COVID-19 and the Digital Transformation of the Church: A Virtual Summit

May 29, 2020, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-2 p.m.

In the space of a few weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic forced churches to become more digital—to move services and other elements of congregational life online. As the health, economic, and social impacts of COVID-19 continue to emerge, congregations will need new theological and technological resources to thrive in the future being shaped by this pandemic and our responses to it. During the current emergency digital extension of church life, and the growing social awareness of how new and emerging technologies are transforming our lives and world, congregations are discovering new ways of being the church outside of regular meeting places and patterns. When churches are able resume more familiar routines, the life and mission of every thriving church is likely to include an increasingly sophisticated digital dimension. As churches move through and beyond the present crisis, new forms of the church—digitally transformed churches, not merely digitally extended forms of pre-pandemic churches—will help shape the future.

In April 2020, SPU received a grant from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust to provide church leaders with theological and technological resources for the digital transformation of their churches in response to COVID-19. This summit will share research and practices about digital churches and facilitate conversations about pastoral needs and technological opportunities. Participants will have the opportunity to learn and share digital strategies for ministry and provide input into the creation of open resources that will enable churches to thrive beyond the pandemic.

The first part of the Summit, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., was livestreamed and is available here.


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Friday, May 29th
10:00 AM

Welcome and Devotion

Michael Paulus, Seattle Pacific University
Doug Strong, Seattle Pacific University

10:00 AM - 10:15 AM

10:15 AM

Keynote Address: A Networked Theology of the Distanced Church

Heidi A. Campbell, Texas A&M University

10:15 AM - 11:00 AM

11:00 AM

Conversations on Digital Transformation

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

12:00 PM


12:00 PM - 1:00 AM

1:00 PM

Breakout Sessions

1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

1:45 PM

Closing Session

Michael Paulus, Seattle Pacific University
Doug Strong, Seattle Pacific University

1:45 PM - 2:00 PM