|Pastor uses Internet as her pulpit, gathering place|
The Rev. Jacqui King, pastor of a new church organizing in
Houston called Nu Faith Community United Methodist Church, uses the
Internet to preach and connect with members of the virtual church. A
UMNS photo courtesy of the Rev. Jacqui King.
A UMNS Report
By Linda Green*
Oct. 3, 2007
The pastor of a newly created United Methodist church in Houston is
using the Internet as her pulpit and gathering place until a physical
building is constructed.
Nu Faith Community United Methodist Church, created last June by the Texas Annual (regional) Conference, exists now at www.nufaith.org.
The Rev. Jacqui King uses the Internet to preach, evangelize and
provide ministry and to solidify a community of faith within a virtual
"Nu Faith is really an opportunity to experience God in a brand new
way in a brand new faith community," King said. "It is also a chance to
just make disciples for Jesus Christ in a different kind of way."
King says there are people wanting to know God who have visited
churches, but they did not stay because they found those congregations
lacking in energy, passion and technology. "Nu Faith is a way for people
to allow God to meet them right where they are," she said. "At Nu
Faith, I want to be able to help them encounter God today."
The Internet allows King and a 25-member core group of wired
individuals to connect with others and introduce them to the Nu Faith
community. A semimonthly e-mail newsletter, called e-connection, provides information about the church, its ministry and plans.
Building on technology
Nu Faith "is a creative way to experience God through interactive
expressions of love, grace and hope, which use many diverse
technological formats," King said. "Virtual church helps us to reach
people who are living up the street and around the world while sharing
the love of Jesus Christ online."
The church will be launched next April 6 in a temporary location
before a building is constructed on a 10-acre site in northwest Houston.
The new church's vision is to promote peace, grace, mercy and love and
be a community of believers who will pray together, worship, serve and
King says many churches have a presence on the World Wide Web;
however, the Internet was not how those churches came into existence.
"The Web was either … added after the fact or something else," said
King. "They are not looking for it to be the DNA or the primary
structure of the church. We are looking for technology to be our
strength and major element."
"People can find everything on the Web --
love, money, jobs. Why take Jesus out of that equation if the Scripture
says our God is everywhere?"
--The Rev. Jacqui King
In addition to promoting the new church on the Web, a Bible study is conducted online and at King's home.
A "Living into Our Faith" study of the Book of James began Aug. 30.
On the first and third Thursdays at 6:30 p.m., "A Study at the House"
explores a passage from James. At 8:45 p.m., the study goes online and
"It is like having a talk show," King said. People can plug in though
a site called TalkShoe, listen and talk, or they can listen to the
entire taped program after the online study ends at 9:30. "It is
growing," she said.
The virtual Bible study is a response to people ages 24-45, young
families and those who cannot attend traditional Bible studies.
King also provides weekly audio and Web site reflections.
Reaching young adults
King says a virtual-faith experience is a way to reach a generation
that is not connected to any church. She says there are many reasons for
the absence of young adults in many traditional Protestant
denominations, but among them is "churches and members having not helped
the Word become relevant to where they are."
King said many traditional churches are "Sunday only" while the Nu
Faith virtual church is everyday. A person seeking a reflection, a word
or to express a concern can go to nufaith.org any time for spiritual
formation. "It makes God present and real where they are," King said.
Because the Internet is an avenue that people use to make social
connections today, King believes God is calling the church to make
e-connections for spiritual growth.
"If I am a person living in the 21st century and technology is part
of every aspect of my life, why would I ignore that in building up my
spirituality? … People can find everything on the Web –– love, money,
jobs. Why take Jesus out of that equation if the Scripture says our God
Nu Faith is one of 13 churches to be started by the Texas Annual
Conference in the coming year. Churches are to be established in Tyler,
Port Arthur and Houston. Several of the new church starts target
specific demographics such as young adults, ex-prisoners and Hispanics.
Efforts to build new congregations in Texas are part of Path One, a
United Methodist Board of Discipleship initiative seeking to help The
United Methodist Church start 650 new churches by 2012. The new emphasis
on church growth is a return to the church's evangelistic effort to
begin a new congregation every day.
*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Audio: The Rev. Jacqui King on:
What Nu Faith Community United Methodist Church is doing
Reaching people through new avenues
The role of the virtual church
God calling the church to use the Internet
United Methodist plan emphasizes new church starts
Commentary: Are you ready for the revolution?
A leadership resource on technology for ministry
NuFaith Community United Methodist Church
Texas Annual Conference
United Methodism 101
The Book of Discipline on Information Communications Technology