Several years ago, I stood dangerously close to never walking into church again. I couldn’t pray in church. I couldn’t worship in church. I shut down the moment I walked in. The hurt was real. I kept wondering, “Are we alive? What is church supposed to be? Who am I supposed to be?” Part of my problem was being in the wrong place. God was asking me to start a movement, and that meant leaving the comfortable to become acutely uncomfortable.
So, here I am in a healthier place, loving the fellowship with other believers, and enjoying worship in church again. I’m in line with God’s will in my life and I have peace about it. But my memory of the question, “Are we alive?,” continues to drive me. How can I tap into the different talents and gifts of the church body to inspire them to serve online? How can I make these dry bones come alive? That’s when my movement (singular) became movements (plural).
Movements are ideas curated on Social Media to create online communities around a brand or hobby. The idea is to encourage conversation between people that build relationships; relationships that lead to Gospel conversations. I realized the way to begin positive change is not only through prayer and the heavy reliance on the Holy Spirit, but also to tap into the congregation–a resource rarely used by pastors to even market their own church.
It sounds easy. Set up a Facebook group, invite people, and post often to encourage participation. In all honesty, serving this way can be brutal. Social Media means bringing the unpredictable into your life. People are from different cultures, backgrounds, and are dysfunctional. Think of a family reunion and that crazy Aunt, and you have chaos coming through as notifications on your phone. Running a successful group means being the moderator.
The moderator is always the enemy–a heartless person always censoring people’s posts. What our society lacks is boundaries and when you set boundaries, they lash out. So, when you begin a movement to inspire a different way of living or thinking, or to encourage deeper prayer lives, don’t look for instant results. You’ll have to go through deep valleys and climb high mountains. You’ll have periods of, “Am I a failure?” You are not a failure. It takes time for a movement to capture people’s hearts.
Movements are ideas that take root and inspire a church body to act. How do you start a movement?
- Open a Facebook group about a hobby you like to do.
- Start a small group from a blog you write to encourage people. If you write for single again women, start a single again small group that meets at a coffee shop. The small group can be online or in person.
- Your status updates, Instagram posts, or Twitter updates should all be around your own personal mission statement for your movement.
The key is to tap into those in the church body who are open to use their favorite hobby, their educational backgrounds, or (fill in the blank) and train them on social media to build up that movement so people are inspired by them to be different. When we create community, we are being the church. When we are alive as a church body, people can’t help but notice God first. When we are sharing hope through relationship, God will use you to point them to Him.
Let those dry bones come alive!