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> @StickyJesus 3) Jesus: Author of Relationships

gerash east jordan
Written by justapen

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gerash east jordanIn celebration of Internet Evangelism Month, this is the third in a 15-part blog project discussing the book, @stickyJesus: how to live out your faith online.

Reading through file 3 “Jesus Author of Relationship” I was really concerned that there was going to be some tough, living in community style advice and words.  After all, every other time I had ever spoken to anyone who had any understanding of Christianity at all about the question of relationship it always defaulted back to “Well Jesus LIVED with the disciples for three years man.  Talk about intentional community.”

But that’s not what I found here at all.  Instead I found six basic values that are basically designed to help someone start an online community.  Not intentional community, just a place where people can be and talk with one another.  These values are

  • Leadership
  • Service
  • Consistency
  • Compassion
  • Encouragement
  • Inclusiveness

But there’s one thing these all have in common that stuck with me throughout the entire chapter.  “God wants you to go deeper…even more so now when Wi-Fi, widgets, and apps so easily dehumanize human hearts”

I don’t about the rest of you, but this was actually the appeal for me to go online and get involved with social networking in the first place.  This is why Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) are so popular: anonymity.  The ability to hide behind a brick wall made up of widgets and apps and avatars isn’t merely an obstacle for the online missionary to overcome, but a defense mechanism for every person who has ever been wounded in a social context.  That is to say, these are the defense mechanisms I used when I first got involved with social media: I could be the person I wanted to be and happily ignore everything and everyone who challenged me.

In light of that these values are not just a means of building community and discipling the world through a new media, neither are they a replacement for the four spiritual laws and the decades of evangelistic methods that have come before now but rather they are a means by which we can meet someone where he or she is and then draw that person back into healthy, personal relationship.

  1. Have you ever used social media to help heal someone before? What were some of the challenges of that?  Would deliberately tapping into these values have helped?
  2. Which of these six values speaks to you the most strongly? The least?
  3. What values, if any, would you add to the list?

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2) Jesus: the stickiest story ever told <– @StickyJesus project –>4) Jesus: Master of buzz

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About the author

justapen

I’ve been all over the place, and tried to learn a lot, but the only thing of which I am certain, is that I am the instrument, the pen, and not the Author. Everything I do or say, all my material comes from God…at least the good stuff. If it isn’t any good chances are I tried to come up with something on my own.

28 Comments

  • I see all these attributes as important and modeled by Christ. Demonstrating all of these, He connected with people. He loved people and went out of His why to show it to some of the most unloveable in the culture of His day. Because relationships matter to Him, they should matter to us. The stories point to what the character of Christ looks like when found and being lived out online.

    In the online conversation rush, I find that 'encouragemen't breaks the flow of the stream. When I listen carefully, I hear how hard life is. Busy schedules, big presentations, exhausting travel, family concerns, home issues, personal disappointments, and even direct requests for prayer. People often use their social media networks to release frustration and I have witnessed how a quick word of encouragement can redirect everything, including the tone and attitude of the posts that follow.

    Personally, countless conversations on twitter relocate to FB messages and sometimes even turn into a phone call or a one-on-one meeting. I have seen God show up in miraculous ways – lives healed and restored. Just like in our F2F lives, God will bring certain people into our lives. if we wait and ask, they appear. The same is true online.
    Once a divine connection is made – He will unwrap it as only He can. Our responsibility is to prayerfully show up and give Him control. He never wastes a willing heart. God does want us to go deeper – much deeper.

    Thanks for your deep dive into this chapter. Great questions – looking forward to this conversation continuing!

    • I've read ahead a bit in the book and I think I like this chapter the most so far (PS if I haven't thanked you for writing this book – THANK YOU).

      "Encouragement breaks the flow of the stream."

      I like that. I think that is probably one of the best things any Christian can do for anyone regardless of whether it is online or F2F – get them out of their own spiraling mess of frustration and and disappointments by being encouraging and compassionate in their lives.

  • Hi Sage, thanks for your post today. As I contemplate this chapter, these 6 characteristics of community, and your second question – which is most important, I've been thinking about what a community looks like without each of these characteristics… A community with leadership is a meaningless social club… A community without service is merely a collection of self-serving individuals… I could keep going (actually, it would probably make for a good blog post on its own) but in every case I think we end up with something less than community. All these characteristics are critically important for there to be real community.

    • (sorry if my response looks weird I'm trying to do this from my phone) Perhaps I didn't phrase the question correctly and the real question is "if your starting from scratch where do you start?" For me the answer is compassion going back to 1 Corinthians 13. Although I completely agree with what you said regarding already established communities

  • Any answer we have to connecting with others online can be found in the scriptures. God has given us everything we need for power and godly living in any era to which we've been born. To look to Christ and His life on earth as our guide is the most powerful thing we can do when reaching out to others digitally. I love that His outreach methods captured you, Sage. Thanks for the post and the insight! If we lack any of these characteristics, what an awesome thing to ask God to fill in us! http://www.stickyJesus.com for more.

  • HI, Seiji. Thanks for your post. Loved your insights.

    Recently, my husband asked me what I was doing. I was on Twitter and I told him that I was checking on my peeps. He said, "Wow. I just now realized that you have a Twitter ministry." At that moment, I realized that I had a Twitter ministry too!

    I loved two things in this file: "Great leaders get personal." and "…You don't have to talk about Jesus all the time. In fact, just keep it real and be yourself…" These two things really helped me. I do get personal with people. I check on them, I try to pay attention to what is going on in their lives. I Don't talk about Jesus all the time, but when I see someone struggling I don't make a big deal about it. I just say, "Hey! I am going to be praying for you about that. I'm here if you need me." That simple thing right there has opened many doors for me to share Jesus.

    • Hi Christie,
      The description of a great leader is good, isn't it? I wrote in down in my journal and personalized it "I go against the grain, I take personal risks to achieve the greater good, I am mission centric" etc.

      Thanks for sharing what has been effective in your Twitter ministry :-).

    • I say… Anyone who uses Twitter and cares about the people they connect with there has a Twitter ministry.

  • Great post Seiji! I've seem people experience powerful healing and growth through online group projects, so I can attest to the power of a good online community. And every one of the values on this list resonate with me… I think that they are all equally important. I just know that sometimes I need to be more intentional about some, while others are just more natural for me right now…

    Thanks dude! You rock!

  • Additionally, I have a hard time with inclusiveness. Either I try to include everyone and never build meaningful relationship in the community or I ignore many in the hope of buidling a few really quality relationships.

  • 1 Corinthians 13… Doesn't that say something like… "If I TWEET in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal."

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