Monday, February 06, 2006

Online Small Groups

We have a new experiment at NCC this semester-- online small groups. When the idea was first pitched to me, I was super skeptical. "Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together..." I had a fear that it would just be a substitute for real community. But I have changed my mind. I think it has the potential to be big for the Kingdom of God.

First of all, NCCers have crazy work and travel schedules. Every semester, I get an email from someone who is frustrated that there is no small group for them to attend because of their work demands. Online groups will allow those NCCers the opportunity to get connected and grow with fellow NCCers from wherever they are.

Secondly, we have lots of podcast listeners. Some of them are tuning in via podcast before visiting the church. If we can give them one more way to check us out, I think that's great.

Obviously, I am still a huge proponet of traditional small groups. And I would always encourage an NCC podcast listener to plug into a local church and a small group or ministry within that church. But if we can harness technology to help someone grow closer to Christ, I am all for trying it out.

Carpe Digital. Experiment On!

5 Comments:

At 8:55 PM, Blogger Joel Frederick said...

I wish you luck and will follow your progress.

I like seeing the (for lack of a better term) order of service. It sounds like music styles similar to the church I go to.

 
At 12:55 PM, Blogger Tyler Jagen said...

We have a lot of travelers as well. I assume in the global economy it will become pretty common that there will be those who will have to travel quite a bit even with the internet increasing the ability to meet with people all over the world. so I think it's cool that those who do travel a lot and can't get into a small group are trying creative ways to stay plugged into the lives of other believers. Do what you got a do.

With that said, traditional groups are here to stay. Why? Because just like those business people who could easily email, call or have a web conference, they know that face to face is still where it's at.

Remember all those internet churches of the 90s? Anyone talking about those anymore? Why? Because we are relational beings that reflect a relational God and we need face to face contact with people beyond the technical world. Technology is great to support relationships, but not so great at truly deepening relationships.

 
At 8:24 PM, Blogger Elaine B said...

This is very interesting. I know a pastor who is about to launch a website which is similar. Her website will connect people in spiritual dialogues. Basically, seekers find the website, and she talks with them and then matches them with willing Christians who will just discuss God with them (kind of like Alpha in that sense). Anyway, the whole idea of community online is the common thread here. You're right that face to face is the ultimate goal, but online is a very safe way to discuss God.

 
At 9:59 AM, Blogger Heather Z said...

Tyler- totally agree. After all, why would these folks be traveling so much if they didn't see the value of face-to-face communication?

I think that our online groups will serve two purposes: 1) filling a temporary need for crazy work scheduled people and 2) a side door to church small groups. Our online groups give interested people an opportunity to check us out online before jumping in. A lot of people check out NCC via our website or our podcast before ever visiting the church. We are just giving them the small group experience to check out a little bit, as well.

Elaine- I would be interested in knowing more about that website. Do you know the URL?

 
At 3:28 PM, Blogger Elaine B said...

Heather,
My friend's website isn't up and running yet, it's www.onetribe.org, but that's just a place holder for now. Here's her description of it:
called OneTribe, which matches spiritual guides with spiritual travelers, mostly through online relationships.
Anyway, I'll be sure and let you know when it's up and running!
Oh, and my friend's name is Lisa Bledsoe.
eb

 

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