‘Germ-free community’

OIP-42

Last night at Church at the Catch, we experienced what could be called a positive outcome of the current coronavirus pandemic. We had the strongest attendance we’ve had since we started holding church live on Facebook, and we had the most lively interaction. It’s almost as if we suddenly realized, “Hey, we’re a germ-free community, and everyone can take part in the discussion.”

Church at the Catch is not just a one-way communication. I always bring a short message at the beginning, but anyone can comment or ask a question, or address one of the other people online, and all three things were going on last night.

Years ago we used to call this “body life,” or shared life in the body of Christ. It’s about everyone taking part. Realizing we all have spiritual gifts given to each one of us to enrich others in the body of Christ, we realize that ministry is not just for “professional” ministers, but for everyone, as Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:11-13:

And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.

Who’s doing the ministry here? Not the pastors and teachers, but the “saints.” The pastors, teachers, apostles, prophets and evangelists are gifted to the church to equip everyone there for the work of the ministry. Contrary to popular opinion, everyone is doing the ministry — all of us — not just the “ministers.” We are all gifted to carry on the work.

“Saints,” by the way, does not mean saint in the Catholic sense of an extraordinary presence of spiritual strength or accomplishment awarded by the church hierarchy. A saint here means any and all believers. You are a saint, and therefore, you are a minister. (Here we call this “boots on the ground.”) We are all ministers and the “professional ministers” (the ones who receive a salary for what they do) are to equip all of us to do the work of the ministry, “for the building up of the body of Christ.” And so that is why we call this “body life.” It’s life within the body of Christ and it goes on whenever we come together, whether in a room, a church building, or online.

And what we are finding is that in some cases there is more opportunity for interaction online than there is in person, at least in a church service. In a traditional church service, everything, except perhaps for the singing, is one-way. Everything comes from up front, and the congregation is the audience. On Facebook live, the speaker is live on video, but anyone can type in a comment, question or request, and those who comment can address each other. Plus, it’s all recorded, so you can go back and see it again, or catch up if you missed it. (To see what I mean, go to <www.facebook.com/thecatch> and scroll down to the first video.)

All of this to say, we are acting more and more like a church, so we might as well be one!

In fact, we are so excited about this uptick in participation and the opportunity the virus scare has provided for “germ-free community,” that we are going to schedule a Bible study for Wednesday nights. Stay tuned as we will give you more information on this in the next two days.

But for now, and for today, realize your role in the body of Christ to share your gifts with others either online or where your boots are on the ground, and pray and look for the growth of our opportunities to do this at the Catch.

God bless us all as we seek to find and do His will in this time of uncertainty and opportunity.

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3 Responses to ‘Germ-free community’

  1. Mark D Seguin says:

    Absolutely loved reading Today’s Catch – could easily pick up on your excitement Pastor John!

    Was planning on attending last night Sunday service, but it jus slipped my mind after watching one of my new favorite TV’s shows: “God Friended Me”

  2. Lou Hecker says:

    Hey John, our church is considering meeting online like what you’re doing…can you direct me to the streaming platform / process that you use…this is all very new to us.

    In His Grip,
    Lou

    • jwfisch says:

      Hi Lou. We use Facebook live. It’s the simplest option. Anybody with a Facebook page can do it. On the top of your home page is a “Create” bar. The first option is “Live.” When you click that, a window will come up that uses you camera to video you. When you click “Go Live,” you immediately start streaming on your own page and anyone coming to your page can see/hear you and your guests can type in their comments/questions along the way. We are exploring other options that will put your guests on video as well (Zoom can handle up to 100). Another that allows for large conferencing is Google Hangout. We’ve used all of these for various groups or meetings.

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