> @StickyJesus 3) Jesus: Author of Relationships

gerash east jordanIn celebration of Internet Evangelism Month, this is the third in a 15-part blog project discussing the book, @stickyJesus: how to live out your faith online.

Reading through file 3 “Jesus Author of Relationship” I was really concerned that there was going to be some tough, living in community style advice and words.  After all, every other time I had ever spoken to anyone who had any understanding of Christianity at all about the question of relationship it always defaulted back to “Well Jesus LIVED with the disciples for three years man.  Talk about intentional community.”

But that’s not what I found here at all.  Instead I found six basic values that are basically designed to help someone start an online community.  Not intentional community, just a place where people can be and talk with one another.  These values are

  • Leadership
  • Service
  • Consistency
  • Compassion
  • Encouragement
  • Inclusiveness

But there’s one thing these all have in common that stuck with me throughout the entire chapter.  “God wants you to go deeper…even more so now when Wi-Fi, widgets, and apps so easily dehumanize human hearts”

I don’t about the rest of you, but this was actually the appeal for me to go online and get involved with social networking in the first place.  This is why Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) are so popular: anonymity.  The ability to hide behind a brick wall made up of widgets and apps and avatars isn’t merely an obstacle for the online missionary to overcome, but a defense mechanism for every person who has ever been wounded in a social context.  That is to say, these are the defense mechanisms I used when I first got involved with social media: I could be the person I wanted to be and happily ignore everything and everyone who challenged me.

In light of that these values are not just a means of building community and discipling the world through a new media, neither are they a replacement for the four spiritual laws and the decades of evangelistic methods that have come before now but rather they are a means by which we can meet someone where he or she is and then draw that person back into healthy, personal relationship.

  1. Have you ever used social media to help heal someone before? What were some of the challenges of that?  Would deliberately tapping into these values have helped?
  2. Which of these six values speaks to you the most strongly? The least?
  3. What values, if any, would you add to the list?

image by brooklyn_museum

@StickyJesus 2) Jesus: the stickiest story ever told" rel="bookmark" href="http://blog.ourchurch.com/2011/05/06/stickyjesus-2-jesus-the-stickiest-story-ever-told/">2) Jesus: the stickiest story ever told <– @StickyJesus – The Group Blog Project" rel="bookmark" href="http://blog.ourchurch.com/2011/05/02/introducing-stickyjesus-group-blog-project/">@StickyJesus project –>@stickyJesus 4) Jesus: Master of buzz" rel="bookmark" href="http://blog.ourchurch.com/2011/05/11/stickyjesus-4-jesus-master-of-buzz/">4) Jesus: Master of buzz

I’ve been all over the place, and tried to learn a lot, but the only thing of which I am certain, is that I am the instrument, the pen, and not the Author. Everything I do or say, all my material comes from God…at least the good stuff. If it isn’t any good chances are I tried to come up with something on my own.

28 Responses to “> @StickyJesus 3) Jesus: Author of Relationships”

  1. I see all these attributes as important and modeled by Christ. Demonstrating all of these, He connected with people. He loved people and went out of His why to show it to some of the most unloveable in the culture of His day. Because relationships matter to Him, they should matter to us. The stories point to what the character of Christ looks like when found and being lived out online.

    In the online conversation rush, I find that 'encouragemen't breaks the flow of the stream. When I listen carefully, I hear how hard life is. Busy schedules, big presentations, exhausting travel, family concerns, home issues, personal disappointments, and even direct requests for prayer. People often use their social media networks to release frustration and I have witnessed how a quick word of encouragement can redirect everything, including the tone and attitude of the posts that follow.

    Personally, countless conversations on twitter relocate to FB messages and sometimes even turn into a phone call or a one-on-one meeting. I have seen God show up in miraculous ways – lives healed and restored. Just like in our F2F lives, God will bring certain people into our lives. if we wait and ask, they appear. The same is true online.
    Once a divine connection is made – He will unwrap it as only He can. Our responsibility is to prayerfully show up and give Him control. He never wastes a willing heart. God does want us to go deeper – much deeper.

    Thanks for your deep dive into this chapter. Great questions – looking forward to this conversation continuing!

