Have you been telling yourself for a few years that you’ve always wanted to learn how to pray? Do you feel a call to leadership? Has God revealed the desire for more emotional resilience? Considering priorities and purpose is done best in meaningful relationships with others. Midpoint is a place to grow alongside others.
An Invitation to Community
There is a lot we miss about how church used to be. We long for worshipping in the same place with echoes of praise filling the auditorium as one voice. We long for the simple Sunday ritual of coffee and the ease of lunch at the café. We long for the conversations and catch ups in a busy lobby as old friends reunite and children impatiently play.
We want to hold onto what we had and, perhaps, are afraid of what God may have ahead. As we settle in new routines this fall, we are adapting what church feels like with the lack of physicality. We come to a place where we have the opportunity to take a step back and ask ourselves, "How do I feel God leading me into community this season?"
It is far too easy to live an opaque life online. Online church can easily feed our desire for anonymity and undermine accountability to others. But let us not make online church the adversary of all that is wrong in our experience of church itself. Many of the desires lived out online are no less real than offline. Sharing about your day online is no less real than sharing about your day in person. Flirting online is as real as flirting in person. And worshipping God online, while it may be a different experience, is no less real than worshipping God in person.
Paul said to the church at Colossae, "For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is" (Col 2:5). The apostle didn’t have the aid of internet access but believed that connection was possible to people he was geographically separated from. When confronting the church in Corinth with correction, he insists that he is presently included among them. For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way… "So, when you are assembled, and I am with you in spirit…" (1 Cor 5:3-4). Presumably it is possible to not only connect with but encourage and correct others without being physically present.
As we reconsider our priorities, consider inviting God to dwell in that space of unfamiliarity. Take a second to invite God into the planning of this season. As you look at the various things you are carrying, where do you see God leading you?
We want to invite you to find rest in community. There is comfort to be found in knowing and being known by others. It may be possible that you have always wanted to join a small group but never got around to it. Or perhaps your small group has been on an extended break since the pandemic started. Midpoints are a place for you to connect with others and make sense of God’s leading. A place where you come as you are, receive a teaching from a pastor, and then break out in smaller groups to discuss the teaching and receive prayer. Our prayer for you is that Midpoint would be a gift in this season.
It is not too late to join a Midpoint. Click here for more information.
Is Technology Good or Bad?
This autumn has brought an obligatory embrace of technology in nearly every arena of life. Parents of school-aged children are working to juggle platforms, schedules, and online connections. Some students have had their learning environments altered so severely that they are questioning what it means to participate in campus life. Many have had to convert their work-from-home camps into more permanent fixtures in their home. And going to church is no longer sitting in your car and navigating to a physical location but sitting in a seat and navigating to a web address.
With all of this technological displacement, making sense of this new world can bring about varying levels of weariness. If the young are digital natives, the more seasoned have become digital immigrants. Much ink has been spilled on the threats and harms of this digital world, but I hope to inject hope and perspective on what God may be doing through it.
The material world matters very much to God. Many have marveled at its beauty and agree with Him that 'it is good' (Genesis 1). But the digital world gives many pause. Why is that? Is it the fear of the unknown? As we create, we do not understand the implications of what we've created? Is it the pace and speed in which technology pushes forward? As technology improves it brings with it the temptation to press beyond our human limits. Is it the allure and promise of ultimate power in some form or fashion?
Technology is a creative force looking for a job to do. Some technological employments have been developed for malicious acts like the cross Jesus was killed on. But other technological professions have served people in unique ways. We may not know the extent of technology’s impact, but God does. Note the present symbolic power of the cross. We may be attempting to use technological tools to extend our abilities, but God kindly corrects our pace and shapes our direction if we let Him. He knows the temptation we face for the promise of unlimited knowledge. But He speaks with His own. The key to employing technology well, then, is embracing God’s wisdom. Learning to discern His voice and embrace the opportunity to participate in a more complete vision of His Kingdom.
Partner with VC!
Mass food delivery is possible because of technology. Networks of technologies like the internal combustion engine, mobile refrigeration, rubber manufacturing and many more, make Convoy of Hope deliveries possible. God created us with the ability to build an oven (innovation) mobilize supplies (supply chain), bake bread (operations), put it in trucks (logistics), give it to volunteers (distribution), and feed a hungry world. You can partner with us in healing the world by clicking here.
Additionally, different modes of technology allow you to express aspects of your identity in meaningful ways. Receiving a phone call is a different experience than reading a text message for instance. Vineyard Columbus is leveraging technology to create online spaces to find community. We call these spaces Midpoint Groups. They are topical groups that meet for 10 weeks on Zoom to study God’s Word, pray together, and build relationships. I want to personally invite you to engage in what God is doing in this season. Perhaps He may be welcoming you to engage with technology to grow you. I believe that during this pandemic, one major job for technology is to help the disconnected find community.