For this post I chose to explore the online community of my own hometown church. Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, TX can be considered a mega-church. With more than 19,000 active members and thousands more viewing sermons via Television broadcast, this is a church that is comparable to the LifeChurch discussed in Tim Hutchings article.
If you go to http://www.sacornerstone.org/ you will find many of the same aspects we saw on Online Church. There is a media center where you can view past sermons, download podcasts, download music, and view video blogs. There is a tab dedicated to all the ministries that the church offers from young adults, to young marrieds, to widows; each group is represented with information on the website. There is also a donation page where you can give money considered tithes or extra donations on top of weekly tithes.
This online community is comparable to LifeChurch because it utilizes its website as a platform for futhering the reach of the physical church. It is not meant to replace the physical community, but to suppliment it.
One difference is that Cornerstone Church does not offer an online chat tool, they only have email correspondence. This also encourages physical committment because in order to have that discussion-type relationship with other members, one must go to the church. You are able to recieve responses from church officials via email, but no member-to-member communication is encouraged through the website.
Links to the churches Facebook and Twitter are also present on the webpage, these tools could facilitate communication between members if one desired to do so.
Online communities are, as of now, meant to be seen as compliments of church bodies, not substitues. But who knows how far these online communities could progress in the future?