Learning through Life

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Hampshire, United Kingdom
I love how our day-to-day life can teach us lessons to help us understand our past, challenge our today, and inspire our future. We can learn through experiences, situations, conversations, songs, books, nature ... the list is endless! Live with eyes ready to see, ears ready to hear and a heart ready to be touched.

Monday, 19 November 2012

The one with where Twitter triumphs

I just wasn't interested.  It seemed pointless.  An unnecessary use of my time and effort.  I didn't understand the fascination or its purpose.  I steered clear.

Facebook was all I needed.  I had friends there, friends in real life. Why would I need anything else?

Then I opened up a Twitter account, and slowly the bug got me!

All was good at first.  I had Facebook to keep up with my friends from across the world, to share photos, arrange tea dates, and generally catch up on life with - and I had Twitter for networking, meeting new people and gaining a better understanding of a myriad of interesting and diverse subjects!  A perfect combination: Facebook and Twitter.

But recently I have noticed that Twitter is beginning to take priority over Facebook.  My number of 'followers' outweighs my 'friends' and status updates on the two platforms sit at around 30:1 - in favour of Twitter!  I am often interacting on Twitter whilst Facebook lays dormant in the background. Twitter has captured my attention to the detriment of Facebook and has won a battle I hadn't even realised existed!

To my Facebook friends - I am sorry!  I still love you, and am keen to share life with you.  Things will change and we will once again share funny, inspirational, challenging and sometimes just plain ridiculous status' and wall posts.

To my Twitter followers - thank you for welcoming me, interacting with me, challenging me, correcting me, enlightening me, introducing me .... the list goes on and long may it continue.  I appreciate you!

And with that I could end ... but, in typical 'Jo' style, this experience has caused me to reflect on something similar that may happen in a different context.

Are we in danger of doing the same thing in our churches?

  • Can we be so passionate and excited to see new people come to church that we begin to forget the faithful members who come week in week out?

  • Can we be so keen to welcome visitors and guests that regulars leave the building questioning their visibility and even their worth?

  • Can we turn all our focus on extending the Kingdom numerically that we neglect to build it spiritually?

I don't throw out these questions without thought.  They are questions that have been on my heart and mind for quite a while now.  I want to get it right.  But how?  Is it really possible to embrace the 'old' and the 'new' equally?

I suggest the answer can be found in balance and team work.

We need to get the balance right. We need to identify the three different groups of people that are likely to be in our church:  Long-term regular members, those that have been on the fringe for a while, and first time guests.  All are important and need to know the love of Jesus in their lives.  All of them.  If one person leaves the building on a Sunday morning without feeling cared about and significant then I think we have failed.  God does not show favouritism and neither should we. 

Once we have identified the different groups of people in church, we can then work together to ensure each group are cared for.  Some churches will develop a strategy for this - and this can be a tremendous help - but I don't think it should be the responsibility of just a few people on a particular team.  We are all called to love everyone, and I therefore believe each person should take responsibility here.  We need to remove our blinkers, put down our agendas, break out of cliques and walk across the room!

I know we don't all find this easy.  Sure, we are not all confident extroverts, but I don't think this is a justifiable excuse to exclude people.  If you step out of your comfort zone, put your trust in God, and talk to just one person, you could make such a difference.  On the other hand, if you are gifted at welcoming people and putting them at ease, then get out there and help the less confident people out.  Share the load according to personalities and gifts!

Everyone deserves to be acknowledged, given value to, and embraced with the love of Jesus.  Let us work together to ensure that each person that walks through our doors experiences this - regardless of whether they are apprehensively showing their face for the first time or if they have been so often they are almost part of the furniture!

Following the Twitter and Facebook example above - I should perhaps use this as an opportunity to apologise to those whom my behaviour at times has contributed to feelings of exclusion at church. I am sorry.  I know I am not anywhere near getting this balance right yet, but I am trying.  Let's not dwell on the past - but learn together and move on.  Are you with me?

And now - I will make sure I post this on Facebook and not just on Twitter!! 


  1. I love this analogy. Very clever! Becca x

    1. Thanks Becca :) I still have a lot of thinking through to do - and certainly don't have an answer to how we cover everyone effectively - but at least the thinking has started! Perhaps another post to follow soon with a little more flesh on it!

  2. Jo, have your twitter forwarded to your facebook, as I do, and you will truly have the best of both worlds.

    By the way, my blog, Dreaming Beneath the Spires, has moved to wordpress http://anitamathias.com/ and if you could change the URL, I'd be so grateful,
    Thanks much,

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    man and van


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