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Most of us, if not all of us, have a smartphone. The internet connection allows us to do all sorts of things, including sending emails, posting on social media, browsing the internet, and even participating in worship online via Zoom. The smart phone has really changed our lives. Many of us do not switch it off, it charges by the side of our beds when we sleep, and we are often glued to it through the day. The question that many of us wrestle with is whether we should switch it off or not.

How can the church learn how to use this digital interface in a responsible manner? Clearly, it is not going away any time soon. There are fully online churches as well as physical or concrete churches that interact with worshippers from around the world using digital platforms. In some cases, people participate through offering testimonies or posting prayers in a chat box, which are then picked up and contribute to the physical, in-person worshipping experience.

There are no simple solutions to the challenges that the digital interface poses for worshipping congregations. Sung worship online is clearly a different experience to being physically present in a sea of people who are moving to the beat of the music. The celebration of the sacraments can be a little tricky online since physical matter is not mediated digitally, such as water or bread and wine. But this may not be a problem, depending on your theology of the sacraments. Some pastors have embraced the digital platforms with enthusiasm, as they lay hands on the computer screen to mediate the ‘anointing for healing’. One academic commentator has coined the phrase ‘Zoompartation’ to capture the idea of using Zoom to pray for healing globally.

Your invitation to join the conversation

If these ideas interest you, or if you have experiences of interfacing with digital platforms that you think we can learn from, then join London School of Theology for a special session on 8th June: ‘Switch it on, switch it off: conversations between physical and digital church in the context of worship.’

This unique event, as part of London School of Theology’s Faith Seeking Understanding series, will be led by Mark Cartledge, London School of Theology’s principal, and Sam Hargreaves from Engage Worship. You can sign up here to join in person or online.

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About Faith Seeking Understanding

Faith Seeking Understanding is a series of church training sessions designed to equip Christians and churches to delve deeper in theological topics, unpacking them in an accessible and practical way. These events are led by London School of Theology’s specialist faculty and guest speakers.

About London School of Theology

London School of Theology is an independent and interdenominational Theological College with externally validated degrees. Supported and respected by the wider Christian community and academia, our vision is to form disciples of Jesus Christ and resource the ministry of churches, impacting society by our witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God. We do this by providing theological and interdisciplinary education in Christian community.


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