Online churches are Internet-based Christian communities,
pursuing worship, discussion, friendship, support, proselytization,
and other key religious goals through computer-mediated
communication. The first examples appeared in the mid-1980s, but
this genre of online activity has been revolutionized over the last
decade by considerable institutional investment and the rise of new
low-cost social media platforms. Hundreds of thousands of people
are now involved with online congregations, generating new kinds of
ritual, leadership, and community as well as new networks of global
Creating Church Online is the first large-scale sociological
investigation of this area, offering a significant and timely
advance in the study of religion, media, and culture. Five
ethnographic case studies are presented, based primarily in the UK,
USA, and Australasia, providing levels of detail, scope, and
variety previously unexplored by researchers in this field.
Comparative analysis of these case studies demonstrates the
emergence of intriguing new hybrids of digital, local, and
institutional religion, reflecting major shifts in contemporary
patterns of religious commitment. Author Tim Hutchings constructs a
rich account of the culture and practice of five online churches,
emphasizing worship, leadership, and community and the relationship
between online and everyday life. Through such in-depth analysis,
this book explores the significance and impact of online
churchgoing in the religious and social lives of participants, as
well as the relationship between online and everyday life, in
search of a new theoretical framework to map religious users
engagement with new media."
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