I have now been apart of at least 3 different online connection programs in the past 4 years. First it was Xanga, then MySpace then Facebook... when will the madness end? Xanga died out sometime ago... MySpace is still kinda the 'in' thing. and Facebook is kinda like a new and upcoming thing. But for all this 'stuff', how well do we really know our fellow man. I goof off a lot w/ people on things. Getting 'trout slapped' by one of my friends (which i thought was hysterical). That's not the issue. But we've become one of these society's that seems like we're trying to solve all these issues without attacking a root cause.
I can't tell you how many people i know who have told me how isolated they feel. Despite all the technology we've got, we still feel disconnected... It's soo easy to go through the motions of life (and church) and yet still have no idea who your sitting next to.
Nowadays, my preferred method of 'ministry' is around a kitchen table or on a living room floor. Don't get me wrong... there is a time and place for gatherings and big events. They're great and wonderful and have their place. If the Lord is calling you to minister in a mega church w/ thousands... awesome! go for it!
but the other nite i was at a birthday party and we were playing Outburst. And out of nowhere, we get into the whole discussion about what does it mean to be 'in community' with people? Do we really understand what this means? Do I understand what this means? To me, it means you giving of your time, energy and talents and serving one another. This morning i took someone to the airport and then we went to get someone's car from the pound (it had gotten towed). And you know what... i prefer that over going to a church meeting for the most part. why? because i felt like i was sharing life with these folks. and i loved it! but during this discussion from Outburst, we were discussing what it means to truly love one another. I'm not just talking about how someone's doing... but getting down and dirty and when its appropriate to deal w/ the emotions of life. you know... that junk deep down.
during our discussion, we discussed the different aspects of how FIRE is now compared to 5 years ago or earlier. a healthy evaluation is a good thing. realizing the things that need to be worked on and searching your own heart to see what you personally can work on.
FIRE is a reasonably large church. probably 300-400 people or so. and we're steadily taking more and more church transfers. too bad the church itself isn't really growing much physically. to me, church growth is a sinner repenting of their sins and accepting Jesus into their life and a change of heart from sin to holiness unto God. what we get a lot is church transfers... people from one church starting to come to ours. which is fine... but i would love to see some really growth instead of transfers. for the time being though, i'll try and be a good steward of the transfers we take in.
I'm helping with prayer ministry there and just being a part of the body there and loving people.