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Kinetic Church is a church in Atlanta Georgia (USA) and meets in a movie theatre.  Each week they set up everything for church and then take it down again and put it into a trailer.  One week they had their stuff stolen.  They made a really nice response that showed grace and a true Christ-like response.  Here’s the link if you want to see it.  Really cool.  They even invited the person that stole their stuff to come to their church.

The church received a donation from a local company to put up billboards around the town.  The billboards read the following:

kinetic church billboard

Kinetic Church Billboard

The term ‘ballsy’ got a lot of attention but so did their methodology.  They received a lot of accolades as well as a lot of criticism mostly from the local Christian community.

This has been discussed a lot on the blogs when it happened a few months ago.  But now I come to you with the question: what would your church do?  And it’s a good exercise to think about.

I think a lot of churches would view themselves as a victim and soak up the attention and the tragedy.  I think it’s similar to the way that a lot of Christians would respond: poor me.  But how are we supposed to respond?

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Over the last few months I have been somewhat distracted by Facebook, and unlike almost all the other social networking sites I have tried, I have found non-techie friends are using it.

Facebook difference

Many people are raving about it, and I can understand why as I have caught up with people I haven’t spoken to for many years. Unlike email, there is a instantness of communication with people and no spam. Which means that short conversations can happen quickly, but without the intensity of instant messaging.

Also, unlike other social community websites, the privacy settings allow for close control of profile and information.

I had been using on-line photo sharing websites, but these don’t come close to Facebook in the social aspect of being able to tag friends and share photos with restricted groups of people.

But what about the church?

I have tried, unsuccessfully to coax church members onto mychurch.org (one member plus me to date).

I thought the reason for this failure was because people didn’t want to sign up for another on-line service that they might not use, and they couldn’t see a use for it.

However, after setting up a church group on Facebook, we already have 10 members. This is because church members were already users of Facebook, so joining a group was easy.

Using Facebook for your church

The other benefit is that non-Christian friends on Facebook can see what groups you join and so can see easily your affiliations. So rather than a closed Christian networking site, Facebook is a social networking site that better reflects your friendships and not just your Christian clique. It is obviously no substitute for sharing your faith in person, but allows you to create a profile that reflects your faith and to share this with your other friends.

With group events pages, we can better manage what is happening rather than a storm of emails and phone calls trying to arrange event.

How are other churches using Facebook?

Let me know in the comments how your church is using Facebook or other social networking sites.

There is an article on environmental issues that I have recently read caused me to consider comparisons with Christians in the church. The article suggested that the environmental movement was considered a niche area, a subject not accessible to ordinary citizens because of the way those in the lobby act and promote their views. And in a sense the same criticisms can be levelled at the church.

While the church is still able to promote its viewpoint and quite capable of pointing out the problems with others, it finds it much harder to engage people directly on matters of concern to them. Christians get pigeon-holed, when it wants to be seen as meeting people and challenging people where they are in the way Christ did.

Perhaps that is why some object to marketing/promotion used in a Christian context, because it rarely feels like engagement?

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Witnessing at work is a challenge for all Christians and Andrew in the comments to my last post was very honest when he mentioned about his time in a secular workplace, and the challenges of sharing his faith.

And Caryn Rivadeneira, on the ‘Gifted For Leadership’ blog, talks of her experiences and regrets of not sharing her faith at her first workplace and of being a closet Christian. She writes:

… never once during my first job out of college did I share the Gospel with any of the people I worked with. […] [They] knew I graduated from a Christian college, went to church, and believed in God, in several years of working together that was all they knew about faith in my life. At the time, my focus was so much on learning the ins and outs of magazine publishing […] that I failed to see the people around me as lost souls in need of a Saviour.

Christians working in secular jobs (most Christians I would imagine) can often find it difficult to talk about Christianity and their faith directly with their colleagues. This can be for many reasons, including the need to get on and do some work! This led me to wonder how specifically Christians witness at work, and whether witnessing with behaviour has any effect.

I wonder about this because of a sermon given at our church recently made me think that maybe things had changed since the pastor’s generation. For myself, not being part of the office lottery syndicate and not swearing identifies me as different more than perhaps they would have in previous generations.

I wonder if anyone else has had an experience like this, where people have asked about your behaviour and you were surprised? Of course, not gambling is just good common sense, and not definitively Christian, so people would still need to talk to me to find out why I didn’t gamble.

Casino Cartoon

Topical cartoon by Dave Walker. (Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons)

Update: There is a follow-up post to this called ‘witnessing at work‘.

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