Is it enough for me to watch a sermon online every Sunday? I have some Christian friends that I spend time with and we pray together sometimes. I study the Bible on my own and listen to my favorite preacher online every week. What need would I have to get up and go to a brick and mortar church every Sunday?

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    Or TV, or radio?
    – Flimzy
    Aug 31, 2011 at 7:09
  • @warren: I don't think this is a duplicate at all. Christ's presence with believers when they gather doesn't necessary make that a church. Asking about the validity of fellowship is not the same as asking about the scope of "church". These should be addressed separately, even if some traditions will hold that they are the same, others will not and answers would NOT be interchangeable on these two questions.
    – Caleb
    Aug 31, 2011 at 15:25
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    This answer of yours seems to be a good reason for actually visiting a church building.
    – user23
    Sep 5, 2011 at 16:57

2 Answers 2


This depends on what your church services provide for you and your own life situation.

As a Catholic, I can't really do that because I cannot receive Eucharist at home, unless a priest comes over, in which case I could. But this doesn't lend itself well to internet services.

Another common reason people go to a service is because of fellowship and community worship. You may fellowship via the internet with others but you don't get the day-to-day interaction online that you may in person. The dynamic is different. Also, it is a different experience worshiping in a group vs. alone. It is very important for a Christian to build relationships with other Christians because it provides some support and an avenue for growth in your faith. Church services are a major way to fill that need.

I would say that if you don't have any better options, or you physically are unable to make it to your service on Sunday, having an online service may fill that void. Many elderly even watch church services on TV if they are homebound.

I personally do them in addition to going to a physical church. They can be worth it. But I would only replace a physical service with an online one out of necessity, myself.

  • Agree, getting out of bed, dressed and out the house and off the PC for a reason other than work is great, it forces you to see the people who are around you, e.g. your neighbours, because people on the internet won't be there to help you when there's a flood in your street. Sep 6, 2011 at 6:12

Searching what the Bible has to say about this, I came upon Hebrews 10 : 25

5 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

It depends on , does being on the internet qualify as "assembling"? Looking up the meaning of "assembling", we get:

bring together or gather into one place, company, body, or whole. (Emphasis my own)

It's pretty clear therefore, that going to a place where there are other believers is necessary. That doesn't necessarily mean a church, it could be a house, or a field, but as long as there are other believers gathered together at that location worshipping the Lord, that's fine.

I looked this up on its Greek origin, that is, the Greek word behind "assembling", and I found it came from:

ἐπισυναγωγή gathering together , assembling together

Thus, the dictionary reference above would be quite dependable.

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    I tend to agree with your conclusion but I don't think your argument holds water. The dictionary is hardly an authority on Christian doctrine, and even if it was you could argue that a video conference room fit the definition of "in one place".
    – Caleb
    Aug 31, 2011 at 7:18
  • You wouldn't be in one place physically. Note the preposition "into", implying a physical movement of some sort. Also, "bring together" and "company". A company of people doesn't refer to a group of people gathered over the internet
    – Cryst
    Aug 31, 2011 at 7:20
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    I don't think the Greek word definition (incidentally in English) helped at all. There is no data here about whether that could apply to a technical circumstance that didn't exist 2k years ago. They didn't "huddle" on Google+, but all of the the words mentioned here that you say demand a physical and not virtual action can very much be used to speak of virtual actions.
    – Caleb
    Aug 31, 2011 at 20:25

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