Microsites, Multi-sites, and House Churches: Will Technology be Our Demise? (Part II)

Before we attempt to tackle the question of how technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we do church, we first must return to the question of what the church is. Typically when we think of church we think of the building we visit on Sunday mornings. But what does that mean for the persecuted church that doesn’t get the luxury of ornate buildings? Does an abandoned edifice standing as a relic of what used to be a vibrant community still constitute as church?

Though it’s become a given, it bears repeating the church has never been a building. The original Greek word we translated as “church”, “ecclesia,” actually means “assembly.” The church is a people. Instead of a two-hour event you attend, it’s a body you are a part of. Even when the people of God are homeless, when they assemble the church is in full effect. And because the church is a people it’s much more dynamic than we give it credit for (third place ministries are great examples of this), which is where we get into the gift of technology.

When I lived in Tampa there was a period of time when particular groups went missing from service on Sunday mornings. Because our church was a network of micro churches, all of them doing mission throughout the week, Sunday acted as a conference of missionaries I eagerly looked forward to. And because some of these people missing were students I led, I felt responsible to get to the bottom of it. As it turned out certain micro churches were streaming the service as a community. We called them microsites; and as dismayed as I was I wouldn’t see certain friends of mine on Sunday, there was a sense something greater was in progress. Our church was in the process of planting a similar movement in St. Petersburg, Florida and live streaming was a way of empowering them to do mission in their context while still being connected to, and loved by, the greater community.

House churches have been around since the beginning of the early church but when streaming gets involved it opens the door for microsites. These microsites, like any house church really, have the potential to take on a life all their own. In cases like the Village Church or LifeChurch.tv, they can evolve into whole campuses with their own pastor while remaining connected to the nucleus via live feed. Other times the site becomes its own entity with its own structure. If you grant the premise (which some won’t) the church is worship, community, and mission then these microsites can be churches in and of themselves with the unique advantage they don’t look like churches.

As we enter into an increasingly post-Christian, post-modern era asking someone to come to our church is becoming a bigger threshold to cross. Some don’t feel “ready” to attend a church service and, while I do agree after a certain point they must get past this, house churches can serve as an entry point into Christian community. It’s a way to bring church to people who feel outside of God’s grace. House churches have been powerful instruments in the past (and undoubtedly still are), but technology provides a way for the church’s influence to carry to places and people groups we didn’t previously think possible.

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3 thoughts on “Microsites, Multi-sites, and House Churches: Will Technology be Our Demise? (Part II)

  1. Tomy, great post! I do also think that this is a great starting point for church plants, but don’t you think at some point these micro-sites need to evolve into a more formalized assembly (not necessarily with it’s own building) once they begin to grow? Or are these to be more like small Bible study groups? And how do things like accountability and church discipline work in a more casual setting such as these, if they are meaning to be more than a bible study? At some point it is necessary for these groups to meet with a larger body with an actual pastor and leadership of elders, am I wrong? Or am I misinterpreting the function of these micro-sites? Thanks brother!

    1. Hey Nathalia! I think you’re spot on. I actually don’t have a whole lot of experience in this area so I can only speak from theory. In my church at Tampa, we had elders from the larger church body who then were responsible and held accountable by them. They weren’t completely left to their own devices. What was fortunate for us was that because they were close enough for major events that required leadership to be there or for the whole family to be together, people would come. They’re not completely left to their own devices 🙂

      In terms of the need to evolve, I suppose that lies solely on the vision. With our St. Pete movement, the hope was that they’d evolve into their own thing with it’s own distinct flair. I wouldn’t necessarily be a sister movement but not our St. Pete campus, if that makes any sense. I do think it’d be good for it to grow and become its own thing. I suppose structure follows as the organism grows and becomes more complex.

      But keep in mind, I have NO idea what I’m talking about haha. I didn’t go to seminary or anything like that I just have a weird interest in stuff like this lol.

      Thanks for reading! Btw, I really enjoyed your post on deployment and marriage 🙂

      1. You must have SOME idea because I had never heard of this as a proxy for actual Sunday morning church haha I love the idea in terms of planting churches and doing college ministry and even specialized bible studies such as the podcasts that guys like Francis Chan and David Platt do. I’m interested in learning more! Thank you for following mine as well though I am much less consistent and theoretical lol I would love some pointers in how you stay consistent and inspired!

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