’ve missed 8 minutes of the sermon. Possibly, we’ve missed 8 minutes of something we needed to hear?

    Have you ever encouraged your church friends to try an electronic fast? For perhaps a week, no tv, no internet, no facebook. Suggest it to people and they start sweating. They get the shakes. We’re dealing with addictive stuff. I want to be careful that I’m not surrendering a church service to people’s addictions.

    I think we should be free to enjoy the active participation of people through electronic media in our services. In a couple of weeks time we are going to be inviting people to text their questions during the sermon. I’m looking forward to it.
    But equally, if people ‘have’ to have an electronic device on at all times. If they can’t stop using it for a while without feeling restless, then I have real concerns for them.

    It’s a fascinating topic and I’ve got a lot of learning to do.

  • Interesting!  Wasn’t the early church like what you described in the Church 2.0?  Church 1.0 seems like that’s the way it’s been since Constantine’s reign (circa 400 ad) and the Council of Nicea.  If I’m not mistaken, the Council of Nicea changed much of what was the church.  Instead of home groups, people had to meet in a large building modeled after a king’s throne room.  Passover meals changed to communion (a wafter and a shot of wine/juice).  ETC.  So much has changed over the centuries.

    I would imagine a healthy church utilizing the spiritual gifts in the manner in which they are intended is what we REALLY need.  I often ask myself, where are the healings?  Where are the prophecies?  Where are the dreams?  Where are miracles?  Are we actively seeking these things?

    As much as I agree with the need for a more interactive church, I don’t think it’s something we can force.  We as a church body must cry out to God for a cleansing (forgiveness, grace, obedience, etc) and allow him to take us back to the “ancient paths” mentioned in Jeremiah 6.  He’ll then heal the land and the church.  As we do that, we should remain keenly aware of what God is speaking into the lives of people around us.  We’ve got to become better listeners to God’s voice AND the voices of those close to us.

    Just some initial thoughts.  As always, thanks for posting such poignant questions, Vicky!

  • Mate, what has it got to do with tyres??

  • I like that you are asking questions that I have been asking myself for a while.  No, the church doesn’t need a building.  In fact, often times I have to wonder if the buildings we do build (which isn’t wrong, just saying they aren’t a necessity) aren’t poor stewardship and a bit too extravagant.  Worship would be amazing if it were more interactive, I don’t know exactly how it would look, but I can dream and imagine and I like what little I can dream up.

    Sermons I think would look a lot more like Christ would have actually taught.  It seems that there were often times for people to ask Christ questions (for clarity, to try to trap Him, and to  make themselves look good, which never worked out well).  I think our sermons would look a lot less like a 3 point sermon and a lot more like a compassionate life lived out and caring for others.  Yes, there would be times for teaching, but the sermons would be more about us being present in others lives.  Being available.  Caring.  We see that Christ taught, but we also know the point was that He was here.  He was available.  He cared.  He was present.

    I would have to think more deeply about what that would look like specifically…but it is a search I have been working on for quite some time.  I feel like it has been so long since we have seen this displayed well that it is foreign to us and so we must seek guidance from His Spirit to re-engage to this purpose.

    Just some thoughts.

  •  There are drawbacks – people liking the sound of their own voice for example, but there was such a freshness and a sense of involvement in it. I think we do need to look again at what worship is and bringing the people back into it rather than just feeding it to them.

