How can local churches better use the internet?

Is the coronavirus situation the ideal time to start rethinking how we do church? Do we need to get out of the idea of the church being about a building? How can a local church make use of the internet without running into its pitfalls? In this article I explore how local churches might be able to make smarter use of the internet without endangering the face-to-face contact we need.

Over the last few months, many churches have been forced to rethink how they do church. Because many governments have closed churches (including those here in the UK), we’ve had to find new ways of doing things. A lot of churches have put services online via YouTube or Facebook. Every church has done it a bit differently, but most churches are now trying to make use of new technology in some form. Our church, for example, has made extensive use of YouTube and Zoom through these last few months. Even now, although we’re allowed to meet again as a church, we are still doing a weekly YouTube service as well. I think recorded services will be with us for the foreseeable future.

A lot of people have been wondering what the future is going to look like. It looks likely that the coronavirus restrictions are going to be with us for a little while longer at least. What does that mean for how we actually go about doing church? And what lessons can we take forward into the future?

One of the big things we all need to reckon with is, what place should the online tools have in our churches? Some people have heralded the internet as the answer that we’ve all been looking for; some people have simply been waiting to get back to normal so we can be rid of it. There are benefits but also drawbacks, and we should take account of both. Whether we love it or loathe it, it seems that the internet is here to stay in our churches.

Let’s start by considering some of the good and bad things about the internet and church.

Continue reading “How can local churches better use the internet?”
Share this:

How to break free from pornography

A lot of people want to break free from pornography – but how is that possible?

Pornography is one of the biggest issues we have in society which we rarely talk about. Take, for example, these statistics from Pornhub (which I found researching another blog post):

To start off, there were more than 42,000,000,000 site visits to Pornhub in 2019—nearly 6 visits to the site per person on Earth—which is 8.5 billion more visits total than last year. That’s over 23 million more visits per day in 2019 than in 2018, a considerable uptick that’s double from last year. Note that YouPorn–a sister site to Pornhub—received just a humble 5 billion site visits.

I think it’s almost impossible for us to comprehend the scale of the problem here. Pornhub received about 6x the number of visits than there are people on the planet. It’s mind-boggling! It is particularly something which affects younger people – according to another website, 70% of men aged 18-24 visit a porn site at least once a month. It’s a widespread problem, and it’s not going to get better anytime soon.

Recently, a young man came into one of our church services. I got chatting to him afterwards. He confessed to me that he was struggling with pornography (which is unusually brave of him – most people don’t admit to it). He hated himself for doing it but he couldn’t break free.

I’ve been wanting to record a video about porn for a long time. I know from personal experience that it’s a destructive and powerful thing. It’s taken me this long because porn is not easy to talk about! But I think it’s really important to break the silence.

This video isn’t everything I want to say – in fact there’s a lot more I want to say – but it’s a start. If this is something you struggle with and you’d like me to say more, please get in touch.

Share this:

Psalm Reflections

A few weeks ago I posted up a video about a habit which can REVOLUTIONISE your spiritual life. I wasn’t kidding! Well if you’d like a bit of help getting into the Psalms, the church I belong to is doing a series of reflections on the Psalms – one every weekday – during the summer. There are many different contributors including me – I’ve done one on Psalm 19 and one on Psalm 25.

This would be a great way of getting into the Psalms and helping you to reflect on them and think about them each day! Why not try to watch them daily during these summer weeks?

You can be notified of new videos if you subscribe to the YouTube Channel, or they will be available on this playlist.

Share this:

Daily Reading: Spurgeon on the go

I’ve just found out about the Daily Readings App, with readings from C.H. Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening”. This is a famous set of devotions he wrote – two for each day of the year – at the start and end of the day. The app is free (bargain!) and the readings have been lightly modernised. It’s a great resource – I was given a copy of Morning and Evening when I was ordained, and love it.

To give you a flavour of what to expect, here is Spurgeon’s devotion for this morning:

“Our heart shall rejoice in Him.” Psalm 33:21

Blessed is the fact that Christians can rejoice even in the deepest distress; although trouble may surround them, they still sing; and, like many birds, they sing best in their cages. The waves may roll over them, but their souls soon rise to the surface and see the light of God’s countenance; they have a buoyancy about them which keeps their head always above the water, and helps them to sing amid the tempest, “God is with me still.” To whom shall the glory be given? Oh! to Jesus–it is all by Jesus. Trouble does not necessarily bring consolation with it to the believer, but the presence of the Son of God in the fiery furnace with him fills his heart with joy. He is sick and suffering, but Jesus visits him and makes his bed for him. He is dying, and the cold chilly waters of Jordan are gathering about him up to the neck, but Jesus puts His arms around him, and cries, “Fear not, beloved; to die is to be blessed; the waters of death have their fountain-head in heaven; they are not bitter, they are sweet as nectar, for they flow from the throne of God.” As the departing saint wades through the stream, and the billows gather around him, and heart and flesh fail him, the same voice sounds in his ears, “Fear not; I am with thee; be not dismayed; I am thy God.” As he nears the borders of the infinite unknown, and is almost affrighted to enter the realm of shades, Jesus says, “Fear not, it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Thus strengthened and consoled, the believer is not afraid to die; nay, he is even willing to depart, for since he has seen Jesus as the morning star, he longs to gaze upon Him as the sun in his strength. Truly, the presence of Jesus is all the heaven we desire. He is at once

“The glory of our brightest days;

The comfort of our nights.”

Share this: