‘The church has left the building.’ That was the message – and challenge – from Pastor Nathan Hedt to those at the LCANZ’s inaugural online Digital Mission and Ministry Forum (DMMF) last month.

The LCANZ’s New and Renewing Churches pastor told those who attended the forum held on the Zoom platform that technological advancements, combined with the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic, presented new mission opportunities. ‘We don’t just go to church; we are the church. We are the body of Christ’, Pastor Nathan, who presented at the day-long conference, said. ‘Thanks to the possibilities of the digital world, and the pandemic, the church has left the building.’

There were 125 registrations for the forum from across Australia and New Zealand and from as far away as Japan and Africa. Session topics included online worship, online evangelism, and online discipleship.

Lutheran Media Director Richard Fox said the digital world enabled God’s love to reach millions who may never walk into a church building. ‘To hear how we can connect and build relationships in Jesus Christ with millions of people through the latest technologies is inspiring’, he said. ‘What an amazing opportunity we have been given to reach people with the hope of Jesus Christ.’

LCANZ Local Mission Executive Officer Dr Tania Nelson said forum participants were encouraged to ‘keep adapting’, which reminded her of a quote from US theologian Tod Bolsinger. ‘He said: “To live up to their name, local churches must be continually moving out, extending themselves into the world, being the missional, witnessing community we were called … to be: the manifestation of God’s going into the world.”’

The DMMF planning team will review forum feedback and consider future digital mission events and opportunities.

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