Tihomir Lazić

Published On


Page Range

pp. 327–354


  • English

Print Length

28 pages

16. An Abductive Study of Digital Worship through the Lenses of Netnography and Digital Ecclesiology

The rapid rise of digital technologies has transformed religious practices and communities, altering how people worship and experience spiritual realities. Accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, digital worship, including virtual choirs, has become a norm, enriching communal experiences and bridging offline and online realms. This study employs an innovative abductive methodology, combining netnography and digital ecclesiology, to explore digital worship's impact on spiritual growth and community formation. The central research question is: Can online music foster authentic spiritual communion among those immersed in digital worship, and, if so, to what extent? Traditional dichotomies—embodied versus disembodied, online-only versus offline-only, and real versus unreal—often limit our understanding of digital worship. The abductive approach bridges these gaps by integrating theory and empirical data, creating a dynamic dialogue between theological concepts and lived experiences. Focusing on multi-screen YouTube choir videos like ‘The UK Blessing,’ the study illustrates online worship's potential to foster unity and shared spiritual experience. By examining the extensive comments on this well-known video, the research highlights the Holy Spirit’s community-building movements facilitated through digitally-mediated music. Merging insights from digital ecclesiology and netnography provides a richer portrayal of digital worship, each discipline illuminating unique facets of this spiritual phenomenon. This exploration advances the scholarly discourse on digital spirituality, demonstrating that online worship retains the authenticity and depth of traditional practices. Moreover, different kinds of digital platforms enable diverse opportunities for spiritual connection and worship. The methodological contribution lays foundational groundwork for future research, emphasizing the utility and promise of the abductive method in studying digital worship.


Tihomir Lazić

Senior Lecturer in Systematic Theology at Newbold College of Higher Education

Tihomir Lazić is Senior Lecturer in Systematic Theology at Newbold College of Higher Education, a musician and worship leader, and the author of Towards an Adventist Version of Communio Ecclesiology: Remnant in Koinonia (2019).