Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

David McDonald, DMin

Second Advisor

Michael Hearn, DMin

Third Advisor

Leonard I. Sweet, PhD


Where it was once thought that the decline of traditional church goers into a brick and mortar edifice meant that America was becoming less “faith based”, the everincreasing number of online worshippers indicates otherwise. Due to the rapidly shifting culture toward an online worship experience, the traditional church must re-evaluate and reform their processes to include this new wave of Christianity. If churches cannot transition to accommodate the new culture of church that is only accessible via the Internet, there is a possibility that they could lose the opportunity to share the Gospel Message with a population that may never enter a church building. The aim of this study is to determine how the needs of the Internet church differ from the traditional church, and how this dynamic can be strategic in determining the most effective method of serving the e-church community. It will examine ways to build strong relationship bonds between the pastor and the Internet congregation and how social media can be instrumental in this effort. Thus, the research questions are as follows: Does the online church meet the religious needs through the internet connectivity, fellowship, and relational interaction? What is the role of a pastor who shepherds both traditional and Internet congregations? Does online church satisfy our corporate need to have a meaningful worship experience? In this context, the intent is also to identify and describe the Internet congregation’s demographic and how it impacts the pastor’s role, by researching the story behind the needs of the current Internet audience and how to effectively engage them in online participation. On this basis, it is recommended that pastors consider the major benefits of online church; the convenience xi that online religion permits, the unrestricted usage of a multiplicity of platforms, and the cost efficacy of reaching the world for Christ.

Included in

Christianity Commons