    • I've read ahead a bit in the book and I think I like this chapter the most so far (PS if I haven't thanked you for writing this book – THANK YOU).

      "Encouragement breaks the flow of the stream."

      I like that. I think that is probably one of the best things any Christian can do for anyone regardless of whether it is online or F2F – get them out of their own spiraling mess of frustration and and disappointments by being encouraging and compassionate in their lives.

    • Tami, I've experienced your words of encouragement. You walk in that gift my friend! :-)

  2. PaulSteinbrueck May 9, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Hi Sage, thanks for your post today. As I contemplate this chapter, these 6 characteristics of community, and your second question – which is most important, I've been thinking about what a community looks like without each of these characteristics… A community with leadership is a meaningless social club… A community without service is merely a collection of self-serving individuals… I could keep going (actually, it would probably make for a good blog post on its own) but in every case I think we end up with something less than community. All these characteristics are critically important for there to be real community.

    • (sorry if my response looks weird I'm trying to do this from my phone) Perhaps I didn't phrase the question correctly and the real question is "if your starting from scratch where do you start?" For me the answer is compassion going back to 1 Corinthians 13. Although I completely agree with what you said regarding already established communities

  3. Any answer we have to connecting with others online can be found in the scriptures. God has given us everything we need for power and godly living in any era to which we've been born. To look to Christ and His life on earth as our guide is the most powerful thing we can do when reaching out to others digitally. I love that His outreach methods captured you, Sage. Thanks for the post and the insight! If we lack any of these characteristics, what an awesome thing to ask God to fill in us! http://www.stickyJesus.com for more.

  4. Christie Weatherby May 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    HI, Seiji. Thanks for your post. Loved your insights.

    Recently, my husband asked me what I was doing. I was on Twitter and I told him that I was checking on my peeps. He said, "Wow. I just now realized that you have a Twitter ministry." At that moment, I realized that I had a Twitter ministry too!

    I loved two things in this file: "Great leaders get personal." and "…You don't have to talk about Jesus all the time. In fact, just keep it real and be yourself…" These two things really helped me. I do get personal with people. I check on them, I try to pay attention to what is going on in their lives. I Don't talk about Jesus all the time, but when I see someone struggling I don't make a big deal about it. I just say, "Hey! I am going to be praying for you about that. I'm here if you need me." That simple thing right there has opened many doors for me to share Jesus.

    • Hi Christie,
      The description of a great leader is good, isn't it? I wrote in down in my journal and personalized it "I go against the grain, I take personal risks to achieve the greater good, I am mission centric" etc.

      Thanks for sharing what has been effective in your Twitter ministry :-).

    • PaulSteinbrueck May 9, 2011 at 3:49 pm

      I say… Anyone who uses Twitter and cares about the people they connect with there has a Twitter ministry.

  5. Great post Seiji! I've seem people experience powerful healing and growth through online group projects, so I can attest to the power of a good online community. And every one of the values on this list resonate with me… I think that they are all equally important. I just know that sometimes I need to be more intentional about some, while others are just more natural for me right now…

    Thanks dude! You rock!

  6. Seiji yamashita May 9, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Additionally, I have a hard time with inclusiveness. Either I try to include everyone and never build meaningful relationship in the community or I ignore many in the hope of buidling a few really quality relationships.

  7. fireball3316 May 9, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    hi – i love chpt 3, its one f my favs!

    there’s just something about Jesus.

    and there’s just something about you and me because Jesus lives within us.

    heres my post on it: http://onepassiononedevotion.wordpress.com/2011/0

  8. PaulSteinbrueck May 9, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    1 Corinthians 13… Doesn't that say something like… "If I TWEET in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal."

