This is a Guest Post by Jay Caruso.
Connections: Association, relationship, circle of friends or associates, or a member of such a circle.
One month ago, I had never heard of ChurchCrunch.com. Here I am now, guest blogging. I’ll get to how that came about in a moment.
A few days ago John wrote an entry where he said:
Sure, we’re passionate people passionately interested in our Savior Jesus Christ, but we have an opportunity to put our foot down and tell the blogosphere that there is a new motivation for blogging in town, and that’s the desire to connect with other people so that we may communicate an invaluable message.
We don’t do it for our own personal fame and glory, we don’t do it for money or to fill our pockets with stuff that “moth and rust will destroy,” we don’t do it “just for fun” (although it can be and is fun) because we are “on mission” to connect with others. We don’t do it just to market our church or pimp our ministry, we do it to raise up Christ.
Amen to that. The question is though: Who are we connecting with?
John discussed it in the context of blogging, but I want to open it up to the world of social media in general.
Too often, we as Christians develop a ‘pack’ mentality. To put it a better way, a speaker once said, “We’re often like a football team in a huddle, except we never yell, ‘Break!’ and just keep on huddling.” He’s right. It’s the reason I am not down with “alternative” social media tools that cater just to Christians.
How do we connect with those not following Christ if all we do is congregate together? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not dismissing such sites altogether. I think they are fine if somebody is looking for spiritual growth, bible study, etc. It’s the mindset of, “Get off Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube and go _________ instead!” that gets to me.
We cannot fulfill the great commission if we just huddle up and never break. By breaking out of the huddle, we get to make those connections.
The connections we make are twofold:
First, the connections we make will often be amongst fellow Christ followers, naturally.
As I said earlier, a month ago I didn’t know about this blog. How did I find it? Via Twitter. Somebody I was following re-tweeting an @churchcrunch [Editor: ChurchCrunch is taking a “Twitter Break” – Follow @human3rror!] tweet and I followed right after that.
It was information I found here, that helped me write a proposal to the leadership of my church urging them to embrace social media as a way of engaging church members but also to reach those in the community and elsewhere. The connection was furthered when I shared that proposal with Graham Brenna after leaving a comment in a blog entry he wrote for ChurchCrunch.
On a more personal note, on ChurchCrunch I found Carlos Whittaker’s blog. When I did, I read, and read and I was like, “Whoa Daddy! This is the kind of thing I’ve been wanting to do.” Carlos’s blog embodied what James MacDonald said about “choosing to be authentic” in his book, ’10 Choices.’
The combination of the two inspired me to start a new blog. I had an older blog that discussed faith, but in it I was doing nothing but preaching to the choir. I barely updated it because even I wasn’t interested all that much in updating it regularly.
In a word? Boring.
On this one however, I’m an open book and the authenticity will make it easier for me to connect not only with other Christ followers, but also with those who aren’t. Even if they aren’t, it doesn’t mean that connection won’t be valuable and I won’t be able to learn something from them.
That leads to the second area of connection.
I’ve been reading (listening to actually) Andy Stanley’s new book called, ‘The Principle of the Path.’ The very basic (but powerful) premise of that principle is this: Direction, not intention, determines destination.
It was written to apply to people personally, but it applies in this arena as well. How many times have you been fired up about something and started it with zeal only to see it slowly fade away and until it becomes a mere shell of what you started out with? That fits in line easily with what Andy said.
We had good intentions, but it was the path that we took (direction) that led to the destination we arrived. If our intention is to use blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc. to make connections, then we need to make sure we follow that path to reach that destination where we do connect.
To all kinds of people.
We have that intention. It’s a matter of maintaining that direction to get there. Sometimes it will be difficult, but that much more satisfying when we reach that destination where that connection is made.