|dc.description.abstract||In the last several years we see the internet becoming a tool to extend a church’s offline ministry into online spaces. Many churches use social media platforms and livestream platforms to share their message to their community and to reach people around the world. One such platform is the Church Online Platform that is created by Life.Church. This online platform shapes traditional religious ceremonies and Christian practices of the church. I will use a tailor-made version of the walkthrough-method to better understand this phenomenon of “digital religion”, which means how digital media and spaces are shaping and being shaped by religious practice. Furthermore, I will examine the platform’s technological mechanisms and embedded cultural references to understand how it guides users and shapes their experiences.
I will focus on the religious practices’ ritual, community, and authority. First, I will analyze how the affordances of the platform shape the experience and practices of religion. Second, I will look at the vision of the platform because it can tell us how the platform can be used and what it is supposed to do. Finally, I will analyze the operating model of the platform whereby I look at the complex dynamics that take place between users, technologies, and business models which indicate underlying political and economic interests.
I conclude that the Church online platform is not a standalone platform, but it is part of a larger ecosystem were Google and Facebook are being in charge of. With nowadays technological possibilities churches are now capable to extend their religious ceremonies beyond their church walls hereby churches have to pay attention to what they show and don’t show to the world. Finally, I argue that the Church online platform is part of a Christian ecosystem with related apps and services named Life.Church Open Networks. In this way, Life.Church appropriates and remediates its authority across different platforms and churches.||