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Digital Presence That Defies the Ordinary

Digital Presence That Defies the Ordinary

When I think about the church’s digital presence, my mind returns to the same principles that guided the building committee years ago. Just as with church architecture, I think about what it means to dignify the ordinary in a digital setting. What does it mean to be a prism of God’s light on social media? In what ways do the “doors” of our digital presence point people to the cross?

I love my church’s physical building. Perhaps absence is indeed making the heart grow fonder because I’ve found myself thinking a lot about that building lately. In this time of isolation—as I’m stuck more-or-less inside the walls of my own house—I really miss my church and what the building evokes. Let me tell you a little bit about it.

First, I love the architectural design concept. A building facilitates activity, but it also communicates the values and vision of its users. Believing this, the building committee years ago adopted the concept of “dignifying the ordinary.” This concept was expressed in the building’s layout—the worship space evokes a town square, where all people can gather—as well as in its construction—simple, common materials come together with grace and care to glorify God and serve his people.

Second, I love its brightness. Our church’s mission statement includes the phrase that we are “a prism for God’s light.” The building makes tangible this charge to be a prism of God’s light by its many large windows and translucent dome above the worship space. Entering the church indeed feels like walking into the light.

Finally, and most importantly, I love that it points me to the cross. The entire complex follows a circular pattern. At the building’s center is a structural, steel “tree” with a cross at the top. The tree is beautiful, but its presence isn’t merely aesthetic. It’s actually integral to the structure of the building. Remove that cross and the church building would literally fall apart. Even more, because of the circular pattern of the building, the cross remains always at the center. All entrances direct you toward the cross.

Applications in a digital setting

The dynamic nature of digital media—and the speed with which change occurs—provide unique challenges to answering these questions. I can rebuild a website far more quickly and cheaply than I can rebuild our church building. That makes my work in digital communications particularly prone to dissatisfaction, envy, perfectionism, and mimicry—what I refer to in another article as “the chase.”