The experience got me thinking about how many aspects of ministry have gone digital lately, and there are many reasons we can be grateful to God for the fact that faith is now shared, encouraged, and renewed online. Just as people now have made massive moves to shopping online instead of in stores downtown, banking is no longer restricted to paper checks and cash, people’s dating lives have gone digital, and we can even go to school online now, it seemed like only a matter of time that faith and spirituality began to be shared in a similar way. Online, we can now worship in the Washington National Cathedral, old sanctuaries throughout Europe, or locally here at Faith Lutheran Church in Ronan, Montana. No longer does a church require the grandeur and high production value of a mega-church to televangelize their worship. The internet has made it possible for a humble pastor in a small town to be led in morning prayer by another pastor with a simple laptop in front of him, a church wall with a homemade version of DaVinci’s The Last Supper behind him, and a clergy collar around his neck. Personally, I find this much more powerful than TV preachers who lead far larger churches, with far bigger budgets, and far higher salaries. God has always blessed the small, and He did again this morning.
This is not to say everything is better online. At the end of the day, I still take that experience with me alone. If I did not write about it for you today, I am not sure that I would ever be inspired to share it with anybody else. There is not much to tell, really. Nevertheless, it was significant. It was one experience of many in which digital ministry has blessed the world in new ways. Some churches who went online quickly out of necessity to protect worshippers during the pandemic have moved away from online ministry just as quickly. I disagree with their approach, because I believe that there are new blessings found in our new ways of doing sharing the Gospel. I am grateful that we continue to do the work of connecting in-person when we can, and grateful that we connect online as we are called to, as well.
May we all continue to find God in ways old and new, in-person and online, through old spaces and new technologies, and continue to trust that God promises to be forever present to us in love, no matter the format.