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JOE’S NOTEBOOK: The Coming Church Split, part 1

June 6, 2021

1. Online-Optional Versus Fully Hybrid

The disruption of 2020 and beyond catapulted every church into the digital age whether its leaders were ready or not.

The pivot to online ministry is not just a technological change, it’s also a philosophical one (or theological perhaps).

As the post-pandemic world becomes a greater reality for a growing number of leaders (I understand the pandemic still raging in many areas), many leaders are showing their true hand.

For a lot of pastors, online church lies somewhere between a necessary evil, an unfortunate necessity, or a service they offer that’s an option for people who can’t get there for the “real thing.”

In all likelihood, those church leaders are going to have a difficult future ahead of them.

There’s a smaller group of pastors and leaders, though, who are fully embracing a hybrid church model: deciding to become 100% physical and 100% digital.

They see digital not as an ‘accommodation’, but as both real ministry and an abundant opportunity.

Forward-thinking pastors realize that the best answer to the question “Should ministry be digital or physical?” is “Yes”.

Almost everyone these days lives in the seamless slipstream of digital/physical lives. You order your groceries on your phone and then walk into a coffee shop in person to pick up a cortado.

Similarly, you text your best friend, only to put down your phone and chat with your son in real life in the kitchen who shows you a YouTube video he finds hilarious.

This is life. I’m guessing it’s also your life because, well, you’re reading this online.

If you live a fully hybrid life, and the people you’re trying to reach live hybrid lives, why wouldn’t your church fully embrace a hybrid ministry that seamlessly slips between physical and digital presence?

— Carey Nieuwhof

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