Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Facebook faith group

This is a little "Faithbook" Experiment in progress....

A couple of months ago, I joined a health/fitness group to gain some accountability and encouragement for exercise and diet.  We were encouraged to post selfies “post workout” and pictures of the food we ate.  We also encouraged others in the group for making good choices and sticking with their workout.  Each day there were mini-challenges that helped us with fitness (maybe doing 40 squats, or 50 sit ups, or drinking more water).  I didn’t do it all EVERY day, but I did it enough that it has made a significant difference in my health, lack of pain, and weight loss.  And as I did the group, I couldn’t help but think, this is a great model, we could use it for faith!  There were 2 coaches in the group that posted the challenges and helped both with their example and with encouragement and we were there to improve our health.  There were skinny folks and bigger folks, folks who already worked out daily and others who were just getting started.  It was tempting sometimes to compare myself to them, but really, it was about me, doing these things for me, regardless of their size or weight or choices.  It became a great place for me to be accountable in achieving my goals. And, on the days when I didn't want to get out of bed, I had others who posted their work out posts, reminding me it was worth it!

So, as I thought about a faith group, my hope was to have a group of folks with a clear desire to be better/stronger/more faithful in who they are in their relationship with God.  I wanted there to be a place for accountability and encouragement that allowed for some interesting and fun ways to engage faith.  I realize that, like the health group, joining won’t mean everyone does everything every day, but maybe we are encouraged to do something at least a few days of the week and that can lead to growing in our relationship with God.  And, I realize we are all in different places. Some of us may have a daily habit of prayer, others may not. Some may have a place where they serve regularly, others may not.  It’s not about who is the better Christian. It’s about being intentional and accountable in growing for ourselves.  

This is a private group, so what you share isn't visible to everyone of your Facebook friends.  It will be shared within our group and the expectation is that we will respect one another and what is shared.  If we ask for prayer, we should pray for one another without passing on the concern unless we have explicit permission.  If we come with doubts or questions about faith, we should be received with grace and not judgment.  This isn't a group for proving who is right or wrong about scriptural interpretation or theology. It's about helping all of us to grow in our faith.  

This group is not meant to be an excuse or justification for withdrawing from your faith community or church (assuming you're currently active, which is not a requirement).  This is a version of an online cell group.  

Admittedly, while I've done a group like this for fitness, I have not done this type of online faith group.  This is a bit of an experiment to see if it's effective, fruitful, and supportive.  I need your help as we mold and shape the group.  

If you are (still) interested in joining in, please let me know.  For this initial group, I'd like to do a 3 week commitment and see if it's worth repeating.