Can An Online Sermon Really Be Church?
welcome to real Christianity a weekly show designed to help Christians know their Bible defend their faith and truly understand what it means to follow Jesus the premise is simple the culture is getting louder the church is getting flash ear but few pastors are teaching on how to live a Biblical life my name is Dale Partridge along with my incredible wife Veronica join us as we start an important conversation about what it really means to be a Christian
 welcome to real Christianity today we are talking about can an online sermon really be Church in the wake of the coronavirus many Christian churches are having their congregations do online Church online sermons as their Church experience and it's causing us to ask a question can an online survey really be Church thanks for joining me today you guys know that Veronica is not here this morning recording with me she is out watching the kids we don't have that many babysitters and we can't do that right now with the social distancing so I'm doing this show so low if your regular listener to the real Christianity podcast thanks for being here guys it's a big deal so many of you loyal listeners we have probably tens of thousands of loyal listeners at this point
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 listen to this podcast on Spotify for those who are regular Spotify listeners you can subscribe that way and listen to our podcast every week it's automatically uploaded there and wanted to let you guys know that that existed so let's let's dive in and I'm going to have some great resources for you at the end of this episode so please do not miss that there's an awesome resources the brand new were just releasing them the day that this podcast is released and you will want to know about them all right at the very beginning of this coronavirus pandemic when churches began to stop meeting and began sending people home to watch sermons online I released a video on social media to help those who were legally permitted to gather in smaller groups to understand how to conduct a Biblical church meeting in their home on Sunday with a few families from their Church my reasoning
 I was watching a sermon online was not church and wow that statement made people very upset at about 20 to 30 messages from Christians who expressed expressed their frustrations and I had one lady actually say don't tell me that watching a sermon at home isn't Church there was an! There and hurt her statement as well so I want to talk about that statement today I think it's likely a position that many of you hold or have held in the past and I want to share why I think that that statement is a nun biblical perspective
 and not accurate to the scriptural definition of the local Church begin with an analogy so imagine if a man and a woman had sex and then the woman said don't tell me that sex isn't marriage
 well you know I would say well sex is a really important part of marriage but sex is not marriage marriage is much more complex and sex it requires a commitment before God requires gender roles that requires love and sacrifice and pursuit it also requires romance and Fidelity and spiritual leadership and a host of other aspects in addition a good marriage generally produces children and family and a home culture and Trust in a variety of other realities so to say that sex is marriage is a very superficial and almost silly statement the same is true when someone says that washing a sermon is church
 no sex in a marriage is critical just like sermon a sermon at a church is critical but just a sex is not marriage neither is a sermon what makes a church
 and like marriage the church is complex and its robust it's far more than a sermon but I can't actually blame most these people that are writing me these comments and his lady especially I can't blame OC's Christians for holding this perspective and why the western church you know you guys are your part of the society the western church has absolutely both directly and indirectly taught churchgoers that church is a servant you know we built an institution where the sermon is the center of the church Universe essentially we've created what I call audience Christianity and this is when we take the contributor model of church found in the scriptures and turn it into a consumer model of church that we are seeing in our modern era we basically created a
 to be an event and in that event we have inactive Spectators who sit in a chair or a few and watch Church watch a sermon or watch a band and this is again the heart of the modern Church experience it is infotainment driven and so why should I be shocked when someone yells at me from their couch that watching a sermon online isn't Church you know why are you saying that that why should I be telling them that watching the sermon online isn't church I shouldn't be shocked she's probably been taught this her whole life experience has definitely taught her that probably for many years
 but the truth is the church Gathering is much more than a servant it's regularity the church is commitment its membership it's communion its baptism its corporate worshiping its government Church government right through elders and deacons it's church discipline its gender roles it's the exercising of your spiritual gifts it's corporate prayer it's biblical order its accountability to scripture it's a protection from dr. O'Hara see it's fellowship with one another it's mutual ministering through relationship it's giving and receiving its meeting the needs of the Saints and yes it's the preaching of a servant but to diminish the church Gathering that happens every week in your hometown to merely watching a sermon and maybe singing
 play songs from your couch in my opinion a great insult to the doctrine of the church found in scripture I think it would also offend the thousands of Martyrs who gave up their lives so that we here in the West can meet in person without religious persecution now
