The Indiana e-Christian

News and information from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indiana

DisciplesNet Emerging as a Church without Walls

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Is it possible to find God on Facebook? Can you really “Tweet” spiritual truths? Could Myspace turn into a sacred space?

Deb Phelps, the founder and senior pastor of DisciplesNet Church, believes in the largely untapped potential of the internet as a way to share God’s love with a global community too often left unreached by traditional brick-and-mortar churches.

Planted with a vision of tending, mending and extending the nets of Jesus Christ, DisciplesNet is an emerging church within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indiana. It has the unique distinction to be the first Disciples of Christ congregation with a primary vision of existing as a web-based congregation offering global outreach, a 24/7 prayer network, streaming and recorded worship services, small group ministries, daily devotions, an arts ministry and much more.

While this may sound like a grand vision for an emerging congregation, it’s a vision Phelps believes in strongly with an experienced pastoral leadership team already called into place to assist in the planting, development and the everyday management of DisciplesNet.

Phelps envisioned DisciplesNet while still a student at CTS and quickly grew a heart for individuals with physical, mental and intellectual disabilities. Realizing that these individuals are often under-served, even ostracized, by traditional churches, she began to explore ways in which the internet could be used to reach out to individuals who may not be able to access a physical congregation due to disabilities, geographical locations, traumatic experiences within churches or because their personal or professional lives make it difficult to attend traditional worship services.

As a new model for ministry within the Christian Church, DisciplesNet is faced with many of the challenges and obstacles encountered by other more traditional emerging congregations. The congregation, like its brick-and-mortar counterparts, must work to build community, develop a congregational identity, fulfill the requirements of emerging congregations and grow into a fully self-supporting ministry.

Being primarily web-based also presents challenges such as overcoming language barriers, building community-based activities without face-to-face encounters, intangibly expressing the sacredness and ritual of church life and creating a congregation that is involved, interactive and relational through the use of chat, video, instant messaging, message boards and more.

Currently nesting within Southport Christian Church in Indianapolis, the DisciplesNet leadership team is meeting weekly to work, worship and pray with one another while building several small groups on Facebook to encourage fellowship among Christians in the United States, Canada, Pakistan, Congo, Italy and other nations.

Phelps is quick to express that she believes DisciplesNet will complement the existence of traditional churches, offering a way for all Christians to more easily reach out locally and globally. While DisciplesNet is envisioned as a web-based congregation, the church plans to expand its weekly worship services within Central Indiana and hopes to build relationships with churches globally so that DisciplesNet members will have the opportunity to grow into community if and when they are able to and desire to do so.

Interested persons can visit the DisciplesNet site at Phelps and her team are working fervently to complete remaining components of the web-based congregation in the very near future.


Written by ccindiananews

November 19, 2010 at 10:03 am

One Response

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  1. I am very excited about this new ministry area within the church! Shalom ~ Katie Alexander


    November 27, 2010 at 10:22 am

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