Revisiting An Online Discipleship Discussion

Today I was doing some research regarding online discipleship and came across a past Think Christian discussion. This discussion talks about how our culture is becoming "high touch" in light of its rapid movement toward being "high tech." It also stated that, for that reason, discipleship can not happen effectively online.

At what point is face to face needed? required? to live a life “in a bubble” called “virtual space” means little if there is not community developed – how can i pick you up and help dust you off if the only way i can speak with you is in a chat room, or in a email? How can you help me with a daily struggle to keep right with God, if all i have is a avatar and text messaging?[Quote from an email by John Naisbitt]

I agree with John Naisbitt that as we become more “high tech,” we will crave more “high touch” relationships. That’s why I think “virtual church” is an oxymoron.

First, lets define online discipleship. Christian discipleship is the process of encouraging and facilitating growth toward being more like Christ in your own life or the life of another. So then, online discipleship would be using the tools of the Internet to encourage and facilitate growth toward being more like Christ.

I agree that without community, discipleship can not be nearly as effective. But does that community absolutely need to be face-to-face? In today's world of social networking, online discussions, blogs, Second Life, and online churches, do you think it is possible for true discipleship to happen online?

If so, What are some examples you've seen online that are effective at doing this?

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Muslims are turning to Christ in millions over the media like tv and online. Praise God! I can see that the Lord is manifesting His grace in a way we can’t explain. I can really say that there a lot of “online-seekers” who are consulting different ideologies and worldviews to answer their pursuit. Sad to lot of them were influenced by media-savvy propagation of worldy beliefs.

I agree we can’t replace organic discipleship by online relationship. Growth is organic not just programmatic. But we don’t want to miss the opportunity of helping other believers who are looking for resources and mentors(esp those who are living in a persecuted situations). I think online discipleship is a proactive response to the changing world with an unchanging need. We can utilize available tools for expanding God’s kingdom while being active in our own personal ministry(face to face).

Paul said in Corinthians, “We are in words when we are absent, we are in deeds when we are present…”

Paul used letters or scrolls(available media in their times) to sustain and keep on growing his authentic discipleship. Why can’t we?

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