Is Live Stream a Death Blow to the American Church?

The live-stream debate

Thomas E. McDaniels
Oct 30 · 4 min read

The statistics of the American church are not promising.

The churches are yet to feel the full effects of the projected outcomes.

Experts, coaches, and consultants are searching for answers.

Some believe that multi-sites, campuses, and technology are the solution.

Will live-stream be a lifeline or a death blow to an industry that once thrived?

Churches thrived in the Judea-Christian era

Our forefathers front-loaded the founding documents with Christian values.

Bill Flax of Forbes writes: “The founding documents of every one of the original thirteen colonies reveal them to be awash in the concepts of Christianity and God.” America wasn’t founded as a Christian nation and many of our beloved Forefathers sadly were not, yet America was largely comprised of Believers. Liberty allows us to worship freely or not at all per conscience. America was never meant to be theocratic or homogenous religiously, but Christianity has always been indelible to our social fabric.

Christianity remains a part of our cultural fabric and still has a measure of influence in our communities. But the most recent statistics of church attendance reveal a coming change.

The Millennial generation is a factor in demographic changes. The Millennials view church differently than the former generations.

As recently as 30 years ago, 67 percent of Americans attended and supported a local church. The most recent (2013) poll by the Pew Research Center reported that just 37 percent of Americans attended church weekly (Gallup’s estimate came in at 39 percent in 2013).

Gallup gives a broader view. In 1967, Gallup found that about 2% of Americans — or 1 out of every 50 — claimed no religious preference. By 2014, that number had grown to 16%, or about 1 in 7.

It’s still increasing today.

America is now a post-Christian nation

Can technology provide an answer? We will see.

Is live-streaming services a positive or a negative? It’s a Catch 22.

Research reveals both negatives and positives of using social media to broadcast church services.

Here’s a positive.

Pew Research found that 72 percent of online adults use social media. Every age group continues to experience growth, particularly those over 65 who have tripled their usage in the last four years — from 13 percent in 2009 to 43 percent this year.

Social media is a game-changer. But the caveat is knowing which way it will break.

Rejecting technology is not an option.

David Rainer weighs in; As a church, we should develop an appreciation for the technological advances that the Internet has to offer. Our young millennial families are kept abreast about the latest events because of their technological involvement. Skype, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Foursquare, Blogger, etc are all forms in which this generation keeps in constant contact with the world around them. While there are many pitfalls in this social networking web, there is also a great deal of benefits. Keeping leaders and the church in front of these young families through social media is an essential tool for reaching out and keeping the activities of the church in the forefront of the busy lives of the millennial family

But some believe live-streaming services provide people a good excuse to stay home.

David Murrow of PATHEOS shares why people choose to live-stream

  • A great choice in bad weather
  • Convenient, if someone is sick
  • It’s comfortable (watch in your pajamas)
  • You don’t have to sing (or pretend to sing songs you don’t know)
  • No fighting the crowd
  • Comfortable to introverts
  • No dealing with difficult people
  • No pressure to give
  • Choose the service

People love church at their fingertips

Church on a computer screen is not a comparable substitute to a face-to-face encounter.

Digital reality never equals reality. The online church lacks the ability to provide a human touch.

The Live-Stream church can show what’s happening, but it rarely relays the experience.

You may sense a moment of silence through live-stream but fail to feel the hush.

Pastor Karl Vaters said it best; “Online church is real church, but it’s not real enough.

Thank you for reading this post. Find additional inspiring articles by visiting my website.

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Thomas E. McDaniels

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Aspiring writer and the guy behind thomasmcdaniels.com. Former writer for ChurchLeaders.com and currently write OP-Eds for Fox News. I truly enjoy Medium.com

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