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Posts tagged ‘fellowship’

Digital Space Community Guidelines

Guidelines

for a Community

in Digital Space

Community connection...

Community connections require guidelines…

 

This is a sample set of guidelines for churches or christian groups thinking of setting up a community online. Any community, regardless of size, needs guidelines.  Every community down through the ages has had them in one form or another.  The same thing applies for those communities operating within Digital Space, particularly those covering a global geographical base. For any community located within Digital Space, there needs to be guidelines for both administrators and users.  Without any guidelines, there would be anarchy in some form, even within communities setup by Christians.  Here is a sample of what a set of guidelines could look like for use by a Christian community.

 

Guidelines for this community

It is our hope that this forum/community will be a place where we can serve, worship and discuss the Almighty God we love and serve, who is revealed in the Bible. As part of that, we are here to mutually encourage and enjoy the company of others on this site. This community hopefully will also act as both a hub and a haven.

Whilst being human, we acknowledge that over certain issues, there will be disagreements. We also acknowledge, that sometimes different people’s personalities will clash. So, bearing this in mind, we ask that in all things you would remember that Jesus is to have the supremacy over all things. This is worked out in practice by loving God and loving each other. The moderators and administrators of this site will only intervene if absolutely necessary. If you need advice about how to handle a particular event on this forum, then please do send one of them a Private Message. It will be treated confidentially.

Yourself: Do try to be the same person in here as you would be with those offline. To do otherwise would be hypocrisy. You are also only allowed to have one identity, so please do not sign up pretending to be somebody else. That is deceitful and abusive. The only people allowed two identities are those who are administrators and they are clearly defined.

Privacy: What is said on this site, by any person, must remain on this site. Please do not copy or divulge information about another person anywhere else, without the express permission of that person. To do so, would be tantamount to gossiping.

Dialogue: People’s opinions are just that: theirs! We come from different church traditions and denominations, and this is a great place to show that whilst we may differ in some areas, we are also united in acknowledging Jesus Christ who was fully God and fully human, and that He died, rose again and ascended to the right hand of the Father, so that all people everywhere may gain salvation.

Finally, this is not a conclusive list of guidelines for all scenarios of all time but rather a means of starting out as community.What do you think? Let me know! Have a question? Ask away! We are all here to mutually encourage and help each other, as we await that glorious day when our Saviour returns…

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Function of a Virtual Church

Virtual Church 05 – Function of a Virtual Church

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In the last Podcast of this series, we discovered what is a Virtual Church. Now we discuss, what functions does a Virtual Church fulfil.

Some church leaders suggest that virtual church membership will continue to increase and that by the year 2020 “nearly all churches will be virtual churches” in the sense that physical attendance will become secondary and most contact will be via Virtual Reality (Andy Peck, ‘2020 Vision’, Christianity, September 2006, 14). Another survey suggested that by 2010, 10% to 20% of US adults and teenagers will use the Internet as their primary spiritual input. These figures suggest the growing importance of a virtual church in the life of people. But how does a Virtual church function?

The phrase ‘one holy, catholic and apostolic’ probably remains the best means of identifying whether a church is truly part of the historical church or not. The Church at its inception was “a practice of shared faith”, epitomized by these four dynamic marks. Although definitions may vary, these four hallmarks traverse the broad spectrum of Christendom in the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant churches. The term ‘one holy, catholic and apostolic church’ is a verbal confession, denoting the four visible dimensions of the invisible church and being a community springing forth from its first century founding. Furthermore, it evolves from generation to generation, but without losing the core beliefs. Catholic here, in case anyone requires clarification, means universal and not the denomination.

Jesus when praying in John 17v17-21 stipulates these four hallmarks of His church: one (John 17v21), holy (John 17v17, 19), catholic (John 17v21b) and apostolic (John 17v18).

By engaging in fellowship, worship, mission and bible teaching, a church thereby reflects the historical and biblical universal church which is one, holy, catholic and apostolic. One in that the church exhibits fellowship between the individual believer and God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit; as well as fellowship between believers. A church is holy in that the church encourages worship of Almighty God. Catholic, in that, the church is engaged in the continuous mission of evangelisation. Finally, the church is apostolic in that it teaches from the Bible.

