WILKES-BARRE, Pa.—Restored Church’s online presence is simplifying the operational side of church life while keeping people informed, connected, and accountable. It’s helping the church fulfill its mission.
“The front door to the church is no longer a physical door that people walk through to gain entry to the church,” Tim Walker, the church’s shepherding pastor, told Geri Gibbons of The Times Leader. “The front door to our church is our online presence.”
The church’s new website and app are a gateway to church life, providing basic information, such as location, identification, mission, vision, and core values. The curious can listen to and watch sermons, sign up for an orientation class, and learn about ministries. From the app, people can get directions and contact information for the church’s various locations, and from the website, find out where to park at the main building in Wilkes-Barre (a parking area has been designated for guests). Regular attenders also have designated parking, but if that lot is full, a map on the church website shows where off-street parking is available.
For new believers and members, the website and app remove the uncertainty of who to approach to learn about baptism or discipleship—they can sign up online. Volunteers, too, can complete an online form on either the website or app indicating the area of service they’re interested in; online giving is available on both mediums; and members of the church and community can use the website to schedule counseling.
Restored Church is a network of house churches that comes together on Sunday for a Gathering (a.k.a. Sunday morning worship service). The church provides a dedicated website for hosts, leaders, coaches, and interested parties for the nine (and counting) house churches. There they find information, suggestions, encouragement, and forms for reporting, celebrating, and asking questions.
Keith Wagner, who leads a house church Bible study in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, told The Times Leader he uses the church app to encourage Bible study attendees. “Not all of those who come to Bible study are able to make it to Wilkes-Barre for Sunday services,” he said. “Technology allows them to experience the church even when they can’t physically get there.”
Pastor Dan Nichols says an online presence also keeps the church’s leaders accountable. “We post to Facebook on a regular basis,” he said. “You can see that I’ve taken my wife out for date night or am spending time with my son.”
While technology simplifies caring for the practicalities of church life and keeps people connected and accountable, it is helping Restored Church reach its mission: multiplying followers of Jesus. As the website says, “We’re sinners. Jesus came. We can be rescued through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus’ perfect life, death, and resurrection on our behalf. We are daily motivated by the grace and mercy of God the Father, through Jesus, in the power of the Spirit. So as we fall deeper in love with Jesus we will live our lives for God, not ourselves, and communicate the gospel in every aspect of life.”