This past Sunday we launched “NewBranch on The City”….but why? Why did we choose to start using an online community-building software tool, and why should you take the time to fill out your profile and start using it?
1. A tool to encourage the building of authentic community
Authentic community is one of our core values at NewBranch Community Church, and The City can help to encourage us to be about the work of building the kind of community and fellowship we see in the early church as depicted in the book of Acts. Now, we’re not so naive as to think that genuine relationships will be formed via The City. While there are those who might disagree, I think it’s stretching things a bit to expect html code criss-crossing the internet to suffice as authentic community. Nonetheless The City can certainly be a tool for encouraging us to build real authentic community with our brothers and sisters in Christ. How?
As you begin to take advantage of the The City’s ability to have conversations, share prayer requests, and let others know about needs you might have (and learn of their needs), it is our prayer that the activity you engage in on The City about these things will be a springboard into furthering real relationships outside of The City.
For example, if you discover (during your 7 minutes a day on The City), that someone in your BASE Group is having a difficult week, it is our hope that you would then pick up the phone and pray with that person over the phone, or see if you can come over and help them with laundry, or whatever. You may have become aware of the need in The City, but that was simply a springboard to helping you engage with that person “in real life”.
2. A means by which serving opportunities are met
Our recent transition into becoming a “buildingless church” requires us to do a better job of communicating the serving opportunities within the church. The City provides that means. Now, ministry team leaders can scour the church family to look for those who have the skills and abilities they are looking for (as long as everyone fills out the “skills” section in their profile), ensuring that we put the right people in the right places that match their gifting. In addition, now there is a central place to sign-up to serve in a variety of ministry opportunities. Instead of a sign-up sheet on Sunday morning, all serving opportunities are communicated via The City!
A special note to ministry team leaders – this means you now have a great tool to “advertise” the need for servants to volunteer to serve in your ministry. Ask Tyler if you need help learning how to do this.
3. A communications vehicle that streamlines information you really need
As you begin to work with The City, I think you’ll discover that you can not only limit the number of updates that come to your e-mail inbox, but you can also streamline the information you get by only joining those groups for which you have an interest. In other words, of you don’t have a kid in the student ministry, then there would be no reason for you to join the “Doxa Parents” group and get all of the updates and communications that are sent out to parents of students in middle school or high school.
4. An administrative aid to our church administrator
Currently, the church maintains about four different databases for our various communication tools (i.e. main directory, website directory, e-newsletter database, phone tree database, etc.). As you can imagine, this is an administrative nightmare. It would be a heavy load for a paid administrative person….but it’s downright unmanageable for our unpaid administrator! The beauty of The City is that you maintain your own profile, and ensure that your phone number, address, e-mail, and other pertinent information is all updated and accurate. The church no longer has to spend hours updating folks contact information. It’s all done by the individual user. Plus, you control what information you want other people to see, and it’s all located in one place….so it’s more secure and more accurate than the way we have been doing it.
Hopefully these reasons will encourage you to not only accept your invitation to The City and get your profile filled out, but also to participate in what’s going on in The City…everyday. Just imagine, all these benefits, for the small investment of 7 minutes a day!