Every morning at 7:00 young adults from BrokenBuilders United Methodist Church in Manhattan, New York, log on to their computers and mobile devices to share the Word of God and pray together. Believing that an abundant life comes from an intimate fellowship with the Holy Spirit, this online morning prayer service helps to spiritually center people as they begin the day. The online service is conducted in the same way that traditional morning prayer services are conducted, including congregational singing, corporate prayer, a sermon, and individual prayer time. Participants can have a conversation by speaking through their microphones or typing in the chat window. Participation from the lay leadership is prevalent and positive, and several lay leaders take turns hosting the online service and leading prayer.
As a new church that serves mostly young single professionals, BrokenBuilders recognizes the importance and effectiveness of online tools in ministering to its members. Late-night lifestyles and work commitments present obstacles to commuting to church every morning for the traditional prayer service. The online prayer service is convenient, private, and comfortable. It minimizes time commitment and facilitates focused and heightened attention. It allows those who frequently travel for business to be regular participants, as they can join the service from any location.
Participants of the online morning service testify to its importance as it has become integrated into their daily lives. It helps them experience a deeper intimacy with God as they are nurtured and empowered to live as disciples. Conversation among the participants provides a forum for fellowship and dialogue beyond the Sunday service and strengthens the community.
Some Questions for Discussion
- What are the obstacles that prevent young adults in your congregation from fully participating in the life of the congregation? How might you adapt traditional ministries in the congregation to allow a greater participation by young adults?
- In what ways might your church combine online and offline tools for effective ministry to reach out to a wide spectrum of generations in a postmodern world?