LOS ANGELES, Dec. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — With more than 3 billion people using the Internet by 2015, the trend of people relying on the Internet to connect with each other is showing no signs of slowing down — and that’s just fine with Jimmie Davidson.
As a church planting pastor, he’s using the Internet to recruit and train new leaders in cities across the country simultaneously to launch hundreds of new churches over the next year. And it doesn’t stop with recruiting — each location of The Brooks Church will also use the Internet to deliver the actual sermons and teaching for each week’s church service. The Brooks Church is the first digitally-native church built (or rather, streamed) from the ground up.
Davidson, a pastor based in Los Angeles, is not new to starting churches. Previously, Davidson founded Highlands Fellowship Church, which grew to a size of 4,000 attendees weekly. He has also been part of the pastoral team at Saddleback Church, one of the fastest-growing churches in the country. But now, Davidson has an even larger vision to build a church that engages a digitally-native generation everywhere.
Several well-known churches — like Saddleback Church and Life.Church, to name a few — offer streaming video across the Internet as a way to share their church services, but Davidson’s model for a digital church takes the idea one step further.
In the traditional model of church-planting, pastors often begin their services in rented spaces, like schools or hotels. As their attendance grows, they might offer video streaming of their sermons and worship services online later as a complementary offering.
With The Brooks, Davidson is flipping the model so that multiple churches are launched online intentionally using Internet-streamed video as an integral part of the church service itself. The Brooks has already trained several local church service hosts around the country. The volunteers open their homes, meet at coffee shops or even workplaces to facilitate weekly church services, which are streamed over the web, like Netflix. The videos feature Davidson who delivers the sermon, and is followed by discussion and community activities in the host homes.
“We realized the need to take the brick and mortar out of the church model entirely,” he says. “Some stats report that 68 percent of church plants don’t last past the first year. The pressures of mounting expenses like real estate or meeting space rental costs can close the doors of a new church soon after they open them.”
With Davidson’s model, all efforts to advertise and promote the church will be done entirely online. “Everything — from the invitations to conducting services to community announcements — is being built with an Internet-centric approach,” Davidson says.
“The added benefit is that inviting any of the 85 percent of Millennials who do not attend church over to a home gathering is much easier than to a church building, which can bring much baggage with it,” says Davidson, who says he sees The Brooks as a way to reach those under 35.
The first of The Brooks services launched in six different host-homes on December 3, 2015, in preparation for Christmas services later this month. Locations in California, Colorado, Tennessee, Indiana, Virginia, South Africa and Kenya are already hosting gatherings.
Plans are already underway for establishing the next set of locations within the next few months. The church’s leadership team envisions hundreds of locations of The Brooks within the next two to three years.
People interested in visiting a local gathering or finding out more about The Brooks can do so by visiting www.thebrooks.church.