The sites are fully interactive, with a dedicated Internet pastor, live chat in an online “lobby,” Bible study, one-on-one prayer through IM and communion. (Viewers use their own bread and wine or water from home.) On one site, viewers can click on a tab during worship to accept Christ as their savior. Flamingo Road Church, based in Cooper City, Fla., twice conducted long-distance baptisms using the Internet.
“The goal is to not let people at home feel like they’re watching what’s happening, but they’re part of it. They’re participating,” said Brian Vasil, Flamingo Road’s Internet pastor.
Religious fast food?
The move online is forcing Christians to re-examine their idea of church. It’s a complex discussion involving theology, tradition and cultural expectations of how Christians should worship and relate. Even developers of Internet church sites disagree over how far they should go. Many, for example, will only conduct baptisms in person.
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