  • Some things I would like for you to think about along the lines of worship, Vicky. Think about the holy angels and how old they are. There are angels that have been around since the very beginning of the universe, however old that may be. Whenever you read passages in the Bible about how the angels are worshiping God, what do you see? Where is the worship coming from and where is it focused? What is the content of the worship? What is the format and the context of the worship? What things are being used in the heavenly worship service? Some places in the Bible you might want to look at are Isaiah 6 and various places in the Book of Revelation. In Hebrews, it says that the Levitical priests served “the copy and shadow of the heavenly things.” (Heb. 8:4,5) In other words, their worship mimicked what was done in Heaven. After Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead, some things changed in Heaven and here on Earth under the New Covenant, but worship of God by the angels continues to be pretty much the same in format. What I am basically driving at is this. If worship under the Old Covenant mimicked what was done in Heaven, then shouldn’t worship under the New Covenant also mimic what is being done in Heaven, too? “Thy will be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven.” (St. Matt. 6:10) See Eph. 1:10, Col. 1:20, and Heb. 12:22. I think that our worship should not only mimic the worship done in Heaven, but also be united with the worship being done in Heaven. “Bless the Lord, all ye His hosts; ye ministers of His that do His will.” (Psalm 102:21, LXX; Psalm 103:21, Hebrew) Does God care how we worship? Did He care how people worshiped under the Old Covenant? Is He the same today as He was then, or has He changed? If He hasn’t changed, then doesn’t He still have the same expectations for worship that He did under the Old Covenant? (I’m not talking about the doing the animal sacrifices and the Old Testament rituals that pointed toward Christ. What we do now should point back to Christ and what He did, not foreshadow His coming like the Old Testament rituals did.) How does God want us to worship under the New Covenant? What is worship and what is the purpose of worship?


  • I’ve been mulling this one over for a couple of days, and I don’t think that I’m ready for pure “church 2.0”.  I agree that the church needs to embrace web 2.0 and effectively leverage social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter, and even church management tools such as The City.  But I get concerned about everybody just throwing out their opinion on a topic or Bible passage, because God usually meant for there to be one correct answer.  That is why we have pastors to lead the flock.  I think that a healthy church is logically a combination of very participatory and relationship focused small groups combined with corporate teaching and worship.  But that’s just my own opinion, and I’m not going to criticize what is working for somebody else.

  • I think it’s important not to get too weighed down on the “model”, discussions can often end up centring around church practices and preferences which will obviously change from place to place, from each gathered group to each gathered group – each in term, similar but perhaps different due to the God given uniqueness of each individual community (or perhaps if you will “identity”) of gathered folk.Definitions around the term ‘church’ are important here. Are we talking church or church services?What about the awesome nature of smaller settings (pastorates/clusters, home groups or cell groups). You know – mid week stuff, interaction and community in general. 
I’m not saying models aren’t important, they are good practical things that enable us to hang and frame other things from. I think about climbing plants and trellis on garden wall – church structures are never meant to be the thing itself but hopefully they do help support organic growth.For me Church 2.0 is terminology, or an idea, perhaps an age or even an era. It speaks of progression and development. When people shifted from ‘Web 1.0’ to ‘2.0’ they not only sensed a change had occurred but also that change was coming, it defined a time. 2.0 is less about technology or model but more about “not dragging our feet”. That actually this thing is still evolving, changing and developing. That it is unfinished, that it does have some flaws, problems and annoyances but it is what we have right now. Graciously God still lets us play.As someone has already said, maybe we are already in Beta testing mode. “Beta Church 2.0″ is about getting stuck in, about being able to make mistakes in the context of community. Hopefully we find ourselves in places, with people who are on similar pages who encourage us to go for more, not for the sake of it but because we all believe that Jesus is worthy of our best efforts.As John Wimber puts it “Every one gets to play”. In our setting, we’ve tried interactive services and various other stuff – some have worked better than others, some have been left by the road side but that doesn’t deter us from wanting to make progress.Where ever we are let’s be creative, sure let’s use technology, write songs & poetry and great art. Let’s get stuck into politics as much as sport but, whether a church community uses Facebook or writes letters, has church organ or djembes, they are at the end of the day – things. Things can be useful, but they aren’t our reason.”It is like a finger pointing away to the moon. Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.” – Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon)

  • I forgot to comment on buildings, but definitely agree that we are spending way too much money on buildings.  I would much rather see the millions of dollars spent on church buildings used to help the needy and spread the gospel.  We definitely have way more church buildings than we need, at least here in the US.

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  • What I have found in the social media paradigm of Web 2.0 is that many people speak and I often wonder how many people are listening.

  • web design Melbourne

    Great article..
    Thank you so much.

  • Pingback: http://vickybeeching.com/blog/emergency-we-need-church-2-0/ I (and judging by seeing it tweeted by several people I know) have found the linked blog post by Vicky Beeching very interesting and challenging. As a bit of a geek I love the analogy with web 2.()

  • Gusbonnington

    Yes 1 Cor 14!

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  • Church 1.0 = Paganism 2.0. Church 2.0 = Atheism 1.0