Although churches are livestreaming services by necessity because of the pandemic, this digital gospel ultimately could lead to a great awakening. That’s the view of Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif.
He and his team were pleasantly surprised to see that their first week of shifting services to online-only drew over 250,000 viewers and has been growing ever since.
“Last week, we had over a million people tune in for church,” he said. “These are people literally from all around the world, from every age and background, who are missing church. So, to the best of our ability, we are bringing church to them. What’s more, hundreds of thousands of them are people whom marketers would refer to as the ‘target demographic’ between the ages of 18 and 34.”
Ever since the shutdown began, viewership among millennials has increased 235 percent, Laurie said. The Gospel has never been more available to people, thanks to the pandemic.
“Could it be that simply by responding as best and as quickly as we could to something no one saw coming, we’ve unwittingly stumbled into part of God’s answer to a generational riddle?” he asked. “We touch our phones a shocking 2,617 times a day, and 84 percent say they can’t go a single day without their phone. Most people under 30 can’t even remember a world before cell phones. Perhaps this is why some psychologists refer to millennials as ‘Generation Panic.’ They have been so inundated by a world of unrealistic comparisons and ‘excessive expectations’ online that they are afflicted by ‘a harsh inner critic and an obsessive need to achieve.”
A millennial friend reportedly told Laurie that he believes it only makes sense that God would bring revival through laptops and phones now and that he had an encounter with God while watching a broadcast in the privacy of his home with no one watching and no pressure to behave or perform.
“But here is the most surprising thing to me about this new, burgeoning online congregation,” he said. “At the end of my message, I extended an opportunity for people to pray and ask Jesus Christ to come into their lives. At last count, over 31,000 have responded. That’s in four weeks.
“You’ve heard of ‘life imitating art.’ Well, this is virtual reality becoming actual reality.”
– Alan Goforth | Metro Voice