 we're obviously in the middle of a unique time with the coronavirus pandemic that is limiting us from gathering in person and while a local church can accommodate you missing a few weeks you know gathering together in person because of Public Health because we care for the elderly in the compromise because were called to obey the government as long as they don't cause us to sin online church is not something however that can be sustained for too long without drastically affecting the health of a local church or health of the flock
 and I say this because the church is a living organism with living stones and the health of the flock is dependent upon the interpersonal relationships and fellowship within the local context
 in fact I would say many of the New Testament commands for how Christians are behave with one another or difficult if not impossible to obey if Christians are not regularly gathering in the local church together now this is just my opinion and I'm going to share but I don't think pastors are realizing how deeply this pandemic is going to disrupt the church going forward now many pastors are hoping church just goes back to normal in a few weeks and it might
 I don't expect that it will go back to normal at least not that quickly I think it'll go back maybe eventually but the speed of that return depends on a lot of things for example churches in New York City with her having tens of thousands of coronavirus cases will likely not be back in Action as a church for much longer than maybe a church in the midwest that has very few cases of the coronavirus President Trump stated he wants to see public life come back by Easter and he included churches in his statement he talked about how he wants to see churches get back by Easter get together Philip these churches
 how to get even if churches were legally permitted to gather by Easter I think it's unlikely that we're going to see the crowds that we usually do during this time for churches that's a big deal because Easter is generally the largest giving day of the year now they're not likely going to see a couple other things and this is something that's really important so pay attention here there they're likely also not going to see the older population and the immune-compromised population return sometime if ever I may be may be much later but we have for example an immune compromised
 at situation I guess it's a respiratory compromised situation my son is got a narrow trachea and he end up in the hospital even when you get the cold
 and so the idea of getting into a crowd of people right now or anytime soon doesn't seem appealing to me it doesn't seem wise actually to me at the same time I know God Stopping You guys heard my episode on the coronavirus but where there's God's sovereignty and there's man's responsibility to be wise and we have to sit in the tension between those two realities
 but since the church you know has made people comfortable
 and the idea of you can watch church at home just watch the sermon at home it should be a shock to us to see that many people adopt that way of meeting at the church as their new mode of church-going going forward I don't think they should shock us especially to see the older population and those that have an immune compromised individual their family doing that now what's scarier
 about that for churches is it the older population is generally the group that gives the most
 and if they don't return
 back to where they were in the frequency and in the capacity that they were proud of the coronavirus we're going to see a drop likely in getting that because many of these small and medium-sized churches to financially struggle if not close their doors I don't think any of this is a shock to got in fact I believe that the Lord is ordaining and even directing this disruption of the church then it might purify the flock and bring him glory
 but the question a lot of people are asking and I get this regularly especially like that the last couple weeks and I'm getting more and more from the older population of those people that have an immune compromised family member is how can Christians meet in a way that upholds the fullness of the biblical Church experience while protect themselves from the potential health risks of larger crowds so this is an important question and because the the current online solution it again insufficient as a long-term solution and is very isolating for the individual Christian again we are a body that's how the scriptures that Define the church were body and that means that we are connected and we need to find a format that permits the permits connection without
 permitting or inviting the health risks associated with larger crowds especially during this era of time that we are in right now if you guys know Veronica and I serve and lead a Biblical house church planting Ministry called relearn. Org and we've been Gathering as a church of five to Fifteen families for about seven years now and I say 5 to 15 because just over the last seven years sometimes there's 10 families in a family need to move away
 and sometimes there's seven families and sometimes were packed for 2 years straight with 14 families but over the past few weeks I've been just mentally
 overwhelmed with trying to help people figure out a solution during this coronavirus pandemic in working around the clock to try to prepare a few resources for those of you who feel that the Lord is calling you to a more intimate expression of church and interesting Lee I wanted to point something out I thought it was fascinating I'm seeing a correlation between homeschooling and home searching and the more that people find themselves comfortable with homeschooling the more I'm seeing people find themselves comfortable with home churching
 and they drive from the the kind of similar causes there was a reason that people don't like public school is that the size the lack of attention that's given to their child they also don't like the risks of school sickness the government management they don't like the school shooting in the same is true for churches in a many are looking for smaller more intimate Gatherings of people they want it to be safe a safe place from sickness and from church shootings which have somewhat been a thing over the last several years
