Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How One Church is Using Technology

Joel Hunter has become well-known over the past year as one of President Obama's spiritual advisers but few outside of central Florida may realize that he is a pastor of a large church that uses innovative ways to extend its reach. Northland, a Church Distributed is a mega-church located outside of Orlando that has taken a multi-site approach (hence the "Church Distributed" moniker) and uses the Internet in creative ways to minister to current and seeking members.

Christianity Today recently profiled Pastor Hunter and focuses on how Northland embraces modern technology to broadcast its services online. Although there are a number of detractors who think ministry can't be done online, Hunter feels differently:
"Our experience has been that people feel safer being able to talk from their own home than they are when they go on someone else's turf," Hunter says. "We have seen an increase in transparency when you add that safety layer."
Based on my own experiences, I would have to agree. Through sites like and, we provide safe places for students to explore issues of faith in a non-threatening environment. I do agree that face-to-face interaction is generally preferred over communication that is taking place online, it is not always possible. But in order to reach those that spend the bulk of their time online, churches and other ministries need to have an active presence there in order to minister to those that may not be reached through traditional methods.

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