This week our parish rolled out another attempt to extend our educational ministries beyond the brick and mortar church by introducing W.O.V.E.N. for Christ Facebook page. On the page one can join the My One Word book study and interact electronically with the other members of the page while receiving instruction from our Certified Lay Minister and the Pastor.
This small group ministry is already exceeding small group status as more than 50 people have signed on and provides a small group study opportunity for women that does not require driving in the snow or the cold. It also allows people of all locations and beliefs to join in study together and support each other in every day life events.
W.O.V.E.N. joins Wesley Chapel’s Website, Wesley Chapel Facebook, Dorsey Emmanuel’s Website, Dorsey Emmanuel Facebook, and our online sermon series connected to the Wesley Chapel website as a part of our “e-ministries”.
If you are unfamiliar with “e-ministries” please contact me and we have folks who will help you become connected to our electronic ministries.
By no means are these ministries intended to replace Sunday Worship, Children’s J.O.Y. Club, Tuesday night Life Bread Small Group Studies, or VBS. All of these ministries are valuable and growing but the 2015 church is a little different than the church in which many of us grew up.
Preston Sprinkle from Eternity Bible College wrote in relevant Magazine last week an article that addresses the way the modern church looks different from the Early Church. Sprinkle highlighted four aspects of the ancient church that seems difficult in the modern church and here are two of them:
1 – Early church viewed ALL as church family.
“In the first century, the family unit extended far beyond the nuclear family and was held together by an unconditional bond of commitment and service. You didn’t have to like your relatives, but you were expected to love them.
It’s within this context that Jesus and Paul blew open the doors of the home and welcomed in all believers as brothers and sisters. They created a new focus on the family that extended far beyond one’s nuclear relatives and included people of every race and social strata who gave their allegiance to the risen Christ.”
2-How we spend our money
Sprinkle states that most churches today show 1-2% of their budget dedicated to helping the poor and in the best case churches hope to show 10%. Most budgets are dedicated to salaries and buildings and in the early church neither was true. No salaries, no mortgages! Paul wrote more about giving to the poor than he did about Justification By Faith.
I share this article because many folks wonder why we are not more like the early church and they tell me this internet thing is just ridiculous. Looking at Sprinkle’s article we may need to be more like the early church in theology but none of us want to be trapped in the 20th century technology.
Billy Graham made great use of the modern technology of his time. I have shared that it was after a Billy Graham movie at Laurel Main Street Theater that I went forward and answered the call to Christ and I was met there by a local church volunteer. Dr. Graham used television and sports stadiums to advance the Gospel both methods were considered really modern and way out at the time. Jesus calls us to be disciples and to make disciples and the internet is the number one place that all people meet in the 2015 society and when they get there the Dorsey Emmanuel/Wesley Chapel local ministers will be there to meet them.
That is the Church!