 I want you guys to know that I'm not anti institutional church not at all I actually think there are many great biblical churches who meet in traditional Church buildings and they might be coming they might be becoming more scarce
 but they do exist I think they're harder to find in today's culture but they are there and I am in full support of those biblical churches however you do it our ministry our hope is to keep that same biblical ecclesiological Integrity that you would see in a doctrinally sound traditional Church in your city and move that into the format of a home with a handful of families and or singles and so this week were releasing three really important resources for those of you who are interested in exploring the idea of planting starting pastoring a Biblical House Church, tell me about these three things where you find them so first is a free and again I really free
 page PDF that's called the basics of biblical House Church and it's a it's a beautiful little document that I wrote and spent several days writing and I cover the seven fundamentals of a healthy House Church and I also on the last page of that I include the order of worship template is that we use at our house church that really creates the structure for how we meet it's at the home and you can get that at relearn Church. Org forward slash house and you can download that if you fill out the form please fill out the form with your your real information don't put like your spam or fake email or that kind of stuff just put in your Reformation we won't know who you are and so that we can support you
 the second resource that we're releasing is a new 110-page book that I just finished been working on this for about 6 months titled House Church the subtitle is the doctrines convictions and Order of worship of a Biblical House Church and that's only 1299 if you buy it from our store or I buy it on Amazon you can also get it on the landing page that I just mentioned relearn church.org house you can get it as a PDF there for 999 and just download it immediately if you want to if you want to support our ministry buy it from our Ministries website the links are there again you just go to relearn church.org for house and this little book is going to be an awesome
 foundation for you to understand the doctrine and how a church should operate in a home where we talked about the idea of relearning church we don't mean relearn the ecclesiology we don't mean relearn biblical shirt we mean take the same historic Evangelical ecclesiology that you would see in any great church and relearn the format relearn
 how to apply that Doctrine in a home and that's what we're trying to do and so we break that down in that book and it's a great little resource and it's a great way to support our ministry 3rd and this is what I'm most excited about we just launched our all-new biblical house church planting school at St Justin's. Org and that's St Justin's plural. Org in this is a one-year Cemetery grade online diploma of ecclesiology and to program for men and classes are not going to start for several months but the waitlist for open enrollment is open today and so if you're interested in planting a house church and becoming a house Church Pastor that's what this is for if you know
 somebody that is maybe already a pastor or is interested or as a High character you would already vouch for them to be an elder at your church they know the word of God they might have the gift of teaching and are interested in pursuing this we would love to have you send them to st. Justin's. Org and you can read about why we call the same Justin's not all of the pages are up yet but enough of the site is complete for you to go there and visit that we're still working on a handful of other pages but the our story page is up and the curriculum is up the homepage is ready there's a lot of great things available for you guys there
 bottom line we really want to serve the church not just in this time with the coronavirus pandemic but all the time and we're not trying to compete with the traditional Church we're trying to complement it and for those that are looking for a more intimate expression of church there is a Biblical solution and we want to help you understand it and so if you're one of those people that is at home and you feel like you might be at home for a long time because you're immune compromised or because your elderly or for whatever other reason you might not be getting said at your church or you just are looking for an intimate expression of church with a handful of families we would love to serve you in that way
 do you have any questions about these resources you can email us and I will see these at support a tree learn.org again that support a tree learn.org I know some of those domains are relearn church and one of them is relearn. Org we're transitioning over to relearn. Org but currently decide still operating on both so you can email both of those right now but support a tree learn.org is the best way to get a hold of us again thank you for joining this episode of real Christianity I pray that the Lord bless you and your church with wisdom in these very strange times we'll see you guys next Wednesday and take care
 thank you for joining us on this episode of real Christianity real Christianity is an audio Ministry of relearn church.org if you'd like more information on how to live out a Biblical life relearn church.org closest variety of particles podcast sermons and videos to support your journey real Christianity is 100% listener-supported Ministry and if you'd like to support our efforts simply click the donate a bad relearn church.org you can also connect with both Veronica and I on Instagram Facebook and Twitter for daily lessons and Bible teaching thank you for being with us today we hope to see you next Wednesday for another episode of real Christianity