WiFi at church

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As I mentioned before, I am rather taken with some ideas at CucumberSandwiches.org's Future Parish Office Project. I'm especially keen on the "installing wifi in the church yard" idea.

The idea isn't so far-fetched. Some cities have a community of free wifi hot spots (mine does) and churches could be a part of that landscape, and as far as community services that don't require opening the building, it is far more pleasant than serving as a dog toilet.

TallSkinnyKiwi blogged about this a year ago from his experience in a Japanese church, and points out some practical pros and cons.

But the church with a WiFi zone I like the look of is Fellowship Church, of Grapevine, Texas. (Any visitors over the Fort Worth General Assembly?) Actually, there are a lot of "user-friendlinesses"I like about this church, including its cafe, hip-kitch style, and downloads for which might otherwise be a garden-variety Evangelical church.

5 Replies to “WiFi at church”

  1. I love this idea!! Living in a fairly un-hip spot of the planet, I have a feeling that we would attract lots of interesting people if we provided this. What if we went into partnership with a local cafe (it’s probably 1/4 mile away as the crow flies across the cemetery)? What is the distance limitation?

  2. I spent a year living in Dallas and I made it a point to try to visit different mega-churches. One of the ones I visited was Fellowship Church. Very interesting experience.

  3. OK… I’ll say more although the “best” part of this story should be told over a pint at a pub.

    I visited Fellowship Church (I think the actual name is “FellowshipChurch.com”) in May of 2002. It was Mother’s Day weekend. The week before I had preached at Horizon UU in suburban Dallas, where I was doing my internship. I was dating this girl I had met there and she had come to hear me preach. She had never been a church goer, and her response to my sermon was “Oh, so that is what church is like. Not so bad.” I responded to her by saying that some churches are quite a bit different. That intrigued her and she said, “Let’s go check out a very different one.” That’s how we wound up visiting Fellowship Church.

    At the time, Fellowship Church was about 22,000 members. They are out by the airport on this gigantic piece of land. They’re located right across the street from the Grapevine Mall, sort of a B-rate mall. When you approach by car both buildings look similar. You don’t know which is the Mall and which is the church! That’s how huge it is.

    We went on a Saturday evening service and their sanctuary was about half-full. I’d estimate they could about five thousand on the main floor and another 2 thousand in the balcony. I’m bad with estimating crowd size though. Probably 2 to 3 thousand came to this service.

    The service started out very cheesy. The church recognized all the new mothers in the last year. There was this massive line of couples (man in a suit, woman in a dress, holding a baby). One by one the couples walked in front of the stage and received a carnation. We lost count after about 50 couples. Very boring; very graduation-y. All the couples were WHITE. Very Stepford Wives!!!

    After that (which took a good 15 minutes plus) the rock band on stage played some praise songs. The words came up on the 3 video screens… but we were never invited to sing along. It was a performance, rather than congregational singing.

    Next one of the family pastors led us in prayer. Then the band played another couple of songs. Then Ed Young came out for the sermon.

    It was a mother’s day message and the sermon began with a slideshow of various TV moms… the moms from Leave it to Beaver, Brady Bunch, Cosby Show, and (gotcha) the Osbournes. Very pop culture. Ed joked on the mom from the Osbournes being a lousy mom.

    The sermon was a weaved-together mix of pop culture references, Biblical instruction (he used as a reference a story about a family from one of the historical books – Kings? Joshua? Chronicles? Not a story that I was familiar with and his interpretation was lousy.) After talking for about 20 minutes, he says, “I’ll be back after this commercial” and walks off stage.

    As he walks off stage the lights go down and a video of him comes up on the wide-screens. In the video he is in a tropical shirt and walking on a very gorgeous tropical beach. He says that next week he’ll be beginning a sermon series on “How to get to paradise.”

    Lights come up, Ed walks back on stage and he begins part two of the sermon. About 15 minutes into it, my friend gets really restless and we decide to leave. It’s actually a bit more dramatic than that, but that is a story for another time…

  4. PS – I just re-read my post above and I felt a need to clarify (because it is not clear how I wrote it). The person I was dating was NOT from the UU church I was at.

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