I have seen the future of church in America, and it is 3-D. On December 27, 2010, IBM announced 5 new technologies the company says, “That Will Change Our Lives in the Next Five Years” Of the five, the one which most intrigues is holographic chat - or "3-D telepresence." IBM predicts the this technology with become wide-spread in television, movies, cell phones, photography, and more by 2015.
This innovation has the potential to revolutionize worship we work, how we play, and how we worship. Here is a possible scenario:
Reverend Theodore Moore (Fictitious name) is pastor of Jesus Fellowship Earth, a mega-church which originated in Singapore. Rev. Moore’s church has grown from a handful of friends meeting in his living room into a mega-church spanning 4 continents with 25 million members. Over 50 million people attend his Sunday worship service. Every member of his congregation has a front row seat. He is close enough to each member that they can see the sweat on his brow, the emotion in his face, the subtle body language which he uses so well.
Information stored in databases in the “cloud” allow the pastor to greet each member personally. His sermon translated and delivered in real-time in the member’s native tongue. Praise and worship teams from the members own culture perform live along with the praise teams from every other culture, tongue, and nationality who are a part of Jesus Fellowship Earth’s congregation.
Members give their testimonies and prayer requests via phone or other computer interface. Members give their tithes and offerings electronically. Through new social networks , members can assemble large or small groups together for fellowship and prayer at a moments notice. During intercessory prayer time, the faces and voices of prayer partners across the globe are visible in your living room or prayer closet.
Far fetched? Sacrilegious? Does this ignore or side step the biblical injunction to “not forsake the assembling of yourselves?" In one form or another, this is possible now. Live video conferencing is here now. In 5 years, perhaps sooner some enterprising young pastor in Asia will have a vision and pursue it. And the effect will be that the knowledge of God, his gospel will be spread the world over has at no other time in history.