An online church with weekly worship services and ministries draws around 100,000 unique viewers a week. LifeChurch.tv is among many in the church community that are embracing the "communications revolution."
Bobby Gruenewald, Life Church pastor and innovation leader for "Church Online," told those watching an online forum that they "see over a 100,000 unique computers every week that come to one of our services at Church Online and we're able to measure the results from the people that come through it."
"We have people from all over the world; I think it's literally 120 countries and territories every week that participate in [worship]."
His remarks came as part of the first ever "Face the Nation" – Google+ Hangout, which took place on Thursday. Hosted by "Face the Nation" anchor Bob Schieffer, the online event's topic was that of religion in America.
"Since this is the holy week for both Judaism and Christianity, we thought it would be good and appropriate to dedicate this first Goggle Hangout to the state of religion in America," said Schieffer before those watching online in the half-hour long program.
"The traditions, the stories, the values of these two great religious traditions, spread around the world long before there was even a printing press. Certainly long before there was cable … but how are they surviving now in the midst of this communications revolution?"
Sarah Pulliam Bailey, the online editor at Christianity Today, responded to Schieffer's remarks by stating that Christianity is doing more than subsisting in the modern technological era.
"You were talking about how religion is surviving in this new age and I say it's actually thriving. I think that especially evangelicals, Christians in general, take up forms of new technology and they run with it. They do all sorts of new innovations," said Bailey.
"You'll see all these social networks, these new iPad apps, lots of technology we're seeing going on in the church right now."
Gruenewald explained that one of the strategies Church Online does is place Google banners on searches that people will use for things like pornography.
"Those ads that we run are for things that would not be typical. We're basically running ads on things like for people who are searching for naked ladies," said Gruenewald.
"And in that moment when they are searching for that, we're giving them a very straightforward ad that says something along the lines of 'searching for naked ladies? Try Church Online instead.'"
Gruenewald also explained that Church Online does its best "to basically build our church community in an online context."
"We have a church that meets in physical locations and buildings, but we thought what if we could leverage this Internet technology to really create and foster community online," he said. "Not just simply connect people to content, but connect people to people. And so we started that about six years ago."
In addition to Gruenewald and Bailey, other guests for the Google+ Hangout included Jason Illian, founder of GodTube and current CEO of Rethink Books, and Rabbis Laura Baum and Robert Barr of OurJewishCommunity.org.