In the fall of 1985, as a sophomore at Baylor University, I took a class, Introduction to Computers, that changed my life by opening my eyes to the wonderful world of computing. Among the many new terms that I learned during that semester, an extremely important term, was “reboot”.
Webster defines “reboot” as to start anew: to make a fresh start. Now that many churches are opening up their buildings, it’s like rebooting their church services. For the last couple of months, churches have been meeting virtually, but we are rebooting church services and starting in person anew.
Who would have believed that almost all churches worldwide would cancel their weekly services and activities and essentially close their doors to a world in crisis, all in the space of just a couple of months? Computers and technology have come to the rescue. If the coronavirus had hit the world 30 years ago, churches around the world would have stopped meeting. But today, the church has the technology to continue to meet online. It’s amazing when you think about it. Every church building was shut down, and yet the church survived and, in some cases, thrived.
What have we learned? We learned that the church, the family of God, the body of Christ, can survive without a building, and can at least temporarily survive by meeting virtually on-line. We have learned that the church can reach those that would not come to our buildings and even reach people around the world. We have learned that people value convenience concerning their church services. They want to worship anytime and anywhere.
In 1975, McDonald's opened its first drive-thru window, following Wendy's lead. This service gave Americans a fast, convenient way to procure a quick meal. The company's goal was to provide service in 50 seconds or less. Everyone knows that McDonald’s doesn’t make the best burger, but they became known for making food fast, and the term fast food was born. McDonalds learned that Americans are busy, want something fast, and that we love convenience. Now, many of their restaurants are open 24/7. In a word, convenience, to reach anyone, anytime.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, many people have become used to staying home and enjoying watching their church services, which were convenient and shortened. Although we might be tempted to discontinue streaming our church services, we need to continue on with this new practice of streaming our services, which gives everyone opportunities to watch or listen to the church service anytime and anywhere. Obviously, this is needed for our members who are older and not yet ready to return to public services or for those who are ill and not able to get to church. In addition to that though, is the need to make our services more convenient and accessible. It is great for church members who want to watch the service over again during the week at their convenience. And then, as we’ve learned, people who have never come to our churches in person are out there searching and may more readily come to a virtual service so we need to continue to stream as an outreach to those who might not desire to come to the church building to hear and learn about God. Our churches need to be available 24/7 for anytime, anywhere, anybody.
In a church reboot, we can get rid of all of the things that hampered the church and start again with a focus on discipleship and evangelism. It seems like the church has been bound inside the 4 walls of the church building for over a thousand years, and it’s time for the church to be let loose, scattered, deployed out into all of the world. Keeping the main thing, the main thing. Making fishers of men. We do this by having our church services available and convenient for church members, the marginalized, and as outreach tool that might reach those who are curious about the church but unwilling to attend their local church.
For the last 12 years or so, I have exclusively read and studied my Bible that is located on my phone, iPad, or computer. My prayer journal is also electronic, located on my phone. Even the watch I use is digital. I read my Bible that’s located on my phone because I can read my Bible at any time and it’s always with me. It’s convenient. I personally listen to church sermons as I drive around town, listening anytime and anywhere.
We are on the verge of a major change, with the church going on-line and digital. Yes, this is a major change, but the Bible and history has had many changes. Jesus instituted huge change, as did the Apostle Paul. Christians went from meeting on Saturdays to Sundays, from the temple courts to houses. Gutenberg instituted change in that the Bible could be quickly printed, and Martin Luther instituted a “reboot” of the church in the 1500’s. Then came translators, who translated God’s Word into different languages, allowing God’s Word to be read across the world.
It’s time to reboot the church and infuse in it the vision to reach people the entire week, all 168 hours, instead of just the couple of hours on Sunday mornings. May churches grow their on-line presence and become an anytime, anywhere, anybody church.