Meditations (Web)Church

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

Are churches leveraging their members for radical personal ministry?

with 8 comments

One of the most powerful and often undervalued parts of our faith is Jesus’ call for us to do personal ministry leveraged within “one body” of believers.

I think it’s in this area the web will make the greatest contribution to the church.

Perry Noble has always emphasized the importance of volunteers to NewSpring‘s ministry. What gives NewSpring’s staff-led, excellence-oriented ministry theological coherence is that we should trust and encourage the body to do most of the ministry.

We have serving rates of more than 60 percent, which is impressive.

But I’ve always wondered whether there are some practical (but needless) barriers to the other 40 percent contributing. And whether the 60 percent who do contribute are being leveraged fully.

That’s where I think a ministry utility could be a killer app.

What if our church members were connected to each other, their resources for personal ministry were searchable and transparent, and they could self-organize and self-resource for personal ministry projects of their own?

Such a church app would generate a flowering of ministry and community like we’ve never seen, and create hands-on discipleship into the bargain.

Want to host a small group? Post your study and your credentials, recruit people, meet online, share materials.

Want to organize an evangelistic block party? Find and contact all the church members in your neighborhood. Create a ministry account to collect donations.

Got a spare washer and dryer? Pledge it to Jim and Bob’s inner-city ministry where you know it will meet a need and be used to share the gospel face to face. Find someone with a truck to pick up and drop off.

Want to get groups of people to church who don’t have reliable transportation? See who’s willing to offer rides, and create a route planner.

Have special expertise? Read what’s happening in other ministries and offer your guidance.

You get the idea … the possibilities are endless. Either as a series of web apps working off a central church database that has an API or as one seamlessly integrated piece of software.

No matter how many fancy commercial web apps there or how many social networking-savvy members we have, trying to create micro-communities of purpose on borrowed and cobbled-together platforms is a real struggle.

That’s why I hope the web developers and web thinkers of the web church — maybe you! — will build an app or apps for ministry.

People just don’t have the information they need about each other to imagine potential ministry, let alone the simple, integrated organizational tools to make it achievable.

It seems to me that too many of our serving opportunities are church-heavy. They are defined by the church, they are primarily for the benefit of the church (although I’m not devaluing the evangelistic purpose of church gatherings,) and they take place on church grounds.

The more our churches can release their members’ resources beyond the church walls, the more impact we are bound to have, on the world and each other.

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Written by NickCharalambous

April 2, 2009 at 9:17 am

8 Responses

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  1. i like the way you think

    i believe……..

    a fully connected church community that is fully connected to other fully connected church communities can actually change the world

    chatting with friends before and after church once a week partially connects us

    serving together regularly in ministry connects us more

    studying, praying, and sharing with close friends in a small group setting a few times each month connects us even more

    but I’m thinking that technology is going to have to play a significant role in making us a fully connected community

    Aaron (@aaronsu)

    April 2, 2009 at 9:33 am

    • yes. and yes. and yes. Amen to the change the world comment. I believe this technology has been given to us for that express purpose. There’s no other reason that God would allow such a babel-like moment in human history without revealing the depravity of the heart of man and the glory of God.

      ipiphanist

      April 8, 2009 at 9:22 am

  2. Wow… you almost confused me with the web app analogy cleverly woven in…

    I think this is really important. It goes back to the leveraging of spiritual gifts and “one-anothering” we spoke about… the whole body needs to work

    Nathan Edwards

    April 3, 2009 at 5:53 am

    • I think i confused myself with the web analogy, since I didn’t make it very clear what I was trying to encourage 😉

      ipiphanist

      April 8, 2009 at 9:20 am

  3. Thanks for the fun ideas. I am currently working on an web app to help churches utilize an internet campus and if you don’t mind will integrate some of these ideas into it.

    David Slone

    April 3, 2009 at 8:20 am

    • David. I’d be really interested to hear more about your web app. And I’d love to see how you integrate the ideas. I passionately believe that there’s a way we can build a community platform that meets the needs of a community of faith in a way that no commercial app ever could. I’ve been praying for a while that some Christian developers would start taking steps to bring something to reality, at least as a starting point and a way to learn about how it might be used. Please get in touch again.

      ipiphanist

      April 8, 2009 at 9:19 am

  4. […] The big takeaway for me from Wednesday’s unveiling of the community platform research was that among church tech influencers, such as web pastors, tech pastors, and communications directors, EVERYONE seems to be eyeing some kind of turn-key seamless community platform. […]

  5. […] Some is no longer relevant given the changing online environment. But I believe some of what I wrote may have been written with prophetic force that may remain useful to church leaders and pastors who […]


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