Now that people can follow the sermons of a pastor or rabbi half a world away, or listen to a service on a Wednesday afternoon instead of a Sunday morning, the resulting communities aren't as dependent on pastors and churches, he said.
"The individual is really in control in a way they weren't in the past , in terms of what is meaningful and authentic to them," Kress said.
Recognizing that something akin to a religious revolution may be afoot, Jason Illian relaunched the video-sharing site GodTube (once the fastest growing Web site in the country) last month as Tangle.com, a global faith-based social-networking site.
Billed as a movement and not just a Web site, the company said it already has more than 500,000 registered users and more than 2 million unique visitors each month. Illian said more than 12,000 ministries (churches and other faith-based groups) have signed on as partners, including Focus on the Family, the Fellowship for Christian Athletes and Potter's House, one of the largest churches in the country.
"At the end of the day, church isn't about a building, it's about a community," Illian, CEO of Tangle, said. "This is a platform to build a community in very meaningful ways."
Much like FaceBook, Tangle lets members create pages of their own and then share videos, comments, photos and other content. But it also includes a Prayer Wall, which receives hundreds of thousands of new messages a day, and a virtual, interactive Bible on which members can comment and discuss.
Ministries can also create their own pages to communicate with members and have even given the offering plate a 21st century makeover.
"The whole concept of taking the plate and passing it around is our parents' generation," Illian said.
And, most importantly, now that people can easily reach and inspire through the Internet, new technology is changing the way influence works in religious communities, he said.
"Christendom is no longer led by a handful of the biggest ministries and the best-financed. It's going to be run by people who can touch other people's hearts in creative, viral and meaningful ways," he continued. "It's a complete paradigm shift. ... It's no longer a mega church. It's now a giga church."
Most of the leaders in Christendom don't know it's coming and, for them, it's "going to hit like a tsunami," Illian said.
But, he added, many of the next-generation leaders understand that technology is changing how religion gets done and are adapting appropriately.
Lifechurch.tv, for example, is a "multi-site church" that unites each week through a satellite broadcast from one of its pastors. It has 12 locations (or campuses) scattered across the country, but those who don't live near a physical campus can join the Internet Campus. The high-gloss, interactive Web site offers online seminars, member-written blog posts, video podcasts and an ongoing, countdown to the next virtual sermon.
Although other faith groups may not have a networking site as comprehensive as Tangle, they are also starting to adopt the new technology.