  9. Chapter 3 was a lot to digest.; but its rich nutrients is, w/out a doubt, what I need.
    Don't laugh, but I didn't realize right away, that the stories in this chapter were about current ppl with active accounts until I did a Twitter search. That's when I saw that some of bloggers from this group project were following the ppl from the chapter lol! I am amazed by the creativity, the dedication, and the action that I've read about in these stories. Tworship? Virtual Abbey? Wow God!
    I already know I will need to re-read this chapter- there is just so much. But from the onset, I must say I most resonate with Melinda's story. I love the way she described Kim's voice." … Kim's voice cut right through the noise of cyberspace and ministered to real hearts in real need(paraphrased). I thought to myself, I want a voice like that. As I continued to read though, I learned that Kim paid a price of 30 yrs of planting ministries. I'm sure she spent a lot of time with the Lord and she knew her stuff (action plan for bringing encouragement). I guess I love and long for that F2F connection too from Melinda's story. That's one of my challenges with online ministry- it a paradigm shift for me in that, I'm tactile; I like to see my relationships face-to-face:-). But even as I type this, the Lord is saying to me, I know that about you- I created you that way. Ok, having a moment…

    Sorry Seiji, you did have questions- good ones too :-)
    Have you ever used social media to help heal someone before? What were some of the challenges of that? Would deliberately tapping into these values have helped?
    A: I have certainly encouraged others through social media, but not on the scale of the stories I've read in chapter 3.
    Which of these six values speaks to you the most strongly? The least? and What values, if any, would you add to the list?
    A. Of the six, compassion speaks to me most strongly. It's the passion in compassion that just moves me to want to act. Inclusiveness is a tough one to balance for me. While I may want to include everyone, everyone may not want to be included. Maybe some folks won't care for my style, or humor, or sensitivity- I'm learning to be o.k. with that and love on.
    I would add patience. Since this project, I've jumped from 7 faithful followers-who probably just felt sorry for me, lol- to 50 something new followers. Alright! I'm ready! let's get real! But good, meaningful relationships are built on trust and consistency over time. In my excitement, I'm eager; but I must be patient and build relationships over time.

  10. Wanda Simpson May 9, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    Thanks for the great post. I think the most important aspect to me is compassion. There are so many opportunities for people to be hurt in this world, and unfortunately FB and Twitter offer a new avenue for people to be hurtful. That said, I really work double time to post encouraging and uplifting resources for people. Music, Bible verses, videos, etc. People need to feel loved and included.

  11. Chapter 3 was a lot to digest. It is filled with such rich nutrients, and it's just what I need.
    Don't laugh, but I didn't realize right away that the stories in this chapter were about current ppl with active accounts, until I did a Twitter search. That's when I saw that some of bloggers from this group project, were following the ppl talked about in the chapter lol!
    I am amazed by the creativity, the dedication, and the action that I've read about in these stories. Tworship? Virtual Abbey? Wow God!
    I already know I will need to re-read this chapter- there is just so much. But from the onset, I must say, I most resonate with Melinda's story. I love the way she described Kim's voice:" … Kim's voice cut right through the noise of cyberspace and ministered to real hearts in real need(paraphrased). I want a voice like that I thought. As I continued to read though, I learned that Kim paid a price of 30 yrs of planting ministries. I'm sure she spent a lot of time with the Lord and she knew her stuff (action plan for bringing encouragement). I guess I love and long for that F2F connection too, described in Melinda's story. That's one of my challenges with online ministry- it is a paradigm shift for me in that, I'm tactile; I like to touch my relationships face-to-face:-). But even as I type this, the Lord is saying to me, I know that about you- I created you that way. Ok, having a moment…

    Sorry Seiji, you did have questions and good ones too :-)
    Have you ever used social media to help heal someone before? What were some of the challenges of that? Would deliberately tapping into these values have helped?
    A: I have certainly encouraged others through social media, but not on the scale of the stories I've read in chapter 3.
    Which of these six values speaks to you the most strongly? The least? and What values, if any, would you add to the list?
    A. Of the six, compassion speaks to me most strongly. It's the passion in compassion that just moves me to action. Inclusiveness is a tough one to balance for me. While I may want to include everyone, everyone may not want to be included. Maybe some folks won't care for my style, or humor, or sensitivity- I'm learning to be o.k. with that and love on.
    I would add patience. Since this project, I've jumped from 7 faithful followers-who probably just felt sorry for me, lol- to 50 something new followers. Alright! I'm ready! let's get real! Buuuut, good, meaningfu,l relationships are built on trust and consistency over time. In my excitement, I'm eager; but I must be patient and build relationships over time.

    • Great comments Kawanzaa!