While these four hallmarks are statements of faith, they also must lead to declarations of function, because the Church must be actively visible. These four derived functions of the church are: fellowship, worship, mission and bible interaction. They are mutually interdependent and as Jürgen Moltmann in his book “The Church in the Power of the Spirit” states, “they are the invisible church’s visible manifestations.”

How does a Virtual Church engage in Fellowship?

Fellowship is a mutual sharing together. Through the sharing of stories and interacting with each other, Christians in a Virtual church engage in acts of fellowship. Sharing a common purpose of seeking Jesus, worshipping and praying together, playing games, engaging in stimulating dialogues and lending support when required, are all facets of Virtual church fellowship. The Virtual Church can also engage in regular offline meetings, to help engage each other more.

How does a Virtual Church engage in worship?

Worship in a Virtual Church has a variety of methods in which God’s glorification is sought. Global worship includes singing, responsive prayers and liturgy. Each individual member having his or her own bread and wine can engage in the Eucharist, similar to traditional church. A problem may well arise with baptism, which is by necessity a physical action. This problem can be overcome by negotiating with a traditional Church to baptize the person wanting baptism.

How does a Virtual Church engage in mission?

Virtual Church evangelism is primarily based on a friendship evangelism model with building relationships at the core. It is talking to people online, interacting through blogs, writing of testimonies, engaging in discussion threads and venturing into other online forums and communities. In a Virtual Church, where people are judged more on the ability to be persuasive rather than appearance, Scripture is powerful. Evangelism is therefore not instantaneous (although it can be) but rather a process of journey.

How does a Virtual Church engage in bible teaching?

In a Virtual Church, bible teaching continues to be central. Sermons are preached and interactive discussions are engaged in afterwards. Topical teaching threads and blog threads can teach Scripture and commented upon. Audio files can be streamed or downloaded from the Church and played on iPods and other devices, for use in personal time. Particularly relevant is the narrative style when online “holographic stimulation” will facilitate emotional attachment.

In the next Podcast, we will look at the perceived liabilities of a Virtual Church, before heading into to the main benefits.

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WISE – Fellowship

Partake – Words In Scripture Explored – Fellowship

G’day and welcome to WISE. The word for today is “fellowship”.

I meet people who tell me they are Christians, but don’t want to go to a church anymore. But by not doing so, they are missing out on perhaps one of the greatest blessings of being a Christian: fellowship. One of the great things about belonging to a church is the act of fellowship, which results from walking with one another (1 John 1v7). God has created us for fellowship and Jesus Christ has redeemed us so that we can have this fellowship together (Colossians 1v3-5).

What is fellowship? This is rooted in the words koinōnia and koinōneō, which is a mutual sharing together, and not merely a mutual association. Fellowship is both in having fellowship and giving fellowship.

Why fellowship? When Christian disciples fellowship with each other, God is glorified as a result (Romans 15v7). It is as a collective body that the Church fellowship grows in grace and maturity together, overcoming by grace, the weaknesses of each individual member (Ephesians 4vv12-16). You are commanded to continue meeting others for fellowship, so that mutual encouragement “toward love and good deeds” can take place (Hebrews 10v25)! By this you can live a consistent godly life, particularly if sins are confessed to each other (James 5v16)!

Victory is also seen in the eyes of a fellowship, rather than singular individuality (1 Corinthians 15v57; 1 John 5v4). Whilst God deals with us as individuals, it is through fellowship that God strengthens you, for you are supported, healed and compensated by other Christians. These are all very good reasons why Christians need to find a Church to attend!

How do we fellowship? Biblical fellowship sees the church having common purpose (Psalm 133v1-3), belief (Acts 2v42), hope (Hebrews 11v39-40) and needs (2 Corinthians 8vv1-15). Just as Christians have fellowship with the Father (1 John 1v3), Jesus (1 Corinthians 1v9) and the Holy Spirit (Philippians 2v1), so do they have with each other (1 John 1v7). The things a fellowship shares are, but not limited to, possessions (2 Corinthians 8v4), sufferings (Philippians 3v10) and the Gospel (Galatians 2v9; Philippians 1v5). By participating in His suffering and having fellowship with Jesus through his own sufferings, Paul was able to enter a deeper relationship with Jesus.

How have you enjoyed fellowship this week and how will you enjoy it in the week to come?

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