August 15, 2010

Cyberchurch: Aspects of Christian Community Online

Cyberchurch is the extension of the church universal into cyberspace. It includes different aspects of Christian community online, especially by those who view this phenomenon as a subset of emerging church, the developing expressions of the faith in relation to culture change. A cyberchurch is a ministry that exists primarily as a private website, an interactive space on a public website or social networking site.

As Internet usage continues to thrive, Christians are using websites, blogs, social networking sites, media services, chatrooms, discussion boards, and other electronic means to provide social connection, education, and enrichment of their faith.

Attempts to create online Christian communities date from the early nineties with the expansion of the Internet. The first online experiments largely mirrored more traditional versions of church, acting as extensions of religious institutions through their websites.

Cyberchurch, a 1997 book by the well-known Futurist Patrick Dixon, explored ways in which churches and individual believers were embracing web-based technologies, and correctly anticipated rapid developments over the following decade, including widespread use of video and community forums, especially by larger traditional churches who have developed global influence as a result.

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