      All of the stories you read in the book were shared by people just like you. God showed us who to connect with and why. We didn't look at follower numbers, or status, or title. We just let God take the lead on the hearts that were magnetic in some way. We didn't know 2/3 of them when we contacted them.

      Your stories are yet to emerge, but they will in no time. People everywhere need Christ. You are just getting started and God will bring people and situations across your digital path. An awakened heart (you have) and a countenance resolved to listen and respond prayerfully is all that's required.

      We're cheering you on! :)

      • "God showed us who to connect with and why." God does such marvelous works! I am often amazed and encourage by God' s attention to the details of our lives. I mean stop and think about it- I'm sure you already have- God knew you and Toni were going to step out and write a book for such a time as this. I'm sure the idea of this book was a direct message from His heart to yours. He did not miss one detail, right down to selecting the real ppl and their stories that are in these chapters; AND the intended impact on the readers! He planned it all!! Ok, my head is beginning to spin :-)

        Toni, my heart is ablaze! Learning to serve God in a new capacity??? This is just for my radical soul :-).I am grateful for your generosity (sharing knowledge and wisdom) and continuous encouragement. Thank you for being the voice that cuts through the noise :-)

        Umph! the Lord Bless ya real good!

  12. 2krazybeautiful May 10, 2011 at 10:41 am

    This is my first time through @StickyJesus and I find myself having to re-read chapters to absorb it all! Seiji, I love how you took the comments in and rethought your discussion question and clarified…that is authentic. I agree with you in struggling with inclusiveness. I have been irked about the "apparent" exclusiveness I see, even in Christian circles, but am reminded that we cannot develop deep relationships with everyone we meet – online or F2F (thanks, Tami). I think we can acknowledge everyone, but need the Holy Spirit's leading to determine with whom we need to "go deeper" and when.

    These probably resonate the most with me:

    Leadership – As a leader (who has often asked the question "Who am I to lead?") I come across believers almost daily who don't recognize that "Simply put: leadership is in your spiritual genes!" I can ONLY lead because I am connected to God…I don't have the skills or authority in my flesh.

    Compassion & Encouragement – "Own and respond to the prayer requests you see. Let someone know when you pray for him or her." It is really easy to type the words "I'm praying for you." and then not do it! Do it first…then let them know in a personal way (use their name or "handle") and follow up. Encouraging people online is something that has tremendous impact and really doesn't take much time, just heart.

    Loving the book and the discussion. Thanks everyone! Lisa

  13. PaulSteinbrueck May 11, 2011 at 6:03 am

    Several of you encouraged me to continue the thought about what community would look like without each of these 6 key elements. As I did, I realized there was one big one I had to add. So if you're interested, check out…

    7 Essential Ingredients of Meaningful Community – http://bit.ly/krcgVI

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Introducing @StickyJesus – The Group Blog Project | Christian Web Trends Blog - May 9, 2011

    [...] 3 [...]

  2. 7 Essential Elements of Meaningful Community | Live Intentionally - May 11, 2011

    [...] Over on Christian Web Trends I’m leading a group discussion of the book @StickyJesus. Monday’s post was on chapter 3, which talks about 6 essential elements of community: [...]

  3. 7 Essential Ingredients of Meaningful Community | Live Intentionally - May 11, 2011

    [...] Over on Christian Web Trends I’m leading a group discussion of the book @StickyJesus. Monday’s post was on chapter 3, which talks about 6 essential elements of community: [...]

  4. > @stickyJesus 4) Jesus: Master of buzz | Christian Web Trends Blog - May 11, 2011

    [...] 3) Jesus: Author of Relationships <– @StickyJesus project –> Wife, mom, grandma, nurse, Bible teacher, writer, blogger, and deep see diver who looks for the extraordinary in the ordinary and the miraculous in the mundane. On Twitter as @SandraHeskaKing and at http://sandraheskaking.com. blogging, social networking @StickyJesus, social networking 20+ Free eBooks on Internet Evangelism [...]

  5. > @StickyJesus 2) Jesus: the stickiest story ever told | Christian Web Trends Blog - May 11, 2011

    [...] you: born for such a time as this <– @StickyJesus project –>3) Jesus: Author of Relationships Crystal Rowe is the primary author over at SoulMunchies.com and a contributing editor at [...]