I’m in the middle of trying to kick off an online small group using webcams for people to connect with each other. I think it will be a great way to build community and discipleship into the lives of people who are already connecting to our Internet Campus each weekend, and several churches seem to be using this technology very effectively.
Just in case someone else trying to do the same thing stumbles across this post, I’ve put together some guidelines and recommendations into a document. I’m sure that it will be a work in progress, but you can download it in a couple of different formats below:
Online Small Group Guidelines (pdf) (Word Doc)
Our culture today has rejected the “plastic” feel that characterized certain elements of the past few decades. Instead of being content with artificial, the culture now upholds and seeks out the values of transparency and authenticity. This shift is beneficial for the work of Christ. They make a rich soil for the communication and application of the gospel. They give people a safe place to come clean with their sins, fears, and insecurities to find accountability and encouragement from others.
The bad thing is, many people are selling out for a cheap imitation of transparency and authenticity. Rather than creating fertile ground, we’re tempted to hide our insecurity under a top soil of sarcasm. It can be fun and lighthearted when used sparingly (I love to smile and laugh), but it can be a cheap cover up too. Rather than encouraging and building one another up in love, we can spend our time trying to keep people laughing.
Given time, sarcasm will erode our communication and leave us with interactions that are even more plastic than in generations past.
This is a great opportunity for the church to shine brightly in our world today. Rather than a new kind of fake, may we demonstrate transparency with humility and encouragement.