Meditations (Web)Church

A year (and a bit) in the life of NewSpring's first Web pastor

The last thing a web church needs is another social network

with 9 comments

We’re not going to create a community on NewSpring’s web campus.

I didn’t misspeak. I’m dead straight. We don’t have any plans for any special community infrastructure to be built into our web campus.

Why? Because we think our attenders are already in communities, and they don’t need to add another one to their very long list.

We want attenders to create relationships, but we believe that they already have plenty of tools to make community happen. If they want community, they’ve got it.

Of course, we’re praying for great conversations in our web campus chat room. But we trust the Holy Spirit will lead people to connect them outside our worship services.

Be honest: Do people really respond when churches force them to befriend and nurture random strangers? Who can claim real success from a lifegroups model that involves placing people with leaders they don’t know?

What if the way to honor God’s desire for us to be in Christ-centered community was for every church attender to be constantly seeking and finding people within their existing networks that he wants them to pour into and to take those relationships deeper, individually or in groups?

The vision I’ll be casting to our web attenders is simple: Get to know one another. Share any details your comfortable sharing so that you can take your friendships further. Maybe that’s an email. Maybe that’s your Twitter ID. Perhaps it’s inviting them to friend you on Facebook.

We’re not going to hold your hand or do community for you.

Got a problem with that? Why?

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Written by NickCharalambous

January 15, 2009 at 4:11 pm

9 Responses

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  1. interesting… we tried an internal social site for communication and after a test period decided that it was going to be to confusing to add another network to what people already use… a good move I think, great article

    Scott Fillmer

    January 15, 2009 at 4:48 pm

  2. We tried using Group’s Sunday Morning Curriculum that uses a social networking site with built in curriculum. The kids never logged in and never used it. My daughter would log in when I reminded her to get extra points for her group for the games, but other than that no one logged in.

    I think you are right. They will create their own community if that is what they desire. Good move.

    My issue with the web campuses is worship. I like corporate worship time. I listen to sermons online occasionally so I don’t have issue with that part of the service, but I tried watching church online and couldn’t get into the worship.

    Tina Harkey

    January 15, 2009 at 10:25 pm

  3. very interesting.

    it seems that a lot of people (christian or not) struggle with loneliness, so could it be that they are not as connected as we think they are? there could be a lot of people that are not connected in a social network and that’s one of the reasons they go to church.

    Michael

    January 16, 2009 at 6:41 am

    • Michael: that’s a chilling possibility and one that we have to take seriously. I think our web folks can be more isolated than even those in the physical world. But what I think defines it for me is that there is a very low barrier to starting friendships online, much, much lower than in real life. I do grant you that making those friendships deep and durable might be harder, however. That’s where our faith’s unique focus on the power of God through community comes into play. We mustn’t ever shrink back from asking people to push through the pain barrier in community-making. Jesus doesn’t.

      ipiphanist

      January 16, 2009 at 10:14 am

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