Record snowfall paralyzed the east coast during the snow event of Jan. 22-24. Churches almost universally cancelled services throughout the Atlantic states buried beneath 20 to 40 inches of snow.
While many Christians likely welcomed the “free Sunday” to sip an extra cup of coffee and stare transfixed at the Weather Channel looping footage of slipping cars, jackknifed trucks, empty grocery shelves, snow shovels in someone else’s hands and people skiing through parks, some others of us felt a small, worship shaped hole in our hearts.
I’m a church person. I like church. I like to be in church among other people who enjoy the community that common fellowship provides in our disjointed world. But wisdom prevailed over valor and we left the car in the garage.
Then George Bullard, executive director of The Columbia Partnership, a group of which I’m a ministry partner, offered to his Facebook friends the opportunity to worship together over the TCP conference call line. We conduct a national conference call 44 Thursdays a year, interviewing thought leaders who have insights that contribute to the TCP mission to “transform the Church for vital ministry.”
This line would be open Sunday, so George enlisted a couple of ministry partners and we notified friends on our social media that we would be having a 30-minute worship time over the conference call line. Simply dial in and join us.
It was spontaneous, creative, and insightful and met a need. Those friends who were camped out on Facebook that morning jumped in and we worshipped, reading scripture, talking about the beauty of creation in the blanket of white and the sound muffling nature of snow.
Our leaders were in three different states. We took prayer requests, prayed and blessed the 10 or so participants who found their way to the phone.
While many of us who want to help churches become Faith Soaring debate its effect – positive and negative – on worship and community, the fact is technology is an increasingly predominant element of daily life – for everyone. Ignore it at your peril.
In the midst of a blizzard of information and opinion here is one little snowflake of insight: don’t let the enormous capacity and complexity of “technology” put you off because you’re not current. Find the niche in which you can utilize the technology you command to build community, even if it’s just the telephone you hold in your hand.