m wp-image-250 alignright” title=”facebook-share-button-580×257″ src=”http://www.pastor.cpcfairfax.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/facebook-share-button-580×257-300×132.jpg” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”132″ /> As a Pastor, one of the greatest gifts God has given to me is the web of connections God has placed around me. I have friends and church members in my life that come from all walks of life. Sometimes I overlook this special reality. Being in Fairfax County for over four years I have grown accustomed to having a diverse ministry context. I sometimes forget that it wasn’t too long ago that the landscape that I worked in was predominantly a homogeneous environment.
Last night was my seven year old son’s second grade open house. Sheila and I attended and hoped to get an insight into the way Colin spends his school day and how his teacher approaches the classroom. While we received the traditional insights about how the classes’ day is structured and how the teacher tries to tailor learning to the individual students I also was struck by another insight. In his class Colin is a minority. Most of his class is of a non-Caucasian heritage. Over the past few years this may have been the reality of his classes but this year it was clear.
Some folks would bemoan the fact that their child was in a wildly diverse situation. I on the other hand believe that it is a true blessing. Not only will Colin learn that God’s mystery is expressed in the diversity of creation but have the benefit of learning about others perspectives and traditions.
Earlier this week I posted on Facebook that I think I’m going to start calling my son, “Colin the Evangelist.” He has frequently invited friends to come and be our guest on Sunday at church. He’s been known to say, “We have a really good service.” Actually, it’s usually, “My dad does a great service,” but I think he’s bias. He has no sense of the conventional boundaries that we have placed in the way of sharing our faith or an invitation to worship. The other interesting thing is that he doesn’t view the world with the rules we often do. He has invited friends of various race and creed.
Why does he do this? I think there are two main factors that lead him to be so free about inviting people. First and foremost is the fact that participation in church is a central part of his identity. We work to make sure he knows that church isn’t just another activity to be grouped with flag football and Tae Kwon Do. I believe that he knows that what we do in the context of the congregation has a greater importance in our lives than any other activity. (This is not just because we pay our bills with a salary from the church.) I also believe that he invites people to join us at church because he finds the church to be a safe and enjoyable place. While he may not like being in worship every week and might get bored occasionally, overall I think he finds the things we do in church to be of a positive and desirable quality.
So this gets me back to the web of relationship I have and the share button on Facebook. Like Colin I have a diverse reality around me. Part of that is in the extended reality of the friends I have. Every person I know well is connected with people I have never met. How is do we leverage those extended relationships for the cause of the Gospel. One member who sang over the summer wanted to record their musical offering so they could post it to Facebook. They not only wanted to share their talent with friends and co-workers but also saw the possibility of someone seeing the “performance” and starting a faith conversation. This could be a simple post that could lead to a deep and life giving conversation.
Social media is an area of life that has exploded of the past few years. I’m sure more people spend time on Facebook than they do reading the Bible. (Not a thought supported by research but my gut.) Perhaps next time you read something on my blog or a status update you might share it and see what doors it opens up. Or when an event is posted to the church website or our Facebook page you can post it to your wall. These can be simple ways to open a door to a deep conversation that may allow for the Spirit of God to enter into the lives of those around us. This isn’t about shameless self-promotion or proselytization. Colin doesn’t invite people in order to convert them or force them to become something they aren’t. He simply shares with them something that he finds to be important in his life. Can we do that too?